Cricket fans, more likely the entire Pakistani nation, were downright shocked by the New Zealanders’ sudden decision to cancel the series of games in Pakistan. After the dust of this extraordinary event settled, it became clear that they made this decision based on the careless security warning of the so-called five eyes at the behest of a hostile country. We know your decision has nothing to do with security concerns. It is purely for political reasons to isolate Pakistan.
The Pakistani people commended Prime Minister Ardern for bravely facing the nerve-wracking situation when a racist, fanatical and ideologically misguided Australian woman committed an insidious terrorist crime in her country; ruthlessly attacked two mosques in Christchurch and indiscriminately killed over 50 Muslims – young and old, men and women.
We were overwhelmed by their wise, composed and compassionate leadership and their spirit of humanism and human brotherhood beyond cost, skin color, belief, cultural and religious origins. Her spontaneous outburst of grief and anger after the terrible act of terrorism touched the hearts and souls of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and dear New Zealanders, your decision to use the gentleman’s game for the politically and diplomatically driven goals of others has grossly changed our previous image. It reminded us of the nasty and brutal ways of this Hobbesian world. This is a moment of reckoning for the nation of Pakistan.
After the death of the Father of the Nation, responsibility for this ship, by default or on purpose, went to power-hungry, insincere, incompetent, and dishonest captains.
I wonder if this grave moment will shake us as a nation; from the numbness of political stubbornness, religious arrogance, cultural chauvinism and greed for land, wealth and extravagance. A reflection of our past behavior as a nation is not so encouraging. We had dreamed of having a country in which democracy, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom in belief and cult, religious and ideological tolerance and fraternal coexistence, security of the rights and privileges of religious and cultural minorities have the highest priority.
After the death of the Father of the Nation, responsibility for this ship, by default or on purpose, went to power-hungry, insincere, incompetent, and dishonest captains. For nine years the Constituent Assembly argued over the constitutional framework. We have experimented in constitutional governance, from powerful governors-general to presidents and prime ministers. Military leaders ruled the country for 32 years. Both civilian and military leaders had the right priorities, as they mistakenly believed, with the exception of the basic right of citizens to education, health care, housing, security of life and property. The gap between rich and poor widened, the powerful ruled and the poor sank into the depths of oppressive poverty.
Both civilian and military leaders have failed to determine what Pakistan was – a theocratic state or a secular, liberal and progressive democracy or a garrison state – with the result that this great country has emerged as a confusing mixture of all of them. We have a confused religion that is fragmented into a bunch of intolerant and extremist sectarian factions. Recalling the pain inflicted by sectarian anarchy on Europeans, Albert Einstein had remarked pitifully: “A foolish religion with authority is the worst enemy of truth”.
Islam is a sublime belief with comprehensive social and moral codes in which moderation, compassion, kindness, generosity, selflessness, selflessness, willingness to make sacrifices, truth, honesty, trust and trustworthiness, mutual help and peaceful coexistence are paramount. She places more value on respecting the rights of fellow human beings and observing our duty to them than mere rituals.
Unfortunately, we have lost sight of the cardinal principles of Islam mentioned above. Sectarian intolerance has pitted one religious faction against the other. Intolerance, as Napoleon Hill tells us, closes the door to understanding and shuts out the light of intelligence. We have fallen victim to this intolerance in religion, ideology and politics.
In this religious and ideological confusion, we have failed to protect the rights and privileges of minorities in this country. Not only have we forbidden minority scholars, lawyers, economists, scholars and intellectuals from playing their role in the development of our country, but we have rejected them and forced them to migrate to other more tolerant countries. The educated minorities seek careers abroad instead of living in fear in their own country.
The internal pressures, wrong foreign policy options and wrongly set priorities found us in the close embrace of the USA from 2001 to 2018. We plunged into the US war in Afghanistan, euphemistically called the war on terrorism, and earned the wrath of the Afghan warring militant groups and their affiliates. We made incredible sacrifices. We have lost thousands of innocent lives and billions in economic losses. A whole generation of this nation has grown amid the horrors of violence and bloodshed. We reap the harvest of our follies.
Democracy with political parties with hereditary leadership was a farce. With a few exceptions, the political and administrative leadership has remained entangled in extravagance and wastes the country’s precious resources in ridiculous imitation of medieval monarchs and sultans. Their overwhelming greed for wealth and possessions has led them to indulge in all vulgar practices in order to amass fortunes, as portrayed in their palatial homes, business complexes, and overflowing bank accounts at home and abroad.
Is there an alibi for another failure? We have blatantly wasted all opportunities to disappoint this nation, which, despite all its suffering and suffering, has always stood solidly in crisis and has made a remarkable comeback with renewed strength and determination.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is an ardent admirer of every leader who has led his nation from the front lines, including Jinnah, Kemal Ataturk, Nelson Mandela and Mahathir Muhammad. It remains to be seen how far he will emulate his role models in order to free this nation from the current desperate situation.
The author was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and has authored two books.