Pakistan is a country completely misunderstood, not just by those outside (which is understandable) but also those inside. We, at PFP or Pakistanis for Progress intend to make it clear to all and sundry, with ample evidence and logical thought just what was the real intent or foundation of Pakistan and how discovering and following the same can lead us to internal and external success
We at Pakistanis for Progress or PFP stand behind the following background and aims, we intend to improve upon them with national consensus and present to leadership to implement. Or find a way to contest elections ourselves and win this nation back!
The people of Pakistan want a good life, they also talk about the hereafter, but given a choice, they prefer the luxuries and material success of this world. Therefore they are no different from any people anywhere else in the world in general. The problem is not what they want, but what they say they want, which is often what they are programmed to say what they’re want through clergy, rituals, culture and norms that need to be done away with
Today Pakistan is plagued with all sorts of problems imaginable, the government and civil society is banging their heads on every wall they can find for a solution. But there seems to be none in sight. In this backdrop I am launching a movement with likeminded progressive Pakistanis to suggest and implement solutions that actually work
Failure of PTI (Ruling Party of Pakistan) and all other parties in understanding or solving crisis after crisis
Tabdeeli (change) the slogan of the revolutionary PTI seems to have fallen flat on it’s face. Old school parties either disqualified or revealed as corrupt in front of the masses cannot claim to do any better than PTI. So, in short, there is no savior in sight, no formula to arrest a declining Rupee which instead of enabling exports is increasing the quantum of debt instead. A quick look at google reveals the horrid state of girl child and female safety in Pakistan, latest being the bone chilling murder of 10 year old Farishta in the Capital City where Imran Khan Rules the Rooster of Pakistan. PTI has failed on all counts it’s predecessors failed, only worse. Because it set high expectations it never had a plan, competence or team to deliver change it proclaimed. U turn upon U turn, they went back on almost all their claims and promises, even the first 100 days had 100 U turns! It is apparent PTI never had the ability to deliver Pakistan from the mess it’s in and all that remains now is a state of financial instability that destabilizes Pakistan Army and hence puts its very geographical integrity at stake. Myths is all political parties have when questioned about performance and some are debunked right here.
Reimagining Pakistan, the only way out
Let’s face the truth, Pakistanis never fought for freedom or earned it like the French, Russian Revolutions or the American Revolutionary War against the British. The British left India and much of Africa after their humbling experiences of World War 2. Therefore freedom was GIVEN to India and Pakistan, so many proofs exist! The military history of Pakistan records the first Commander-in-Chief as Sir Frank Walter Messervy followed by Sir Douglas David Gracey proving that freedom was never “snatched” from the British but gradually, methodically given away as part of their longer term colonial exit strategy. In fact the Pakistan Army, Civil Services and even the Constitution has a very large measure of British creation evident in documentation, rules, titles, policies and procedures to this very day!
The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a secular, progressive and open minded man. He consumed alcohol and was far from the life of a staunch Muslim, the main protagonist claimed to be behind the creation of Pakistan by the Mullah inspired middle and lower classes of Pakistan. Jinnah was forced to wear an Islamist Cloak by the hardliners which has been debunked in this New York Times article. In short, Jinnah wanted a democratic state where there was no compulsion on religion and people were free to live as they wanted.
Religion was not the cornerstone of Jinnah’s Pakistan, safety was, safety from India’s dominant Hindus bent upon revenge as evident today in how minorities suffer there as depicted by Human Rights Watch and the Forbes. Hence as per The New Yorker religious intolerance is not a myth in India today (the raison d’etre for Pakistan) but is also evident in similar, though as per the Hudson Institute lesser yet significantly worrisome measure in Pakistan.
Jinnah’s Pakistan, today, has been turned into an intolerant land where minorities are harassed and where economic survival necessities (as per the ADB), let alone luxuries like education (Daily Times depressingly dismal), healthcare (Dawn, 5 times worse than Thailand or Sri Lanka!) and justice (EurAsia News, poor rot in jails and criminals sit in parliaments, in short) which are distant dreams if at all a possibility.
Jinnah must be turning in his grave, this is not what he negotiated Pakistan for!
Where Pakistanis went (very) wrong?
Since the Pakistanis never really fought for freedom, they simply became a “brown” extension of the British Raj. A terrible extension to be precise. Many Pakistanis live in urban myths, an average Pakistani will tell you:
- Pakistan was created by God (the British created it)
- The whole world is against Pakistan (Pakistanis are their own worst enemies)
- We are the citadel of Islam (with umpteen sects, cultures, languages, religion is a different adaptation in different parts of the country, often at loggerheads with each other) – yet there are animated even violent debates and crimes committed to prove religious dogmas notwithstanding the example of “if it looks like duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it IS a duck!” yet the ducks of Pakistan are often not even accepted as ducks because of narrow interpretations of faith and hypocrisies in condoning another sect with largely similar beliefs as they happen to be in larger numbers! Convenient hypocrisy!
- A dangerously dysfunctional obsession with Islam. Pakistanis indulge their time in vilifying different sects of Islam. Some aren’t even allowed to call themselves Muslims. The narratives on Islam are never ending and as divergent as the country itself. While the common man is given dreams of Sharia, his children sending precious foreign exchange back home work in the MidEast or West often as labor, taxi drivers transporting all including drunkards and as bouncers in bars. Their income however begotten is happily enjoyed at home, however the hypocrisy and double standards start when wine and massage parlors, the two main ingredients of tourism in addition to natural beauty, heritage and adventure sport are completely amiss for tourists in Pakistan while available in ample and cheap supply to locals! Yet when confronted, the so called “good and pure Muslims” have no argument, no rationale and no alibi for the obvious, so they resort to blame, abuse and slander, things we’ve hence become immune to, if this is the price of speaking the truth so be it!
- Nuclear power, a myth going around all strata of society, with little, if any, cognizance of the fact that warfare is economic today. Look at Japan, a nation smothered by the Americans in WW2, or China, a nation once ridiculed for “cheap quality products”, or South Korea, a country people didn’t even know existed today spearheading Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Daewoo and more. Look at the Americans as they sanction Huawei, an act 1,000 times stronger than 30 days of conventional warfare success against China. Except China, the rest are non nuclear, and yet very strong economically and their nationals enjoy respect all over the world. It is good to have nukes, but they’re not enough, and they’re like a high maintenance girlfriend, to keep your nukes prim and proper you need a lot of cash at hand and in the bank, from delivery mechanism to enrichment, it’s all about money! So going ballistic on being a “nuclear power” is an ill placed sense of pride in isolation
- An uncomfortably exploitative and twisted aristocratic civil services, political structure and public sector firms. These are the ill-begotten sons of the Colonial Empire, who have moved ahead to a lean and mean, accountable and servant leadership style back in England, EU, US, Australia and NZ, however ex colonies such as India, Pakistan, African nations, South America are still plagued with their Master-Slave leadership style and governance structure. Ironic as it may seem almost 80 years post colonization most of the ex slaves still think, act, feel and behave like slaves, freedom is not easy for people who, from a young age, are taught to BLINDLY SUBMIT to authority, without questioning the moral, ethical or even legal legitimacy of the same! Hence the rich and powerful of Pakistan be they criminals, fraudsters, even hate mongers and inspiration of terror groups get respect and obedience from a masses who have never really risen or stood up for what is right!
The way out for Pakistan
Pakistan needs to take hard decisions that we as Progressive Pakistanis support and insist on implementation, but for that we first need the educated and enlightened to join our ranks, our aims are as follows:
- Separate religion from the state – let the state focus on crimes then ensuring the implementation of a Holy Book. Let the Holy Book be respected and adhered to at an individual level and the state to ensure RESPECT for all faiths through softer mechanisms then the current harsher blasphemy law measures
- Focus on tourism – that’s Pakistan’s LOWEST hanging fruit! But Pakistanis do not realize that while alcohol and massage parlors / sex shops are wide spread all over Pakistan covertly – their overt absence drives away tourism that we could catch due cheaper airfare to India, Sri Lanka, Far East and Mid East. Our leadership needs to educate the masses that their greed and satiation for worldly goods goes hand in hand with the model of governance the countries they immigrate to practice! One can write a book on what needs to be done in the tourism sector but suffice to say key reforms as above will atleast motivate foreigners to travel to Pakistan with much needed Dollars and Euros as of today
- Law and order – except Ayub Khan, none of the Pakistani leaders took this aspect seriously. A nation where one feels insecure, unsafe and exploited by the powerful because police is generally corrupt and the justice system is antiquated, complex and unfriendly not to mention unfair – for if one evaluates the inmates of jails in Pakistan a larger majority of them will be personal and political victims. Investors, local or foreign do not touch you unless you can show them transparent and professionally run police and justice system. One can see changepakistannow.wordpress.com or womenarevotes.com to see how retired armed forces personnel can quickly, efficiently and professionally bring about this much needed change!
- Low cost governance – had there been a disaster and 90% of the Government and it’s arms were destroyed, the masses of Pakistan will feel no difference – because the Government of Pakistan exists to serve Government servants, their friends, families and acquaintances then whatever the truth is
- Low taxation – For years we’ve propagated a flat VAT like 10% tax on all goods created and sold, this will result in local and foreign investments leading to jobs, treasury increase and a healthy, positive environment then one where blasphemy and “who can be called a Muslim” or “the world is out to get us” sort of cliched and rhetorical discussions are replaced with just ONE word: WORK! Increase the tax base, use the reformed police & judiciary to enforce execution. With a 200 mn plus population, if enforced we will be able to comfortably meet our international lenders’ obligations. In order to make this happen the government must substantially reduce governance expenditure by 90% at least. Cut down bureaucracy completely and replace with decent retired army officers or professionals form all walks of life, post this the government needs to go to the IMF and ask for a 2-5 years interest break exemption, thereafter a rebooted, refreshed and productive economy will benefit all. As of right now, a regressive investment climate and high taxation coupled with spiraling inflation and a deflating currency is pushing the Government towards a total financial collapse
- Pay for imports with Pak Rs – currencies build value when they are traded, Pak Rs is not traded, only exchanged for Dollars or another currency of repute. However, reality is different, 200 million people use this financial instrument (Pak Rupee) – it can be used in Pakistan to buy any of our produce! Hence import firms should be offered Rupee instead of $s, we’ll win some, we’ll lose many, no worries – over time the Rupee will become important to the whole world. The government can also offer foreigners local rights when making investment, securing them and driving our currency up
- One window foreign (or local) investment facilitation – taxes, order, visas, process, fun – these are bottlenecks to investment. We’ve covered flat 10% taxes and retired army officers based police above. What remains are difficult as hell to acquire visas to a country no one really wants to visit! and the antiquated, bureaucratic process full of red tape that literally drives investors away, add to that investors want to have fun! They socialize in bars not like Pakistanis who have bars in F7 Islamabad or Defence Lahore or Karachi or so on all over the place! To top it all off, a one window low cost and simplified business setup is our dire need to increase FDI (foreign direct investment)
We will thus be closer to Mr Jinnah’s progressive vision for Pakistan, at long last!