ARTICLE (January 24 2009): Actually, the period till 1973 is all fraught with a neck and neck fight between the two major elites, military and political to take control of the state. The making and unmaking of various governments and constitutions during this period is sufficient to prove the point.
The judicial elite being too week to take sides on its own, permanently relaxed in the lap of the powerful one; while the political elite when apparently in power always, as it is doing today, tried to subdue it to its dictates but failed repeatedly.
However, it was in the early 1970s that in the wake of the first general elections and the subsequent cut-throat power struggle between two major victor parties, ie Awami League and Pakistan Peoples Party, as a result of which Bangladesh came into being, that the military elite was at its weakest. The war that Pakistan army lost in the Eastern wing found about a hundred thousand of its army men as prisoners of war in India and it had left that elite too frail and unprepared to assert itself and its supremacy.
That is how the constitution of 1973 sailed through. As it is, the hands that resuscitated the fainted patient were hacked off just after four years in 1977 and once again one elite established its rule. Thus, the state of Pakistan gradually reached a point where today it has lost all moral and constitutional legitimacy.
By taking on a role of a party and completely abandoning its protective role and the role of a mediator and referee, it let the Pandora's political box open. From the very beginning ensued a fierce struggle between the various sections of the society, in addition to the two bigger elites to gain the control of the state which with the passage of time intensified. All the power politics, and its offshoots, constitutional breakdowns, political, economic, cultural and religious persecutions are the major milestones on this way down.
It was during the last days of the People's Government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that the Pandora's religious box's lid was slid a bit (the Pandora's economic box had already been smashed into pieces in his government's earlier years), but it was wide-open during the 3rd coup when General Zia-ul-Haq's Martial Law disfigured everything civil, moral, lawful and constitutional in Pakistan.
Since then, we have witnessed the creation of a number of (and strengthening of the previously existing) armed and un-armed political and non-political, religious and non-religious mafia like groups vying for the control of the state to enforce their agendas. The armed groups found the Zia-ul-Haqqian environment especially conducive for their growth.
The same phenomenon of the absence of a genuinely neutralised and legitimised state let loose countless autonomous entities, from individual persons to well-knit groups, which monopolised the use of force to promote their interests and ideologies. They started making use of every thing and every means no matter moral or immoral, legal or illegal, constitutional or un-constitutional, peaceful or forceful, to compel the individual citizens to believe and behave but in accordance with their prescribed ideological manuals.
This gave rise, in addition to political and economic, to moral and cultural policing in every street and at every road throughout Pakistan. In sum, that was the final touch to the siege from within. That siege from within arrested the creative and enterprising spirit of the nation and left it in a completely dried, wrung and barren state. No sphere of life, learning, earning and recreation could escape that mischievous moral policing.
Woman was particularly the target of that devilry. She was no more an individual; rather debased to the status of a soul-less object. The tentacles of moral policing trespassed every encirclement of human civilisation from one's privacy to the premises of someone's home. No one remained safe even within one's house. The lot of the ordinary people was made miserable; they were turned into helpless prisoners in their own homes.
Socially and politically, it begot the worst type of parasites. As the siege retarded the real spontaneous growth, a parasitic economy emerged. Everyone who got the opportunity whether he was a labourer or an industrialist tried to take advantage of it to amass wealth by grabbing other people's money ie tax money in whatever manner he could do that. All politics became the art of living and living lavishly at the expense of others.
Outside government, goons and mafia live like that. Such are the times and circumstances we are living in. That's the Pakistan we are having today. This article has only generalised what is happening around. No examples have been given since they abound. No mentions have been made, save a few, since there are innumerable staring us in the face. The first thing we need to know is that we are not under siege from outside, but from within.
That's the hard truth! That is what this article has attempted to show. Also, it has tried to show how that siege was laid to. However, what this article has avoided to venture at is why we were besieged from within? That such a question pertains to the realm of psychology which may not provide us with a satisfactory answer is what the writer has no quarrel with.
In his view, even if we find the answer to that question why an oppressor behaves like an oppressor, it will not help a bit to stop him from behaving like that. Also, it is the weaker, the oppressed one who is the real culprit; it is he who lets the oppressor oppress him whereas it is characteristic of the human spirit that it is absolutely free, ie we have an absolutely free soul. When one makes him believe that he has been besieged, he is not free.
He is free only when he fights to break the siege. It is admitted that harder is to fight against the siege from within than from without because our enemy is inside. But fight we have to go for. Thus the second thing we need to know is that we are free and we can make that siege disappear. What is possible and is practicable is that we the ordinary people, we the oppressed ones, we the besieged ones, do not let the oppressor oppress us, the besieger besiege us.
We need to be self-assured that we are not victims, that we are free people. It is as simple as that. It is our natural and inalienable right not to be besieged by anyone, not to be oppressed by anyone. But by just law alone! In case, we have been oppressed, laid siege to, be it from within or without, it is morally incumbent on us to assert and stand for our rights and freedoms, and struggle for that siege to be lifted.
That's the simple way ahead to the resolution of our complex problems! That's what we are required to follow in Pakistan for the siege from within to be lifted once and for all to regain the lost paradise of our rights and freedoms! (Concluded)
(The writer is founder/head of the Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan's first free market think-tank www.asinstitute.org | Welfare of the people by the people
. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org