The Changeable Unchanged
“To survive in peace and harmony, united and strong, we must have one people, one nation, one flag.”
– Pauline Hanson
Such is the spirit that leads a nation from eternal abyss into a state of tranquility. However as a cluster of individuals where personal agendas take over mutual benefits, where one is ready to slay his brethren for the sake of a few pennies, where traitors in the disguise of leaders wag their tails for the foreign masters and where the commoners are so innocent that they cannot separate the snakes from the folk yet complain about inequality, injustice, mass discrimination, hunger, starvation and extremely poor subsistence standards which keep on declining without the least hope in any improvement. I am afraid to say that those people can do nothing but sink in that very abyss that they created until they commit themselves to be bearers of positive change. The current situation of Pakistan is no different from the above stated scenario. Let’s move on to discuss the circumstances that have led this nation to become that “cluster of individuals” from a grass-root level.
Unwanted priorities and being educationally unaware
Education is one of the fundamental human rights; an instrument to enlighten the minds and the souls of a nation. It is a necessary investment if we seek to stand tall in the world. Education is necessary if we want an end to extremism and ancient barbaric practices. It is necessary to unlock new gates towards perfection, better training and grasp of knowledge to help individuals face the challenges of the world.
“Education is the movement from darkness to light.”
– Allan Bloom
According to the Constitution of Pakistan,
“The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.”
- Article 25A.
However, our literacy rate is around 58% according to those standards. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) 2009 Global Education Digest, 6% of Pakistanis (9% of men and 3.5% of women) were university graduates as of 2007. Pakistan does not have a single university that stands in the top 100 universities of the world. With such an underdeveloped and under-financed educational setup our leaders are not sufficiently trying to build Pakistan. Instead they are focused on constructing “metro bus services”, overhead bridges and underpasses all the way as if we have already achieved a 100% literacy. Yes, development is a necessity but deliberately spending millions of dollars on structures that are not helping the masses is not right. Instead this money should be spent on education. According to a Chinese saying,
“Do not offer your men caught fish but make them learn how to catch fish”.
Even in the war against terrorism, the importance of education is usually neglected. We must note that most people who join such organizations are illiterate and do not have a steady source of income. If the government focuses on providing education to this ignored bunch, they might succeed in saving them. The recent wave of extremism was also related with this issue. Education means education of thoughts as well; a normal person would surely be able to comprehend the “jihad” of these terrorists and would come to the conclusion that all of this is meaningless; his or her faith and love for humanity would command him or her to reject such dangerous ideas.
Another issue that is spreading discontent is that the so-called “scholars” are coming up with thoughts and terms such as moderate Islam or modernism and accepting West as their superiors. Then come those who try to build a gap between us due to ethnicity, sects, languages and even castes. All of these issues are hindering our journey in becoming one nation and only education can put them on hold. The education provided must be unbiased.
So how can this system of education be improved? The first and foremost step will be to increase the spending in the education sector so that universities can be built to provide higher education and schools should be made in rural areas. Capital should also be spent on the system of education making it up-to-date and internationally acceptable unlike the current matriculation system. Teachers should also be trained and it should be ensured that they perform their duties well and are appointed on merit. With regards to the importance of their services, they should be provided with certain privileges such as free medical treatment, residential allowance and transport allowance to name a few, in order to shield them from poverty and financial constraints.
Unhealthy body, mind and activities
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Indeed a healthy mind is important and refrains us from indulging in unhealthy activities by inducing a positive approach in individuals which ultimately affects the society in a way that is beneficial to all. As such, sports and games are considered as gold standards in the development of a healthy body and mind. It must be noted that in a community where such activities are enthusiastically observed, crimes such as theft and problems such as drug addictions are either rare or at least less than those communities where such activities are not observed. Therefore in my opinion it is the responsibility of the government to provide its citizens the opportunities to take part in sports.
However sadly enough, the government does not spend enough resources in this department and whatever little it spends usually ends up in the pockets of the hungry, corrupt and subsequently loathsome officials. As a result of this, the sportsplayers of this country are on the brink of forfeiting their games as neither they have economic stability nor necessary facilities. As a result of this more and more people are turning away from these globally acclaimed beneficial activities and turning towards other ills such as smoking, drugs or just wasting their time doing nothing. This trend is a disastrous one as it is destroying the backbone of the country and the most alarming situation is that the government has no vision to take counter measures or provide a remedy for the eradication of this contemptuous trend. Again there is a need to revisit the laws to deal with this monster with an iron hand.
It can only be achieved if the elected representatives of both national and provincial assemblies understand their responsibilities in the process of law-making so that the funds that are released end up being useful to the citizens.
I am absolutely sure that if we deal with this issue seriously it will result in bringing change; ill effects on both psychological and physical levels would end or at least greatly reduce gang culture, theft, robberies, drug marketing and other social menaces.
The patwari system and the influence of influentials
The farmers are indeed the economic backbone of this agriculturally dependent nation but ironically most of them are devoid of any true peace. The main reason causing this is the patwari system. Patwaris are government officials and have in fact the lowest-ranking positions in the revenue department. Their job is to register the agricultural land along with its owners. They are also responsible for maintaining a record of the harvests, however, as their records act as the be-all-and-end-all, they exert more influence than they should. Bribery, corruption and illegal allotments of land have become part of their daily chores. As a result many patwaris have raised their status to lords of their respective areas exerting something that is nothing less than feudalism.
The solution to this issue is “computerized entry” of the required data and a bureau that can provide protection to people from the illegal use of land by other influential landlords. These measures do not require a huge amount of capital nor are they so complex that our politicians would not understand them. The question then is, why is the government not doing anything? It is mainly because these people support politicians from their illegal earnings safeguarded by this system. This conflict of interest is causing anxiety and havoc in weak and poor farmers.
Thana culture and official racialism
The police department is supposed to be the shield of citizens against all sorts of crimes and to work solely for the benefit of society. The police is supposed to make sure that laws are followed and observed, however in fairly recent times, stories of them transgressing not only their defined limits but also the limits as per the social contract, is not something out of the blue and yet they dare to spend our money in ads with the slogan “Apni police hai to apna hi samjhiye”. Well I know for certain that if it is ‘our’ police working for ‘us’, they would not even dare to torture and blackmail innocent people or let themselves be used as mercenaries to further the interests of their ‘patrons’. Apart from that our police is famous for being unfit, comprising of an inefficient fighting force. Their love for bribery is also undeniable. How ironic is it that our police provides protection to criminals instead of giving justice to ordinary victims of certain crimes. That is why the police department has been unable to establish its trust with the people of the country who already consider them as criminals in uniform.
The recent incident where a traffic warden assaulted a senior citizen in Lahore, portrayed an extremely negative and barbaric picture of Pakistan to the entire world. If we go back down the timeline, the ‘Model Town massacre’ remains a tragedy which we would never be able to forget where innocent citizens were shot without discrimination and in which people like ‘Gullu Butt’ became a global sensation and a symbol of barbarism! This was one of the countless times when police showed racialism.
The easiest way to deal with this status quo is an induction of police officers and policemen on merit that fulfills a specific criteria and includes a certain level of education and expertise in combat. Family background and most importantly commitment towards duty must be checked. Things like bonuses and performance reports will be enough to keep them away from bribery. Furthermore, an independent internal accountability commission comprising of retired judges and reputable police officers should be formed that would work parallel to the police to detect hazards such as political affiliation and the use of their uniform for ill purposes.
Black market and the always powerful mafia
The black market is defined as an illegal traffic or trade in officially controlled or scarce commodities. It is in fact a shadow economy and place where people can sell different commodities that are banned by the government such as narcotics, organs, slaves, weapons, electronic devices, and vehicles which are mostly used and will be used in future crimes and criminal activities, etc. One aspect in meeting the demand is that various mafias are using their power to get access to these goods despite their dreadful consequences.
By and large this economy and its riches are luring people to join this much despised business which is ultimately causing an increase in human abductions and trafficking, narcotic addicts, stockpiling of weapons, unregistered vehicles and other menaces. This is also a facilitating factor to terrorist organizations as well as to local gangs, ultimately causing an increase in social instability at the very grassroots level. The recent increase in child abductions is reason enough to believe that not only does the black market exist but it is also operating efficiently.
The point of worry is not that the black market exists, but why we cannot see police and other departments cracking this network. Is it either because our force isn’t effective or because they are themselves involved in giving protection to this market and ensuring that it not only survives but also thrives? Either way, the reality is too scary to conjure and wasting our time in politics or matters of personal interests might make it a case of too-little-too-late. The security forces must filter out the culprits both from their ranks and from the ranks of ordinary people, taking in count foreign influence to a degree in order to achieve acceptable results.
Usury is also related with this market to some degree, if not entirely. A case study shows that various people are lending loans to other people on unbearably high interest rates, usually resulting in the entire party becoming slave to that person. These “slaves” are then used for various purposes such as being sold in the black market or hired for obnoxious crimes to say the least. The very practice is inhuman to say the least.
“Money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.”
On the whole, the plethora of problems that currently needs to be addressed may seem extremely difficult and may require sacrifices. However this is all worth the task and is required to make this nation a nation again and to turn this hell into a beautiful paradise.
“Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.”
– John Milton
Most of us resent this from the bottom of our hearts and some have already given up but would it not be better to use that very hatred to do something good. The hatred against terrorism channeled to bring peace, the hatred for corruption in order to bring accountability, the hatred for illiteracy to enhance education, the hatred for narcotics and other addictions in order to uproot them, etc. Indeed it’ll be a far better use of this emotion than just some random criticism.
“All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.”
– John Milton
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.