We Will Survive as a Nation!

Who has not heard the story of the shepherd who regularly yelled “Sher- Aya- Sher!” (here comes the beast- the lion) to terrorize the entire village. And when “the sher” in fact appeared, the poor shepherd was its “tar nivalah” (choice morsel- gulped down instantly).


Certainly, every Muslim is also aware of the question that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) posed to the residents of Mecca: Will you believe me if I tell you that behind these mountains is an army ready to invade your town?  The people of Mecca unanimously responded: Yes, we will – because we know that you are “amin” (a person trustworthy, faithful, a guardian) and our faith in your uprightness and honesty is absolute; it is inconceivable for us to even think that you will say something that might not be true.


Perhaps, in the history of political literature and in the annals of political management theory and practice, there has never been a more exemplary illustration of the importance of personal worthiness and honor as basic requirements in a moral-political leadership.


Credibility and personal integrity are simply indispensible requirements and fundamental conditionalities in all leadership positions. It is the number one rule in a leadership role!


And yet ironically, in the present day Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the lack of moral-political credibility and personal integrity in the country’s leadership is all too obvious. All we hear from the incumbent PPP leadership on television talk shows, radio programs and in the print media is the ill-fated cry “Sher-Aya-Sher!” (here comes the beast). They rhetorically, unblushingly, ceaselessly, tirelessly and relentlessly go on repeating themselves with an all too familiar story: “We have laid down our lives for democracy…blah, blah, blah…and now treacherous ‘shers’ (beasts) are out to devour us – without mercy, without reason, because it is the beasts nature to do so.”  But they claim that they, themselves, are not at fault. This symbolic sloganistic line has a resonant quality to it, like the shepherd’s cry, “Sher-Aya-Sher!” – and when the “sher” really will appear, it will surely devour them because that is precisely what the PPP leadership is asking for. And in this deliberate misguided political process, the incumbent PPP political leadership has placed Pakistan’s continued existence at stake. “Will Pakistan survive?” has in fact become the relevant question of our times!


The rhetorical anachronism and the anatomy of the mindset of the present-day PPP leadership in the country is mind boggling. At all public forums, the incumbent PPP leadership, at the helm of the country’s affairs, consistently claims that conspiracies are being hatched against their administration: The media is unfairly critical. The public outcry is baseless. The judicial process is exclusively targeting them. The foreign policy is not in shambles. The army is acting stubbornly against the present political dispensation. The opposition in the legislative is elusive. The civil society’s political activism and the lawyers’ movement is counterproductive to national interests, etc, etc. In a nutshell, the PPP’s top leadership is “the victim” of the malicious politicking of the forces who are, in their opinion, opposed to the restoration of democracy, national stability and democratic processes.


And yet, even a scant review of the political conditions in the country tells quite a different story. The fact of the matter is that the incumbent political regime in Pakistan has made a mockery of the Supreme Court’s judicial decisions on a number of important cases involving national interests, corruption  at the highest level of political management,  financial losses to several national institutions, constitutional irregularities in the disappearance of hundreds of Pakistani nationals, and the government’s failure to follow constitutional guidelines in governmental decision-making processes. On top of that, prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing. Poverty, in the last two years of PPP rule, has expanded. The rich-poor gap is growing. Sociological imbalance in the society is widening. Communities are being destroyed. Foreign debts have reached unprecedented levels. There is a lack of electricity, water, gas, and petrol in the country. Street crime is rampant. The security situation has never been so disgustingly bad in the entire history of this nation. Violence is increasing on a daily basis.  Fear and the loss of life have become a way of life. Foreign policy is flawed. An unnecessary war is being imposed on the nation. Drone attacks are increasing with unimaginable loss of innocent lives. American interference in the country’s domestic and external affairs is at unacceptable levels. Pakistan’s relations with all of its neighbors are misguided and subjected to US dictates. Intra-province conflicts within the nation are being mishandled by the incumbent political administration. And the list of the PPP government’s political management failures, organizational dysfunctional processes and overall incompetency in handling state affairs  is endless and alarming. Corruption at the highest level is obvious – but denied!  As Iftikhar Gilani, the former PPP Law Minister, said, “This government is incompetent and incapable of governance.”


And yet, this PPP administration continues to claim the invincibility of its top leadership – and on a daily basis laments, “Sher-Aya-Sher!”


The fact of the matter is that the PPP leadership has lost its credibility completely! And given the credibility loss, the PPP leadership is a deadly liability on the nation!


However, even in this extremely serious national crisis, the good news lies in Pakistan’s civil society’s re-insurgence, resilience, and sudden revolutionary renaissance in its political activism and political awareness. It is this inspirational development that presents a silver lining to a rather dismal political landscape in the country. It is the civil society’s present resolve, with its direct and forceful demonstrated intervention in the political processes of national affairs that will ensure the survival of this nation. Civil society’s determined interceding will also set forth the correct direction of the future political discourse in the country and arrest the recent political decline from falling into an absolute abyss.


The remedy to the ongoing political crisis is obvious: the President should go. The Prime Minister should resign. The legislature, having failed in its appropriate role and mandate, should pack up. This PPP regime should cease to exist. The entire opposition should re-organize their political parties’ structures and democratize their leadership.


Imran Khan’s diagnosis and prescription to resolve the present political exigency in the country offers the only democratic solution in a parliamentary democracy: the mid-term elections.


But another national election, in itself, will not solve the inherent political problematics encountered by this nation. As Dr. Mubashir Hussain, one of the main architects of Z. A. Bhutto’s Peoples Party says: “All of the current (including the opposition) political dispensation inclusive of its presently elected  leadership, at all levels, must be brushed away in the next election.  He says there is a need for “jharoo pherna” (to make a clean sweep) of all the reactionary, un-credible, and dishonest elements from the political scene in the country.  Well said!


If you have not been to Saint Shah Jamal’s “Mazar” in Lahore, make a trip. The “Tomal” (the trance dance) defies all the laws of human medical science- the transcendental movements of the human body in the dance, their intensity and duration renders medical science meaningless –  impossible becomes possible.


My point is that the human spirit, irrespective of its established limitations, is capable of achieving the unimaginable and the unbelievable – it simply is a power, when applied with determination, a will and an utter devotion to a cause, that can make people achieve miracles.


Now it is with this “transcendental” spirit of “Tomal” that civil society will have to impose itself in the national affairs for re-making a new Pakistan. We have no other choice. The time has arrived for the masses to directly intervene in the political processes of the nation to put the matters straight!


The next elections in Pakistan will have to be contested on the basis of personal integrity, credibility, honesty and a demonstrated appreciation of democratic ethical-moral standards!


In spite of all the hue and cry of  “Sher-Aya-Sher,” we will survive as a nation!


We will – because we have an alive civil society!



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