Independence by Inam Khawaja

Independence

 

by

 

Inam Khawaja

 

Physically the British rule ended on 14th August 1947 but are we truly independent? On 2nd February 1835 Lord Macualay in his address in the British Parliament said:-

 

I have seen in this country, such moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

 

In the past sixty years we have done hardly anything to improve and reorient the existing education system. Instead we have allowed the mushroom growth of schools leading to British ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level producing youngsters totally imbibed with British values and mores. They hardly have any pride or self esteem, they think that only imported things are good and have no pride in our own things. We have gone ahead in implementing Macaulay’s agenda a step further than what the British did.

 

It is time that we take stock of ourselves and see where our present policies are leading us, Pakistan is an Islamic State and we claim to be Muslims, what we need to ask ourselves; is our education policy designed to produce good Muslims imbibed with Islamic values? Has anyone given any thought to this matter? Is the educational policy specifically designed to inculcate at least the universally accepted moral values? Unfortunately the answer to all the three questions is in the negative.

 

Lest we continue to forget; the Quaid in his address to the mammoth rally in Lahore on 30th October 1947 had instructed us that:-

 

“If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory I once again say will be ours. —— All I require of you now is that everyone of us to whom this message reaches must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all, if necessary, in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam and as one of the greatest nations whose ideal is peace within and peace without.”

 

In the past sixty years we have continued to formulate and implement policies diametrically opposed to the Quaid’s vision. None of our policies are inspired by the injunctions of the Quran nor do the courses in our Civil Services and Armed Forces Academies emphasize that the officers must be guided by the injunctions of the Quran in their dealing with the public.

 

Regarding the bureaucracy the Quaid on 25th March 1948 in his address to the Officers at Chittagong had said:-

 

“Those days have gone when the country was ruled by the bureaucracy. It is people’s Government responsible to the people more or less on democratic lines and parliamentary practices. —— You have to do your duty as servants; you are not concerned with this Political or that political Party; that is not your business. —— The second point is that your conduct and dealings with the people in the various Departments in which you may be: wipe off that past reputation; you are not rulers. You do not belong to the ruling class; you belong to the servants. Make people feel that you are their servants and friends, maintain the highest standard of honour, integrity, justice and fair-play.”

 

The Quaid in his informal talk to the Civil Officers at Government House Peshawar on 14th April 1948 had said:-

 

“The first thing I want to tell you is this, that you should not be influenced by any political pressure, by any political party or individual politician. —– Governments are formed, Governments are defeated, Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and go, but you stay on, and, therefore there is great responsibility placed on your shoulders. You should have no hand in supporting this political or that political party, this political leader or that political; leader this is not your business.”

 

We celebrate the Quaid’s birthday but totally ignore his vision of what he wanted Pakistan to be. Our bureaucracy continues to behave arrogantly as rulers and that freezing atmosphere still exists. These speeches of the Quaid (of 25th March and 14 April 1948) are totally ignored by the bureaucracy because they are not the part of their training course even the media has ignored them. In fact the full text of both these speeches should be published on the date they were delivered by the Quaid and the electronic media should play their recordings.

 

The Quaid visualized Pakistan as a state having equality of man and social justice this vision is expressed in his last speech which was delivered on 1st July 1948 at the opening ceremony of the State Bank of Pakistan:-

 

“The opening of the State Bank of Pakistan symbolizes the sovereignty of our State — I will watch with keenness the work of your Research Organization in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life. The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity —– The adoption of Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contented people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind.

 

 

May the State Bank of Pakistan prosper and fulfill the high ideals which have been set as its goal.”

 

The State Bank did hardly anything in fulfilling the goal set for it by the Quaid. I doubt if the Banking Institute of Pakistan includes the above speech as a part of its curriculum. It was only when Islamic Banking was introduced in some Muslim countries that we woke up and started introducing it a few years ago.

 

 

The Quaid’s opening remarks are very significant because he equates the opening of the State Bank with national sovereignty that is independence. In essence it means that the lack of economic independence compromises national sovereignty. Within a few years after the assassination of the first Prime Minister the civil bureaucracy came into power and it did not take long in compromising national sovereignty by accepting foreign economic and military aid. But when the military assumed power they went a step further and gave bases over which Pakistan had no control.

 

The time has now come to reassert our sovereignty by first regaining economic independence and doing away with all foreign aid. This is a matter of political will because foreign aid is certainly not an economic necessity. This is very eloquently expressed with convincing facts and figures by Dr. Ishrat Hussain in his article “Is US Assistance Really so Critical for Pakistan” published in both Dawn and the Business Recorder in April 2007.

 

“The result of this analysis shown in Table II indicates that even under the worst case scenario of zero aid flows and no reimbursements for logistics services rendered to the US troops the diminution in foreign exchange receipts or budgetary resources would be insignificant – varying between 4.5% of total foreign exchange receipts to 7.2% of total budgetary expenditures. The other two indicators i. e. the proportion of total value of imports and current account receipts financed by US assistance account for 6.4% and 5.8% respectively — not worrisome amounts. —– the main argument of this analysis is that the pundits in the US who believe that they can use the leverage of US official aid to paralyze Pakistan’s economy are sadly mistaken as they have an exaggerated sense of the importance of these official flows. Any attempt to impose conditions that impinge upon the sovereignty of Pakistan or conflict with our own national interests can be resisted without creating a serious dislocation to our macro economic stability or growth prospects. This analysis explodes the popularly held myth that Pakistan is so dependent on foreign assistance for its economic survival that pulling the plug would force it to yield under this pressure.”

 

The US economic assistance for 2008 and 2009 is US$ 400 million per year plus military assistance of US$ 300 million per year this the country can easily do without with only the elimination of extravagant expenditure.

 

The government must take note of the fact that the people of all shades of opinion today are united in regaining their independence and sovereignty which was achieved by democratic means in 1947. The lawyers, the civil society, the NGOs, the opposition political parties and now even the retired military personnel are all rightly demanding; an independent judiciary, independent Election Commission, freedom of information and full fundamental rights with justice and equity in short a truly free and independent Pakistan..

 

Simultaneously Published on May 24, 2014 in Business Recorder, Pakistan

 

 

 

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