off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Let us refuse to become
a Nation of Beggars

A few days ago one of the candidates in the Certificate Course in Medical Editing (CME) the course I am facilitating and coordinating at University of Health Lahore rang me and said “Sir Iss mulak main rahnay ko jee to naheen chahta in view of the current prevailing situation but after listening to you, we feel perhaps the better days will come”. Often I also have similar feelings but I always try to overcome to remain positive and never lose Hope. Unfortunately, a large number of Pakistanis these days are going through the same situation as everyone the politicians, the bureaucracy, the army, the judiciary have disappointed them. But still I feel that let us feel positive, disappointment, hopelessness, helplessness is not the answer. Our problems will not be resolved if we start feeling depressed, frustrated, on the other hand if we keep our spirits alive, each one of us start working honestly with sincerity, all the State institutions start working within their own areas as per Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, respect the people’s mandate, better days won’t be far away since God almighty has blessed Pakistan with enormous material resources, human resources and there is no dearth of talent. We just need the honest, sincere leadership with wisdom and foresight.

There are two countries in the world whose name starts with alphabet I i.e. India and Israel and both of them are our worst enemies but it is also a fact that we cannot compete with them in any field, simple reason being that they have well established democracy, they have strengthened their institutions but in Pakistan undemocratic forces have never allowed democracy to flourish. If we move few steps forward, after a couple of years, we are forced to take few steps backward with the result that we have not yet reached the desired destination of a Social Welfare State. We even cannot organize free, fair and independent elections. In the past ballot papers or ballot boxes used to be stolen to get desired results but now even Presiding Officers along with all the ballot papers, boxes are kidnapped as was seen in the recent Daska Elections. Despite the fact that we celebrate Independence Day on August 14th every year but in fact we are not yet Independent in the real sense. It is evident from the bitter fact that when our economy is controlled by World Bank, our monetary policies are controlled by IMF, how can we pursue an independent foreign policy. The donors will keep on dictating to protect their own interests not the interests of Pakistan.

Nuclear power and strong Army alone are not the guarantee of our security, had it been so, the Russian Federation would not have collapsed and disintegrated. We need strong economy as well to be really independent. Until then, someone will “summon” our leaders at their will, at other times someone will stop us from going to Malaysia, someone else will pressurize us not to have cordial relations with Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey and so on. We need to set our own house in order first, institutions should stop interfering in the affairs of others institutions, a truly independent Judiciary and Free Press are pre-requisites for political stability which is essential for economic growth and development. Let us learn to live in Peace and Harmony, promote Love and affection, eliminate hatred rather than sowing the seeds of hatred, stop calling those who disagree with our viewpoint as “Traitors”. Learn to listen other’s viewpoints as well, maybe they have a point and they could be right as well.

Instead of being dependent on others, each one of us who can afford, must do something to create job opportunities for a few others to reduce unemployment. It will reduce poverty. Instead of praising and feeling happy at the increase in the number of families being supported by EHSAS programme or Benazir Income Support Programme, we should be ashamed of it because it only shows that poverty is increasing. It is the responsibility of a welfare State to help, support families below the extreme poverty line but it should not be done in a manner to increase the army of beggars. Let us all refuse to become a Nation of Beggars. These State funds should be utilized in such a way to provide job opportunities to as many people as possible so that they become self-supporting. It can be easily done by establishing small cottage industries in the urban slums, small cities and town. Those who start such establishments should be facilitated, helped, encouraged because it is not possible for any government to provide jobs to everyone. It is the private sector which has to come forward and play its role but it can only do that if there is no which hunting, they remain safe from the highhandedness of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) because this institution created by a former military dictator was specially meant to harass, intimidate and character assassination of politicians, political opponents, those in bureaucracy and business who fail to fall in line and refuse to “become most obedient servants” of the dictators. In its presence, we can have no economic progress and prosperity. Let us pray and hope that better sense prevails on all those who matter and we start our journey on the right path. Ameen.

I started this column with a couplet and let me conclude it with another couplet from the same Ghazal:


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