EDITORIAL: Constitution doesn’t prescribe medicine for every ill that besets today’s Pakistan, but even by ensuring what it says is acted upon the way out of the present-day mess would become a strong possibility.

The country can ride out the storm provided the powers-that-be follow the Constitution in letter and spirit. One would be reluctant to say that today’s Pakistan is a failed state, but it is certainly not very far from that abyss of despair.

Rightly then a clutch of worried gentlemen — the so-called mavericks — met in Quetta over the weekend to emphasise the imperative for “Reimaging Pakistan National Dialogue” (the event was organised by Balochistan Peace Forum).

Although these independent-minded people did not sow the seeds of a new political party, they did convey in quite unmistakable terms that almost all principal organs of the state have failed to deliver on their assignments.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-finance minister Miftah Ismail, Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani, senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and former Senator Farhatullah Babar were among those who spoke their minds bluntly, urging the judiciary to “rectify the injustices” done to Nawaz Sharif.

They also asked political leaderships to move away from issues like the Panama Papers and the Toshakhana gifts. Their views were largely spot on, so to speak. But we don’t have any answer to the question whether this call for reimaging Pakistan will travel beyond the four walls of the Quetta Press Club.

This is a huge challenge, and is seen by many to be making bricks without straw. Underscoring the need for an “extraordinary action” in order to respond to an “extraordinary situation” in an effective and meaningful manner, Abbasi lamented that there is no forum where issues could be discussed openly.

As to what this ‘extraordinary action’ should be, he highlighted the need for delineating a new social structure or order. But implementing a new social order is likely to be a long haul. Last but not least, what the noted Tunisian historian, thinker and philosopher Hichem Djait said about his own country constitutes a sardonic comment on our state of affairs as well.

According to him, for example: “I feel humiliated to belong to a state with no outlook for the future nor ambition, a state that is authoritarian if not despotic, in which there is neither science, nor reason….The state holds me back….I feel smothered as I suffer at being governed by uneducated and ignorant leaders.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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