By Abid Mustafa
Today, the people of Pakistan face a myriad of challenges that threaten the country’s very existence. This includes American threats of unilateral action beyond the tribal area and its efforts to seize the country’s prized nuclear assets, the Indian-backed insurrection in Baluchistan, a dramatic increase in suicide blasts, and the economy in tatters. But, perhaps the most significant issue that has blighted the nation is the leadership vacuum that pervades all segments of society.
A manifestation of this horrible void is the all too familiar troika tussle between the Pakistani army under the ignoble leadership of Kiyani, Zardari’s reprehensible government, and the pseudo independent judiciary headed by Chaudhary. Those that cling to the vain hope that Pakistan’s Tehrike Insaaf (PTI) is no panacea to leadership crisis have numerous reasons to be disappointed in the current antics of PTI. Consider the most obvious—PTI’s recruitment policy of flooding its ranks with ex-Musharraf cronies other sleazy politicians (footstools of the America) to supersede sincere PTI workers in a desperate bid to win the upcoming general election. If Imran Khan can easily forgo the party’s meritocracy in favour of nepotism, and treat his own workers unfairly, then one can only imagine what Khan’s ‘corruption free’ Pakistan looks like.
Politicians are not the only culprits. Military top brass, bureaucratic big-wigs, industrialists and civic leaders are just as guilty of putting themselves ahead of Pakistan. In other words, they have all either abdicated responsibility or simply buried their heads in the sand. The only thing common amongst the nation’s leaders is the beseechment of foreign powers.
Politicians unashamed of courting American and British officials frequently plan and execute trips to Dubai, London and Washington for even the smallest of issues. A large proportion of them openly desires servitude to Western powers and shamelessly promotes their interests. Then there are the pseudo-Islamist politicians whose contributions to date include none other than adding corruption to the political landscape, legitimizing the abhorrent actions of the rulers, and destroying the confidence of the public in political Islam.
The behaviour of the military top brass is equally callous. Kiyani like his fraudulent predecessors has moved heaven and earth to secure American interests in Pakistan. The indiscriminate slaughter of Pakistanis at the robotic hands of blood-thirsty American drones taking off from Pakistani airbases, and the façade of the Abbotabad attack are some of his noteworthy accomplishments.
The business community and industrialists are not immune from this critique. History bears testimony that they are content to be bedfellows with any government – civilian or military – long as the tax bill is kept to a minimum and they are granted immunity from loan defaults. When the achievements of the business community are measured in terms of transfer of technology and contribution to the nation’s self-sufficiency, they score naught. In sum, Pakistan’s leadership since its inception in 1947 has repeatedly failed to emancipate Pakistan from the intellectual, political and economic subjugation of colonialist powers.
The root cause of Pakistan’s leadership predicament can be attributed to a single factor—namely, the economic and political system left behind by the British, later amended by the US. This system has meticulously cultivated a plethora of civilian and military leaders who were defeated, corrupt and infatuated with the West. In their eagerness to serve western powers, western solutions were relentlessly borrowed and applied to all walks of Pakistani life. The cut-and-paste mentality was bound to fail as the adopted solutions were disconnected from the problems of Pakistan and opposed to the beliefs and cultural values coveted by the people. Subsequently, Pakistan witnessed years of turmoil and polarization which has reached a tumultuous climax today.
The only salvation for Pakistan is for a new, dynamic, Islamic leadership to take the reign of power and reverse Pakistan’s decline. This leadership must be radically different from the past and cannot be an existing player in the nation’s corrupt systems and institutions. It must possess an acute sensation of the problems of Pakistan and an ideological vision that reflects the beliefs and values of the people. It must eschew violence, but be bold enough to lead the masses to a comprehensive revolt against the present secular order and raze all vestiges of western domination. The West has already described this political trend as the movement to re-establish the Caliphate.
Abid Mustafa is a political commentator who specialises in Muslim affairs and global issues