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Pakistan – The Audacity of Hope, The Struggle for an Ideal

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We today bear witness to an extraordinary event. Seldom does a moment come in history of mankind when the truth stands so clear from the error. The energy that has been released by the People of Pakistan today is reminiscent of the sacrifices, hardship, and dedication which our nation unleashed for the regaining of our sovereignty and our independence in 1947. Just as challenges were before us during our independence struggle, just as threats were abundant following independence; Today, as the clock slowly ticks and the nation is overjoyed with the good news, it is only natural for feelings of euphoria and jubilation to sweep our minds. We must, however, sit back in introspection and ask ourselves some pertinent questions. Because even though there is reason for optimism, danger lurks ahead of us. We must rise to occasion and defeat these threats. The questions I am going to pose and the answers we find for them will help us chalk the future which is needed to meet and satisfy the rising aspirations of a glorious people, namely the People of Pakistan.

Most of us are celebrating the restoration of the judiciary. Some of us are hopeful that this victory will mean the judiciary will remove the politically motivated Dogar Court rulings on the disqualification of the Sharif brothers. Some of us are celebrating the success of the Long March as a genuine step towards realizing the essence of a genuine democracy in Pakistan. Almost all of us, however, recognize that today the audacity of our collective hope has prevailed against overwhelming odds. I, for one, never truly supported the idea of the restoration of the chief justice because I felt a judge who accepted the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ and became a PCO judge in 1999, which in fact validated Musharraf’s coup, was and is guilty of his part in over-throwing a democratically elected government. This is the same reason why every time in the stormy year of 2007 when Imran Khan spoke of his utter dislike of Pervaiz Musharraf, I would always be nonchalant towards his views because I was aware that Imran Khan had welcomed Pervaiz Musharraf’s coup in 1999. Now that Chaudhry Iftikhar Mohammad has been reinstated, does he not think it would be the right thing for him to stand on national television and apologize to the People of Pakistan for his part in validating Musharraf’s coup a decade ago? Shall we not have the same expectation from Imran Khan and so many other personalities who accepted the validity of the coup? What unfolded in 1999 was not just the toppling of a democratically elected government, it was a direct attack on the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Suddenly activating a conscience in 2007 and standing up to a dictator does not wash away the sins which were cast in the past.

Musharraf may have had intentions to steer the country out of crisis in that dark year of 1999, but the consequences of his actions was the derailment of the constitution. Anyone who supported his actions must apologize to themselves and to the country. Do the Sharif brother’s remember that during their last government, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sajjad Shah, was attacked by supporters of the PML-N while he was in the Supreme Court of Pakistan? Do the Sharif brother’s remember that it was they who placed Sindh under Governor Rule for 11 months? These may be inconvenient facts but they are factual and the truth nonetheless. Redemption is not through tokenisms or mere speak, it is through genuine change in thought and action. The burden of guilt is as fiery as it was the day the transgression was committed as it is today.

Today, Nawaz Sharif, the Chief Justice, Imran Khan, and the people who broke the rule of Musharraf and restored our judiciary, need to cleanse the guilt which rests on their shoulders. Come on the television and tell us that you made mistakes in the past, that you are sorry for not maintaining the correct moral precedent, and that you will now work tirelessly to uphold, defend, and strengthen the Constitution of Pakistan, a task you failed in the past. Right now, I too am euphoric for I feel a vibrant change is in the offing. But I am cautious. How real can this change be if it comes to our knowledge that the political parties which supported the cause of the judiciary only did so because it was expedient to do so and not because it was the right thing to do? We, the people, would be crestfallen. Our rising expectations would be given another blow and the idea of a developed, powerful, democratic, and stable Pakistan would seem further from reach. Do not betray our aspirations, do not betray the tide which has brought a spring of change to our country.

The opportunistic and wilful Zardari realized his political miscalculation and has finally decided to honour, at least in principle, the idea that the judiciary has to be reinstated. This was a commitment which the late Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had agreed to. Whether he fulfils his pledge to his country and honours the commitment made by our national leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto will only seen once the Charter of Democracy is enacted in letter and spirit. Zardari has failed to keep up the spirit of reconciliation which the Sharif brothers offered him. The country has lost billions in the past month due to his undemocratic actions and his initial summersault on the restoration of the judiciary. Zardari must decide whether he is occupying the office of the presidency for the interests of the PPP or for the national interest. What would he choose when national interest and PPP interest collided? His pre-meditated actions between 25th February 2009 and reluctance to take the national interest on board are a clear indication for all those who wish to see it.

People of Pakistan, there are challenges before us. The colossal size of these threats is vast. But we do have the capacity to turn the tide in our favour. We must take a principled stand. We must be ready to die for our constitution. We must be prepared to offer sacrifices for the cause of our national struggle. Pakistan is bigger than the PML-N, PPP, MQM, etc. Pakistan is not about a Bhutto dynasty or a Sharif clan. Pakistan is not about the feudal-minded establishment which has for far too long held back the flames of hope we carry in our hearts and our minds. Pakistan is about the 170 million dreams, aspirations, expectations, values, collective sense of appropriation, harmony of our civilization’s ethos and shared desire for success, strengthening of our territorial integrity, the growth and strength of our national economy and trade, the power of our ideas to ameliorate our appalling state of affairs, the test of our patriotism; the ideal of Pakistan is one of hope and one of building a great Pakistan which is a light in the comity of nations. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the only true vanguard we possess to propel the cradle of our dreams to reality. The expressions in our constitution are bigger than any temporal authority.

I would like to be the first citizen who practices my own advice to our esteemed political and apolitical leaders. I apologize for supporting the coup of General Musharraf in 1999 but I was of tender age and naive thought. His system was neither sustainable nor ultimately beneficial in the ultimate sense. Our constitution, if we are to follow it in letter and spirit, it will give us the capacity, the courage, the strength, the inspiration, and the sense of commitment we need to manifest the glory, stability, scientific prowess which Pakistan and her glorious people rightfully deserve. Now that the wreaths and garlands have been placed for the success our nation has achieved, it is now time to use the collective energy of our people to address the economic crisis, to ensure food security, to provide water and job security, and to build a modern, democratic, progressive, and enlightened Pakistan. These are the real challenges which the audacity of our collective hope must address. This ideal can only be realized once we accept that the truth stands clear from the error, and anything which is ultra-vire of our Constitution is not just unacceptable, it is unbearable.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Haroon!
    I am indeed thankful for showing me right direction; i was happy but inside me i had the same feelings.. these are the same ;people ho justified the illegitimate rule of Musharraf.. ho is responsible for mot of our today’s problems.. I feel so bad when i recall that i used to admire Musharraf so much that i aspired to write thesis on him..

    Standing for truth is very important..

    I would want to add something that lawyers movement is just started.. we as a nationa need to remove those amendments that were included in constitution bY Gen Zia and Gen Musarraf.. last but not the least we along with lawyers need to force government to shut all doors for the Army intervention in state affairs..

    Thanks once again for showing light..

  2. not right thing to say.. i dont agree with this article.. the content is not in accordance with those Pakistanis who struggled for two years.. and doing for past 60 years

  3. well Ali! The writer is revealing facts.. accept those .. however I know Imran Khan and Qazi Hussain Ahmed has said sorry several times[if iam not wrong their support for restoration of judiciary is one of the important proves that they feel sorry and ashamed for standing by Musharraf’s side.. Chief Justice Iftikhar Ch. has also cleansed himself once he refused to take oath under PCO…

    accept the facts.. learn it .. without being emotional..

  4. Mr. Saeed, we should accept the truth and the principle truth as the authority and not authority as the truth.

    Chaudhry Iftikhar or Mian Nawaz Sharif are no momins nor are they a messiah to take us out of the tough times ahead of us.

    Right now, we need to focus on the alarming and outstanding challenges before us. I felt it was important to highlight their past failings because the expectations are so high right now – it would be painful to see our dreams and our aspirations collapse on the harsh rocks of a reality which if the past is to indicate a direction of, can only be dark. This is why we need to raise the banner of Pakistan and of our constitution and take a principled stand. Pakistan first, party, family, ethnicity, etc. second.

    I hope you catch the draft.

  5. Rani, if I kill someone, but 5 years later I am asked to pull the trigger again and I say no, does that mean because of this deed my past sin has been cleansed?

  6. Haroon carries a great deal of hope and reason on his young shoulders! His assessment stems from his uncluttered imagination! There is urgent need to make good sense of his exuberance and euphoria. More than critical appreciation of the historic turnaround in Lawyers’ movement, what we need to appreciate is the enormous power of affinity and bonding the battle for Independence of Judiciary has provoked among anxious citizenry of Pakistan. However, the real battle lies ahead!
    Kudos to you, Haroon! Keep making sense of the grimy moments ahead
    The war is yet to be won!
    Best

  7. You have the right to disagree with me, Mr. Saeed. Just as I have the right to disagree with you and to hold a dissenting opinion without being told ‘because I disagree with you, what you believe in is incorrect’. This is a wrong mindset to hold. Also, It is good that you disagree with me. You are only execerising your right. I only hope Nawaz Sharif, who was victimized by the politics of victimization by Zardari, will realize that respect to the judiciary is neccasary at all times and not just when it is expedient to do so; Also, eschewing past actions of non-national interest is the best way forward and endorsing thinking of national interests over Party interests.

    Also, you have failed to state what you disagree with.

    Are you rejecting some of the facts presented there, such as the attack on CJ Sajjad Shah, or the Sindh governer rule? Or are you disagreeing with my desire to see the Constitution, the law of the realm, to reign supreme.

    Please clarify if you wish for me to take you seriously.

  8. Shut up Mr. Ali Saeed! you are like that kid which keep on insisting to have something stupid and don’t listen to his parents and face the concequences in the end! When mr. Haroon is explaining you something you should atleast listen to him. I know every one has a right to disagree, and so you do too.But this time you’re wrong, and you should accept it. THEN YOU’LL KNOW WHOSE THE REAL LOSER!!!

  9. Bravo!!! Excellent!!! Marvellous….

    At least someone out of this silent crowd stood out and accepted what he thought was wrong on his side. I believe it is a revolution we all have been waiting and wanting for long enough now. I really appreciate your stand and your wisdom to call for something this nation has never heard before even; an apology. An apology for self mistakes, for self correction, for self restoration. Our senses have long just vanished away. We remain quite for no matter what happens. We are unmoved when a sitting Prime Minister is Hanged, or a Sitting Chief Justice is Attacked, or When a Sitting CJ is sacked of his duties because he chose to deny the dictator of his un lawful actions and stood fast that he has taken oath to make sure the safety and security of the people not to unsafe and harm them. Some one here said that Chaudry Iftekhar can not be a symbol of freedom of judiciary when he himself validated all the criminal injustice to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    I in this regard disagree. Yes he has committed mistakes but even he is a human being and to err is human. No one in this world is perfect. But what matters is that great people always retrieve, revive and strive to undo the damages caused by their previous blunders. Chaudry Iftekhar is not the sign of the independence of judiciary or he is not even right to assume that everything will take a U turn after his restoration as the Chief Justice of Pakistan; but having said it all he for sure is a hope that our nation needed. Independence of judiciary does not signify that everything has changed and all good things will happen now, but it’s an alarm for us that finally things have started to happen. Its time to move on now. A change has come. The Civil Society, the political workers, the lawyers and the media for the first time in the history have come together on one single agenda. An agenda to put Pakistan first. Now its time for us to change too. Its change that we need to bring in from within ourselves. We in the world are termed and known as the most impatient nation of the world, the most un peaceful people in the world, the most dangerous species on the earth, its time for us to prove these all statements wrong. Its time for all of us to come together and as this movement has started and continued till now, we need to take it further on. We need to have a system where the people can actually speak and ask for what they want not get what the few leading personalities in the arena today want.
    Peace, Patience, Patriotism, Powerful Parliament, Political Stability and Power belongs to People is what I would want all those PPP’s around the ruling party’s name be meant as. I’m not a political worker, but I have a vision just as this young hopeful man has had. He’s just showed us, the silent crowd, the way to look things up in the positive way. Every one of us knows things aren’t easy; they are not going to be settled soon. The restoration would bring in further constitutional problems but for that matter parliament is. Why don’t we just let the parliament we have already chose, decide how to tackle those political hurdles and ourselves work for the betterment of society around us. The change comes from within, and this Guy here has just showed us a Way to change. He has Stood Up for the change and I really appreciate the attempt.
    Excellent Work Man!!! At least you have the courage to accept that you were wrong, most of us still lack that. I am sorry too for once even I believed what General Parvez Musharaf did on 12 October, 1999, was justified, but now I think a lot different too. Though it took me just days to realize I was wrong but it took me 9 years to say that I was wrong there. and the credit goes to you for bringing the truth inside me, out. Thanks a lot for that.

    Peace (No Hard Words No Harsh Feelings For No One At all)
    God Bless Our Homeland.
    Pakistan Zindaabad.

  10. Vish!

    I am surprise.. you just stole words from my mouth.. we need to realize our mistakes and endeavor to bring a positive change..

    We do not have much time; already much water has flown under the bridges.. tie up socks and admit faults. and be a part of revolution..

    Pak Sir Zameen Shad Baad..

  11. Thanks to you guys for your positive responses, Haroon, Rubab, Shazia. Thanks. What i said was just the truth how i see it. I just hope everyone else is able to see it the way it is right.

  12. I really appreciate what you people are doing. Actually i’m a student of 1st yr and so when i read articles like these it really opens up my mind and help me increase my info. Thank-You mr.Haroon for sharing suh wonderful thoughts with us. hope you’ll be writing such essays more and more…..! BYE 🙂

    And if at all that mr. Ali Saeed say any thing let me know i’ll crush him in my blender and drink his juice…:(

  13. Ultimately chodhri sahib is restored as a chief Justice of Pakistan, now it has to be observed that what is his goal towards “betterment of judiciary”in pakistan, I hope Almighty Allah could do batter days for common people.

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