The other day, when I was driving on a road, I saw the words ‘banana hai ek nea Pakistan’ (We have to create a new Pakistan) on a wall.
‘Change’ is basically an instinct engraved by the Allah Almighty into the human nature. It is because of this that man has shifted from caves to bungalows; from exploration of other continents to outer planets; from wrapping leaves to wearing branded outfits; from telegrams and post mails to emails; from horses and camels to jet planes; from daggers to nuclear weapons; and finally from isolation to globalization.
‘Change’ has been the strongest motivation behind all the achievements of man throughout history. In fact, all the goals were set to achieve some ‘change’; all the development took place to attain something better and new; all the wars were fought to change the prevailing political and social order; new discoveries and inventions were made to change the living standards; and even the religions were revealed to bring about ‘change’.
In Pakistan, many slogans of change are in the air but I’m afraid that many of them may just be hollow. Many such slogans have been raised in the past but no substantial change ever occurred. The promises made by the last PPPP-led government are an example in this regard. Destroying the monster of corruption and energy crisis was promised. But it proved a mere rhetoric and promised result was never in sight. The same sad tale is being told by the conditions of health, education, terrorism, law and order, etc.
Pakistan was established to change the miserable living conditions of the Muslims of India. But since its inception only a few changes have been seen. However, at present, there is an unprecedented urge for change. The people are so frustrated that now they demand nothing less than a real change. But how this ‘idea’ is going to be transformed into ‘reality’?
If we want a real change, first of all, we have to define our goals properly. What type of change we actually aspire to? Should this change encompass political, economic, social or and cultural aspects? Do we demand changes in political setup like imposition of Martial Laws? Do we want a new constitution, every decade as we had in 50s, 60s and 70s? Is constructing roads and flyovers a real change or we want to reconstruct our social structure? Do we want to revolutionize our education system?
The idea of change cannot be transformed into reality sans proper definition of the term.
Now once we decide that what type of change we actually want, we need some agents of change. One such agent is a true leader which, unfortunately, is not found in Pakistan. So, we have to create such environment in our country that facilitates the growth of charismatic leadership. Our education system needs fundamental and radical changes, for, presently, it may be good at producing readers, but is abjectly poor at producing leaders.
But ‘Rome was not built in a day’, true leaders are not produced overnight. Therefore, we should strengthen our political institutions; set discipline as our foundation and strict implementation of moral codes for strong political institutions will force those at the helm of affairs to work honestly. Eliminating corruption completely is impossible but we can devise such policies that would curtail corruption. One such policy may be proper documentation and computerizing the office correspondence. Here, Pakistan Highways and Motorway Police is the best example to cite. Such steps have minimized the chances of corruption. FBR is also moving towards the automation process. This is, undoubtedly, a great step towards a ‘real change’.
Besides, our political setup also needs ‘surgical’ reformation. Our politics still comprise the elite ‘industrialists and feudal. History reveals that no revolution has ever been successful without a strong and ebullient middle class. Secondly, the culture of dynastic politics and autocracy in political parties should be eradicated as well. Only democratic parties should be allowed to contest the polls. Thirdly, election-based i.e short-term policies shouldn’t be devised.
This responsibility should equally be shouldered by the bureaucracy and political leadership. Politicians may come and go but the state institutions are permanent bodies and they can be real agents of change. One such institution is media that shapes the public opinion which is fundamental to ‘change’. Similarly, NGOs and civil society can play their respective roles as well.
But the most significant ‘Change-agent’ is a common man. Politically, common people elect the legislature to change the fate of country. So, assigning the responsibility of Pakistan’s future, we have to put the baradari system aside. Therefore, every one of us should play his role positively. Hollow slogans and impracticable policies won’t work anymore, for the people are now fed up of hunger, poverty, unemployment, energy crisis, and other such nuisances. The common man of Pakistan has to stand up and speak for his rights. This is the only way to transform the ‘idea of change’ into ‘reality’.