As Imran Khan takes oath

In this heightened pitch for Naya Pakistan, wish Imran takes some steps towards the same old Pakistan Jinnah envisaged, and the world waits for!

Mehmood ur Rashid
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 17 2018 11:19PM | Updated Date: Aug 17 2018 11:19PM
As Imran Khan takes oathFile Photo

Saturday, 18th August, Imran Khan is finally in the captain's seat, set to sail for newer destinations. We wish to remind him of the Saturday, just past. 11th August. This day Jinnah made his memorable speech about what Pakistan meant to him. But after him no body moved the ball further down the line. Pakistan froze in that moment.  

The Pakistan Jinnah envisioned was genetically altered to become a different creature altogether. Father Jinnah's child is long impaired. An infant Pakistan fell down from the lap of its father, never recovered! Pakistan needs a recovery from that accident just after its birth.   

When Lahore Resolution was passed on 23 March, 1940, Pakistan was conceived. It was plain political act; a search for democratic rights of a people living in a colonial rule. Just some years later there was an independent country.  But soon an evil omen struck. On March 7, 1949, the child was not even two, when it damaged its vitals. Objective Resolution set Pakistan against itself. A dark, lunatic, and tyrannical moment was celebrated as a first thing in the morning. A devil set into ecstasy by a presumed spirit of piety.  Islam was a collateral, yet bigger, casualty.God gave Pakistan to its people – theists, atheists, non-theists or whatever. Objective Resolution stole it from the people in the name of God. The sovereignty of the universe  belonged to God, but Objective Resolution squeezed it to fit into a cloister of a Constituent Assembly. In the process people are unhappy, and God is unhappier. Pakistan is on a war against its own people, and against God who gave it to them. Naya Pakistan would require a pitched battle against corrupt politicians, a decayed system of governance, and a vicious Establishment. Imran Khan himself, and his team also, have to exhibit an extra ordinary character to pull Pakistan out of the morass it at the moment is in. But the recovery of the old Pakistan, of Jinnah's descent, requires an even bigger battle. No political leadership in Pakistan has even begun in that direction. 

The recovery of old Pakistan would mean going beyond the dichotomy of Islamism and secularism. It requires sloughing off  the unwanted ideological trappings. Jinnah was neither a secularist, nor an Islamist. He was plain Mr Jinnah, a democrat, who knew the numbers in the united India would make the power sharing impossible. He tried all his acumen to strike a deal with the Congress leadership, but nothing finally worked out. In a way Pakistan for him was an absence of choice. When it was thrust on him, he accepted it as a challenge and explained the case before the constituent assembly on 11 August.  A case for Peoples' Pakistan.

He knew Pakistan was now a reality born in the backdrop of a bloody partition that left tens of thousands dead, millions displaced, and a long history of living together turned up side down. It was a cosmic upheaval in this region. It's still shaking. Pakistan was born in an atmosphere of death, and here was a feeble father cradling this child with a steely belief that he will make the child grow into a full bodied being, looking into future with confidence and self belief. As a state, territorially defined. As a polity, democratically shaped up. 

From a besieged city, Srinagar, we wish Imran Khan a New Pakistan in the hope that it finally gives us the old Pakistan of Jinnah back. The targets Imran Khan set for himself in that victory speech are lofty and laudable. We wish, one by one, he achieves them. A Pakistan free of poverty and corruption, a Pakistan free of turmoil and turbulence, a Pakistan free of terrorism and extremism. But that is not going to really happen unless Pakistan restores its original character. 

In his victory speech Imran said that after Afghanistan if anyone is desperately waiting  for peace in Afghanistan, it's Pakistan. I tad tweak it. If anyone is deeply concerned about Pakistan, even before, and more than Pakistan, it's Kashmir. Our recovery is umbilically tied to your recovery. Get well, and get well soon. 

We are waiting for a Pakistan that makes no difference between a Hindu and a Muslim in terms of the citizenship of a country. We are waiting for a Pakistan that is an example of how different ethnicities, religions, and ideologies live at peace. We are waiting for a Pakistan that is a peace-builder in this entire region. We are waiting for a Pakistan that cares for each life in this region. We are waiting for a Pakistan that sets a standard in what democracy means, and what the limits of human freedom are. We are waiting for a Pakistan that has a moral ground, and an international standing, to tell India that the future of Kashmir must be decided by Kashmiris alone. Too many dreams, may be! 

Back to the core contention. Pakistan's biggest challenge is its own recovery. A republic lost in the maze of a dated, and dangerous religious thought, and choked by a military, ambitious and embedded.


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