Monday, January 28, 2008

Pakistan's Dilemma - A Perspective

Mustafa Waris

The gulf between the rich and poor is widening with every new day. We do have a yearly list of the richest people on earth but nobody pays any heed to the poorest people especially the new entries. We have become acclimatized to lots of things which we just take for granted. In reality, our system has become something of a labyrinthine, and the most disturbing fact is that our oligarchs are adamant not to disturb the status-quo.

In the 60 years of the history of our country, we have taste both capitalism and socialism with capitalism dominating for most of the years. I am not entering the fray discussing which one of these suits us or our local environment. But my main point of concern is that our masses at large were not able to benefit from either of the two systems. We heard for many years from both schools of thought focusing on the positive attributes of both systems. I personally think that both were successful to some extent and simultaneously failed as well.

Coming back to Pakistan and finding ways so that the gulf between the rich and the poor could be controlled, let’s identify our main problem. If we examine our history and the data on the richest people of our country, we would find two different classes. One are the traditional landed elites having the proud title of Chaudries, Sardars, Maliks, Khans, Mians, Nawabs and the offspring of the Sirs and Generals. The other category is of those once poor people who now have the wealth and the power of our traditional elites. Most of the people reached this category through cynical ploy but a mere fraction did excel through purely fair means.

The dilemma of our society is that our nouvelle wealthy did nothing whatsoever to bring change in the society, instead they themselves got engrossed in ways of bolstering their budgets and turned out to be more feudal than the established elites. It can’t be said for sure, but it was probably a kind of a vengeance against the oligarchs. If the idea was to display their hatred towards the aristocratic, it was certainly not the right style. The right thing was to help their once pauper-fellows both socially and financially.

The current extremely dangerous situation of Pakistan is self-made turned self-destructive. Our country is on fire and we all are to blame for the present scenario. Year 2007 had been annus horribilis for the ordinary citizens of Pakistan. Never in our history did we witness suicidal attacks. Be it suicides or the suicidal attacks, both are performed in exasperation. The paramount reason is apartheid and injustice for which we are all culpable and should be made accountable. The oligarchs are to blame for doing too little to bring a real social change and the oppressed ones are to blame for tolerating this injustice for such a long time and doing nothing practical to bring about change. If we want to create Pakistan of our founders, we need to do something collectively and that needs to be done As Soon As Possible.

God bless Pakistan

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