WORLD: Is Pakistan waiting for a miracle?

Author Christina Lamb was a close associate of the late Benazir Bhutto. Submitted photo

ALI MEHDI
VANCOUVER DESI

Pakistan is becoming more and more fragmented. Out of the original four provinces, there is a war in two, Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtoonwa (KP), and lawlessness in the other two. Out of the latter two, there is renewed call for division into further provinces.

Baluchistan is on the path of secession. In certain areas there, one cannot fly the Pakistani flag. In certain schools Pakistan Studies is not a subject any more, neither do they sing the national anthem. The Baluch nationalists want separation from the Federation. In KP, war against terrorism is ongoing, both by the Pakistani Army and U.S. drone attacks, destroying innocent lives in the process and leaving an unnumbered amount homeless! In certain areas it has been reported that the Army refused to take up weapons against their own. To root out a few, many have become the target and it just keeps multiplying.

There are talks to divide Punjab into a Seraiki speaking belt, basically consisting of the Southern Punjab where the lingo spoken is Seraiki.

Whether it’s one or all four provinces the undertones previously and the overtones now just spell one word – regionalism. For well over six decades of independence, we have failed to inculcate amongst ourselves, both as a country and a nation, a deep sense of nationalism. We feel we stand better divided amongst our own. So will this mean that divided we stand and united we fall?

What is that we are actually waiting for? Or are we so numb that we don’t care anymore?

Yes, we do feel united in nationalism but it’s mostly when we are not living in Pakistan. Ironic!

16 years ago, I entered the Central Superior Services of Pakistan. Some 30,000-40,000 candidates appear each year and about only 0.5 per cent qualify. This makes the chosen ones feel elite, a euphoria which they bask in the first day they walk into the training academy at Walton, Lahore until the day they retire as king maker bureaucrats.

This exam is also based on a regional quota system! So the young aspirants walking in are already endowed with an overwhelming sense of being Punjabi, Baluchi, Sindhi or Pathan. To add to this there is a quota for the armed services also! Armed services personnel, who are “connected” and want to exit, can join the bureaucracy without an exam!

So policy makers of the future come together in one place but they talk and walk regionalism. This is further reflected in the policies that are made, in national Economic Commission Awards and The Planning Commission of Pakistan, which eventually gives rise to regional woes and more chants of self deprivation, bias and anguish.

This regionalism is also reflective in the most popular sport in Pakistan – cricket! It is usually a mesh between Sind, Punjab and KP and the nation awaits a smoothie!
When the British came to undivided India, they had one policy and one objective – divide and rule! Though we went through independence from them, yet their legacy lives on. Our so called politicians and policy makers sing the tune of divide to compose their rule!

With Gilgit-Baltistan being made a new province, taking total provinces to five, Pakistan currently has 102 Administrative Districts – one major city combined with smaller ones, which eventually make up the provinces, in addition to Azad Kashmir and FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas).

A simple solution to foster nationalism would be to run the country on the basis of these administrative districts, do away with the provinces that continue to preach regionalism. Each District electing their one representative, and combined all of them elect a President – all for a four-year term. Let there be greater accountability and lesser bureaucracy!
After Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan, there has been no one that could ever gain true national consensus. Every aspirant was sincere in attempting to establish their own rule, whether it meant breaking East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, imposing military or civilian Martial Law, distorting the Constitution and rewriting it to suit their “Democratic” definitions, suspending basic rights, imposing sanctions on press and media, using or abusing Judiciary, taking Khaki’s off or keeping them on, and the list goes on!

In the Holy Quran, there is a verse that sums up our state of affairs: “Ye shall have the same rulers imposed upon you as your own deeds are.”
Christina Lamb was a close associate of the late Benazir Bhutto, Oxford days. Her first major interview was Bhutto and later the same year, in 1987, she was invited to Bhutto’s wedding in Pakistan. 20 years later, Lamb was one of the two foreign journalists on board the reception bus heralding Bhutto’s second return to Pakistan. This was the target of a suicide attack that left dozens killed and Bhutto eventually in another attack two months later.

Lamb wrote a book titled Waiting for Allah – Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy in 1991. She was declared persona non grata and asked to leave Pakistan by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the book was banned. The last sentence of the book is “Pakistan is a nation waiting for Allah.”

Time is not on our side. Let us prove her and so many others, wrong …

Ali Mehdi runs a Vancouver-based financial consultancy engaged in Private Equity and Venture Capital. An MBA from LUMS and an MSc from the London School of Economics, Ali has been in senior strategic roles in global finance with banking giants as Citi, ABN-AMRO and Barclays Capital in Europe and the Middle East. His late father, Ali Mohtasham, was a celebrated Pakistan Movement worker and an author of four books.

Tags: ,





Featured

Malaysian MP Karpal Singh (C), pictured in this 2010 photo, has died in a car crash.  SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Malaysian MP Karpal Singh dies in car crash

VANCOUVER DESI Malaysian MP Karpal Singh died in a car crash Thursday morning while travelling through the country’s western state of Perak, according to media…
Continue Reading »

pregnant wife

Daughter of murdered Surrey teacher gets over $500,000 compensation from father

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The young daughter of a Surrey school teacher murdered by her husband has been awarded more than $500,000 in family compensation…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

pregnant wife

Daughter of murdered Surrey teacher gets over $500,000 compensation from father

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The young daughter of a Surrey school teacher murdered by her husband has been awarded more than $500,000 in family compensation…
Continue Reading »

Desi Hockey Dad threat

‘It got quite graphic’: Hockey dad charged with threatening 10-year-old player on his son’s team

Burnaby Winter Club team had just lost a playoff game IAN AUSTIN THE PROVINCE A Burnaby Winter Club hockey dad appeared in North Vancouver court…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Desi Hockey Dad threat

‘It got quite graphic’: Hockey dad charged with threatening 10-year-old player on his son’s team

Burnaby Winter Club team had just lost a playoff game IAN AUSTIN THE PROVINCE A Burnaby Winter Club hockey dad appeared in North Vancouver court…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Vaisakhi Parade

The sheer awe of Amritsar

VANCOUVER DESI Amritsar, literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the splendid Golden Temple. Guru Ramdas,…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi recipes and the concept of free kitchens

VANCOUVER DESI Food, especially feeding others for free, is a central philosophy of Sikhism. Sikhs do not have many strict rules regarding food but many…
Continue Reading »

Muslim Surveillance Program

New York police ends Muslim surveillance program that sparked outrage

TOM HAYS And JAKE PEARSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to…
Continue Reading »

Selfies - inked finger-Twitter

Indian city bans selfies inside polling booths (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI The next selfie you snap could land you in jail – for Indian voters at least. According to Indian news publication the Bangalore…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Porn Queen-desi

2 States author listens to Sunny Leone’s Babydoll number to unwind

VANCOUVER DESI The author of  2 States – which has now been adapted into the Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor film – has an interesting…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood actress

Gallery: Bollywood celebrity shots this week

VANCOUVER DESI More and more Bollywood stars are sharing all the glitz and glamour of their lives with fans – a personal touch – the…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Bombay Velvet’ gets new release date

IANS Mumbai – Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s much awaited film “Bombay Velvet”, which was reportedly planned to be released on Christmas along with Aamir Khan’s “P.K.”,…
Continue Reading »