By Qaisar Sultan
Who says that the Pakistanis have not shaped some great philosophical debate? One of our democrats, Qayyum jatoi, who happened to be a federal minister, surmised a new theory of justice. Jatoi said in an emotional outburst, “All the groups- Sindhis, Pakhtoon, Balochi, Saraiki, and Punjabi- should get an equal share in corruption”- Rawls, after hearing this new revolutionary theory of justice, must be turning in his grave. Who he thinks getting the lion share of corruption money? Jatoi’s boss, Zardari, is supposed to be on the top of the list. Most of politicians from Southern Punjab are as corrupt as any other politician in the country. But Jatoi was not talking about civilian corruption; he meant the corruption money of the military. Jatoi did not stop there; he continued his frontal assault, “We provide the army with uniform and boots, not to kill their own countrymen”. He may have implied North Punjab and the military that is essentially from that part of the country; he added South Punjab into the list as a group of people not sharing the proceeds of corruption. In such a polarized culture how we can we even talk about democracy. Here is an elected democrat covertly behind the veil of democracy advancing the agenda of a faction- The MQM has been playing the factional politics for a long time; same goes for Taliban, Balochi, and Sindhi nationalists, Pakhtoon, Saraiki and Punjab. The factionalism, both in minority and majority groups, is straining the republic. They see that the interests of a segment of country are divergent from the interests of the whole. That is the case when you have a country with so many different ethnic groups and do not trust each other. The question is how we tackle the causes and the effects of varying factions in the country. If the minister from South Punjab has complained about the majority control of the largest source of money through corruption of the military, the rest of the ethnic groups may find the field day to provoke the hostility and fissure among the people of the country. After the debt services, the bulk of the country resources go to the military, that is from North Punjab. The corruption is unbolted for all in Pakistan; it is not one ethnic group that has a lock on it. But, I do not know if the military has ever killed the people of South Punjab; he was talking about Balochis. He was so emotional that he could not articulate his real grievances. Was he talking about his own cause of corruption? Is there not enough to steal without real treasure and property that the military men hold sway over? If the fact of life to a Pakistani democrat includes the corruption as part of reallocation of resources we should at least have a debate on the issue. People do not simply blabber because they wish to sound stupid; allow exception to TV commentators and our great democrats.
The individual liberty given to those who value the prejudices of ignorant is dangerous. The individual liberty is imperative to a civil society, but not at the cost to the country. The idea is to let people enjoy their lives as they see fit; and they end up doing good things for themselves and for the society. The whole idea of history is for the people to achieve freedom and individual liberty. What happens in uneducated and ethnically divided societies, the elections and democratic process bring out the worst in people? The exploiters feed the passions of the faction that helps to divide the communities to a point that even unsubstantial issues seem to fuel larger conflicts. In this divisive environment, the factions dwell and act upon the enmity based on most frivolous differences. Hobe’s idea of brutish man offers the broken down humanity and the propensity to find reasons to find faults; no doubt, there are faults. The factions in the country start with a limited agenda without articulating their true intentions in public, or some become vocal and highlight and promote parochial dogma. The factionalism is common in societies that have lost a common goal; the warmongering and hatred cannot be a common ground. If the hate of others, within and outside of the country, becomes the common theme, the common ground on the pillars of hatred are always shaky and timely. The state’s war policy cannot be a binding force for a long time. If the state enforces that idea through crying wolf forever and spends the major portion of the state revenues and borrows money on regular basis, this tyranny of forced policy on the nation and misappropriation of funds are against the liberty and the interests of the whole. An independent and free nation cannot survive on aids and loans. There are repercussions when a nation spends double the amount of its revenues. Then you find out that after the flooding, hunger, suicides of poor people, a bankrupt economy, diseases, shortage of basic commodities, the army budget was raised to another twenty five percent. Poor countries cannot afford the luxury of decreeing protracted enmity creating a war like emergency for all of its existence. One can ask what if there is a true enemy; America finds enemies because they have the luxury to burn billions of dollars to stay as super power. Hitler’s Germany found the world as enemy. In Africa, there are more enemies than friends of most countries-They wish to fight and fight till cow comes home; that never happens. If a country does not have a strong economy, the preparation and fighting wars destroy the economy and the state; Soviet Union self-destructed itself by military expansionism. If the country spends and allocates so much money for the military, that one institution becomes so strong and powerful that it gobbles up the rest of the institutions. May be that is what Jatoi was talking about; I doubt very much.
The people of Pakistan have to decide if they wish to suffer and may self-destruct due to an outlandish notion of conquering the enemy, India. Poverty, corruption, incompetency in governance, weak economy, lack of unity (They are asking “a cut” on ethnic basis in corruption of the military, a budget of five billion dollars), a military deeply involved in politics and corruption (They seem to represent a faction in the country, Jatoi’s predicament)), and extremism cannot bring in the victory against an undeniably potent enemy, seven time bigger and one of the fastest growing economy in the world. While a reproof is due to the theory of justice by our great democrat, jatoi, we should think about what is wrong with the existing center of power. A lingering war environment, has embraced the religious warriors and jihadi ambitions. The country’s civilian and war policies have been controlled by those who should be under the control of descent and honest civilians. The basic conflict in governance of the country has put such a dent on national character, economy and governance that the state is now completely dominated by only one institution that has grown out of control. While the country is on the mercy of foreign donations, aids and loans, the vanity of our macho attitude is overwhelming. Now, jatoi wants a bite of the heavenly apple, prohibited to the civilian mortal souls.