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Discussion: Is Pakistan a nation or crowd?

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By Ayesha Rasool

Pakistan is a country with a lot of potential youth which if guided properly can bring a positive change in the region and growth of the society. This can only be done if the youth interact properly with the intellectual people who have devoted their lives to positivism in a certain field. Sharing their experiences with the upcoming generation can make the youth learn from them and decide a bright responsible future. To bring awareness to students of different subjects and areas of education FAIDA has organised a series of sessions in different universities with mind changing topics. On these platforms intellectuals’ from different unites of life come and brainstorm their views. Lately in month of February i had an experience to listen to a session conducted by FAIDA at Superior University with the topic focusing on “Are we a nation or a crowd”. Four panellists share their views with an open ending letting the students develop their own mind sets. The guests were Mr. Salman Abid, Mr. Muhammad Usman, Dr. Munawar Sabir and Dr. Nasira Javed Iqbal. Each one of the speakers was at least given 10 minutes to talk about the topic and share their views. After that there was a question answer session from students.

Here I would only like to share with you the outline of their views that will truly make us think where we stand.

The first speaker was Mr. Salman Abid political analyst, Colum writer at Daily Express; defines what a nation truly is. He highlighted the importance of agenda and destination which is the basic collective cause of people socializing.  People having a same goal to achive with same mind set and thought are defined as a nation. In his views a nation first element is same agenda. He believed that people of sub continent have high place for heroism. The lead factor is unable to portray their theory. In his views institutional input to build a nation is the true collective input for developing a certain mind set. He said we are more focused on individualism and not on the system or collectiveness. Urban ruler demission and literacy demission are the basic problem making Pakistanis a crowd then being a nation. 57.5% people are regarded below poverty line which brings a big difference in development of Pakistan. The only chance of change that can be brought is through agenda based voting and not relationship voting .youth should focus on social development rather than individual development. Basic civic education is lacked both in institution and individual teaching. Exploiting state funds and destroying state property is the biggest crime and hurdle in urbanization and growth. For that he gave example from the life of Quaid e Azam who stopped refreshments in cabinet meeting as it exploits government funds which are property of state and to be delivered to public not to the rulers pleasure. He thinks leaders should sacrifice for the people as Quaid sacrificed his life but here in Pakistan people sacrifice their lives for a leader. He thought we should gather on our differences. Polarisation in political parties with no developed agenda is the reason behind crowd development rather than a nation development. Intellectuals should give time to youth through media to develop positive thinking and self planning on focused agenda. This is the only way to empower youth and develop them as an intellectual nation then a reactional nation. And can only fill the gap between state and public.

The second speaker Mr. Muhammad Usman from NEO channel focused on correcting one’s own selves. He defined Pakistani people as a crowd which sometimes behave like a nation in crises and natural disasters otherwise we do not even take ownership of our country. This is because of the lack of leadership. He further explains public efforts and performance on the occasions where they behave as a nation with examples such as flood, earthquake and terrorism. He also thinks that the people have experienced a lot of different systems which brought in confusion and still they r not even provided by the basic necessities of life. He thinks by giving vote and bringing in people who have agenda and development plans can only lift us all up again as a nation.

The third speaker at the forum was Dr. Munawar Sabir assistant professor department of geography Punjab University Lahore.  He defines Pakistanis as a complete nation by all means.  In his views Islam as a religion does not confine a place to be part of a nation but all practicing the same religion Islam belongs to one nation and one ideology. To be a part of an ideological nation the area does not have to be specified. The borderlines and the land division in his view is a micro level thing. According to him there are three (ideological) nations to rule the world in different times of history; Greece, Muslims and Europeans. At the time of independence litrecy rate was less than 10% of the total people in subcontinent. Allama Iqbal was a PhD then and Quaid studied at Lincoln University that makes them the cream in leadership.   That means uneducated people had educated leaders with destiny. Pakistan has survived many wars as when it became independent state there was already a cold war going in between USA and USSR. International pressure is always on Pakistan, as the world hesitates that Muslims do not come to power again. As subcontinent has given birth to 3 big religions of the world Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism but on the bases of ideology only the Muslims here could have their own independent state with a democratic process. Other countries which got independence due to efforts put in by Pakistan in the same time are Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. He thinks that the existence of these countres is due to the fact that Muslims struggled for a separate home land. This gave these countries courage to be independent states.

The last speaker in the session was the most honorary justice retired Nasira Javed daughter in law of Allama Iqbal. Her precious thoughts were that education is not graded by the degree person holds but the experience he has. She thought that the new generation is more Advanced and capable then the old ones. As a nation we are resilient not fragile. At the time of independence to brave girls Zarina and Fatima Suria showed great patriotism and place Pakistan’s flag on the civil secterate building. This shows how great nation we are and how we experienced the world largest migration ever for a certain difference of ideology. She elaborated how to destroy us Redcliff provided a gate way to Kashmir and sold it out in 80 million even having a majority Muslim area. Whereas other states who wish to join Pakistan having majority Hindu people were never allowed to join in Pakistan. This was all done to sabotage Pakistan as a nation. In old times there where never so many differences in religious views but with the interference from west now we have a big diversity in believes and have uncountable sects. Quaid focused on unity, faith (believe) and disciple. Lake of all these things is turning us towards a crowd. We experience a government system of contract that is for what we pay tax.  The elected government should provide us with good governance, protection, food, education, health etc. But unfortunately we lack in leadership and to overcome this issue we have to generate leaders among ourselves by focusing on development of society. Quran has given women equal rights as no other religion has given. We are a country with having almost 57% of population as female gender. We should power and educate them to equalise the load of society. As women actively participated in making a new country Pakistan they can also work in all fields for its development. She also focused on the minorities; their rights and issues.  As the white part in our flag represent them. They are a working part of our society in health sector and education sector. We should not treat them as second citizen and we must change our behaviour towards them.  As Quaid once questioned about his religion; he replied “my religion is that of my Prophet (saw)”. She said all we lack is to give direction to our people to unite them. Also she focused on family planning and having two children to bring up them as good educated citizen rather than increasing number of uneducated crowd. She said Iqbal always talked about positive attitude. He was never disappointed and discouraged. So she said that we still have faith on our youth that they can do miracles and bring a good positive change and will never give up. We must adopt an attitude of self employment and self resilience. She was very hopeful that Pakistan will develop forward and won’t go back.

After listing to all the positive thoughts and the potential our youth have I believe that defiantly Pakistan will rise and shine. Just being faithful to our own selves and working with our full sincerity towards our country; we can one day be the most powerful and strong nation of the world.  As the history witnessed our four fathers who had the courage and will to emerge as a country on the map of world.

The writer is a social activist and she can be reached at: [email protected]

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