February 22, 2013 6 Comments
Sadia had been going around in a haze for a few days. Her children were depressed too, so not much help there either. It was natural! Her umbrella for 45 years, her dear father was gone. Nothing could reconcile one to knowing she will never hear him speak again.
Then she remembered. His last day, he had said read the message I have left you in the drawer beside my bed. It jolted her into action. How could she be so remiss to forget?
The envelope had a feel as if she was talking to him. It was addressed to her.
‘Beta, much as I could tell you this now, I feel you would like it with you as my last message. It is my absolute regret that, I leave you and your family to face uncertain times. That it is directly mine and my generations fault, I am totally convinced. Our only excuse is that we did not understand the consequences of our lack of action. So the purpose of this note is to recognize how such small errors can be amplified, to what we have become today and so give you a blueprint of things to watch out for.
The two actions which we all watched and did not see the significance of, were both in 1953 stemming out of the Ahmadiya riots. We were troubled that rioting and killing was happening in Lahore and so when General Azam was brought to suppress the riots via Martial Law, we breathed a sigh of relief. On the back of that, came Khawaja Nazimuddin’s dismissal for failure to control the riot. Justice Munir then applied the “doctrine of necessity” and called for elections, rather than declare the action illegal. Such little events and many among us applauded them too- applauded in relief that peace and status quo was maintained.
Those two actions changed our world and to this day we pay for the events. In later years, General Ayub and Iskandar Mirza used the Azam Martial Law as a precedent and the Legal justification was amplified by the “doctrine of necessity”. Beta, when it happened in 1958, very few of us saw deep enough, though some were troubled by the actions. But what it did was it created the psyche of the quick fix; time and again we went down this route. The end was more important than the means.
When you take the first wrong step, little do you realize the eventual mutations which prevail half a century later? We were an upstanding country, with good systems, fairness, good quality manpower and generally a meritocracy. We had come from being bankrupt in Sept 1947 to being considered the most important Muslim country. All that changed!
First step we killed our meritocracy, then threw fairness out, with bad consequences in future years. Ayub’s Pakistan was prosperous, but favorites rode on a high horse. It resulted in the disasters of 1971, as unfairness thrived. We not only lost a war, but we lost our country, our vision and our passion. People lost faith in Pakistan and from that day the slide was incessant, through Bhutto’s army actions in Baluchistan and the quota system, Zia’s Martial Law, the ISI interference in 1990, the awful musical chair of the 90s, the Martial Law of Musharraf and finally our reliance on blood money post 9/11. Sure we rose up at times, infact three times in 1968, 1977 and 2007. But the result of an adhoc uprising was even more horrendous, each time the system becoming worse than before. We simply did not follow evolution, we went for quick fixes.
Beta, my message to you and others around you is simple…righteousness has no equal. The long right way is the best way, even if it means suffering in the middle. I do not judge on the type of government, but I do know that wrong will abet evil and evil will never triumph. We have gone from short cuts, compromises and good intentions, to being on the wrong side of goodness. Till we make amends in this character flaw, we will throw up the same stuff and society will descend further into the quagmire, with terminal consequences. You cannot find gold in a dump of sewerage.
So do not compromise on what is right, stand up and be counted. I failed and my generation failed. History’s lesson is that this generation must rise and take back its right to do good once again. The rest of success will follow, Inshallah. May Allah bless you and the family and may Allah guide our people.’
Sadia with tears in her eyes sent the note to the newspapers for printing. Her fight had begun.