As the nation celebrates 70 years of independence, it is important that we remind our youth – as well as ourselves – of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan.
Our elders sacrificed their lives, youth, possessions, properties and even beloved ones so that future generations can be free and live with honour and dignity. Under the Quaid’s dynamic leadership, these sacrifices were made to create a true democratic and autonomous state.
Quaid’s Pakistan meant peace, justice and supremacy of the law. His Pakistan had to ensure economic equality and fundamental human rights of its citizens. In Quaid’s Pakistan, the rulers were to be accountable to the people and the judiciary independent, to ensure free and speedy justice.
The bureaucracy, the police and the other administrative arms to be seen as servants and protectors and not as stooges of their political bosses. And the state had to provide education and healthcare without any discrimination and prejudice – to all.
But do the current political, economic and social conditions reflect Quaid’s vision of democracy?
We must remember that during the first decade of its freedom, Pakistan was almost free from foreign debt. Nearly all its institutions were intact and served the people as best as they could. But now we find everything turned upside down. The whole system has decayed and remains unable to serve the people.
Incompetent and incapable rulers and corrupt politicians are responsible for the woes of Pakistan and its people
Who is responsible for this degeneration and even complete collapse of many of our institutions?
Yes, we all know the answer; incompetent and incapable rulers and corrupt politicians are responsible for the woes of Pakistan and its people. They are the perpetrators and protectors of corruption, which now stand deeply rooted in the system.
What a shame!
Owing to the corruption and continuous loot and plunder by our rulers, other nations look down upon us. There is no democracy in Pakistan. The only system that exists here is that of corruption.
Today, we are fighting for a just system that encompasses the true spirit of democracy and the vision of the father of the nation. What we fight for is true democracy, where the system is premised on good governance, transparency and self-accountability in an institutional manner. We want a democracy that ensures eradication of corruption through political, administrative and legal institutions.
In a democracy, corruption is eliminated through the legal process, and those guilty are held accountable. Democracy protects the sanctity of peoples’ vote and safeguards their mandate.
Democracy ensures a free, fair and impartial electoral process. Democracy is inclusive and provides equal representation to all the sections of society. Democracy strengthens institutions through legislation and guarantees an automatic system of accountability and provision of justice to everybody.
Democracy also creates an egalitarian society, where the gap between the rich and the poor is narrowed down and the extreme instances of poverty are obliterated by the provision of food, shelter, healthcare and justice to all.
We have to be clear that a dishonest setup, which thrives on unscrupulous underhand deals among major corrupt business tycoons, ruthless landlords and tribal chiefs and other plunderers claiming to be democratic leaders, do not represent democracy.
These pseudo-democrats see the mere holding of elections and transfer of power from one to another as democracy without passing on its fruits to the masses.
There is no democracy in Pakistan. The only system that exists here is that of corruption
This is no democracy if millions of malnourished, homeless have-nots are forced to throw their children into the labour market instead of sending them to schools; the jobless, the unemployed and the poor, trade or prostitute women, or slip into the hands of criminals or terrorists.
In such an unjust society, democracy cannot take root. For true democracy, we have to change the political culture along with the system.
The violation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution is the real cause of decay in the system.
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a constitutionalist and spent all his life struggling for the rule of law. But the way the 1973 Constitution was distorted by our rulers can only be called shameful in the softest terms.
Our constitution guarantees basic rights, but Pakistan’s ruling elite violated it at every opportunity.
Violation of Articles 62, 63
Articles 62 and 63 categorically state that any loan defaulter, tax evader or a liar cannot become member of the Parliament. But today majority of the lawmakers are tax evaders, loan defaulters and corrupt. As a result, we see the corrupt ruling the country.
Failure to end exploitation
Article 3 of the Constitution says that it is the duty of the state to eliminate all kinds of exploitation so that one can get employment according to one’s competence. We also need to ensure whether the conditions stipulated in Articles 3 and 4, making the state responsible for such and such are being implemented. But the answer to the question is a loud and clear ‘no’.
Failure to protect women, children
Article 37 (e) of the Constitution states that such circumstances should be created in which women and children are not forced to work in professions that are inappropriate and detrimental to their age and gender.
These articles were included in the Constitution in 1973. But 44 years have gone by, the articles that made it mandatory upon the state to provide employment to people and free education to children, and prevent them from being forced to work, have always been violated and desecrated.
Do such corrupt politicians have the right to stay in power and refer to this fraud as a democratic system? The state has failed to provide protection to the people on all fronts only because of the corrupt rulers.
Victims of terrorism
We are the victims of terrorism for long and in spite of losing countless precious lives and even after formulating a National Action Plan, we have not only failed to eliminate it, but are being branded globally as a terrorist state.
Had there been a just and transparent political system that barred the corrupt from reaching the power corridors, the situation would have been different.
Providing security to the citizens
Article 9 of the Constitution prescribes that it is the duty of the state to provide protection to the life of everyone.
On April 16, 2014, a ferry sank in South Korea claiming 300 lives and the Korean prime minister resigned immediately. This is called a system and a democracy. In our case, 14 people were killed by the police in Model Town, Lahore, but has anyone in the power corridors even expressed a sincere regret?
Power of education
Education is the basic tool to drive and guide a nation towards prosperity, progress and justice. Do we provide our children with enough education opportunities? Today, more than 20 million children are out of school. Their talent is being squandered for nothing.
Education for all
Article 25 (a) states that it is the duty of the state to provide free education to children aged 5 to 16. Then Article 37(b) states that compulsory education be provided free. However, according to a United Nations report, the deplorable fact is that Pakistan stands second among the 10 least educated nations. In this disgraceful list, Ethiopia and Kenya enjoy a better position than Pakistan.
It is mandatory for the state to implement articles pertaining to the peoples’ rights. A government that fails to implement them cannot be considered constitutional and legitimate. It loses the right to stay in power.
To make and transform Pakistan as per the Quaid’s vision, we must now take definitive steps. The most important of these steps is to reform institutions along with unleashing a relentless accountability process.
An independent and free judiciary, an autonomous Election Commission and decentralisation and devolution of power are a must to put Pakistan back on track and realise the dream of a democratic Pakistan as envisioned by the Quaid-e-Azam.