Islamabad (Imran Y. CHOUDHRY) :- Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC Mr. Qamar Bashir analysis :
In Pakistan, we have an unrivalled ability to quickly reduce our heroes to zero. The events of May 9th were the most recent examples of numerous monuments and resting places of Shaheeds who gave their lives for the security and safety of the nation being desecrated, destroyed, and disregarded, and the perpetrators of these heinous and abhorrent acts are now paying dearly for their actions. This was most likely not the first time we had degraded and humiliated our heroes. We’ve done it in the past, we’re doing it now, and maybe we’ll keep doing it in the future. This heinous act of denigrating heroes is not as simple as it appears. It chills the nation’s psyche and has an impact on its social and cultural character and loss of societal ideals. It sows discontent and creates internal splits and makes the public enraged and misled. It erodes national identity and social cohesion, resulting in a society that is fragmented and harms a country’s reputation both internally and globally leading to strain diplomatic relations and worldwide criticism.
Our past is full of such horrors. After her brother’s death, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s sister Fatima Jinnah was humiliated and mistreated. She was persecuted for supporting her brother’s political career and Pakistan’s independence. The ruling establishment opposed Fatima Jinnah’s 1965 bid for Pakistan’s presidency. During the 1965 presidential elections, Fatima Jinnah was exposed to hostile propaganda and smear campaigns to undermine her and doubt her leadership abilities. She lost the election not on merit but on the strength of time-tested tactics of unprecedented rigging, threats, use of government sources and finances, election irregularities, isolation, and pressure to withdraw from the race. She lost the election even though she had played crucial roles in shaping the history and identity of our nation despite adversity and mistreatment. Fatima Jinnah died in Karachi on 9 July 1967. She died of heart failure, but rumors remain that the same group as in the case of Liaquat Ali Khan murdered her at her home.
Liaquat Ali Khan was the first Prime Minister who introduced stability to the country despite numerous obstacles, such as refugee crises, administrative issues, and the incorporation of princely states. Liaquat Ali Khan played a pivotal role in stabilising the new nation and consolidating its political structure by drafting and passing the Objectives Resolution in 1949, laying the foundation for the constitutional principles of Pakistan, and emphasising the significance of an Islamic framework for the country’s government. In 1950, he enacted the Land Reforms Regulation, shaped Pakistan’s foreign policy, activated Pakistan’s United Nations function, and emphasised Pakistan’s desire for peaceful coexistence with its neighbours. maintained cordial ties with the United States. However, he was assassinated in 1951. His murder was and remains a mystery, and it will continue to be so eternally.
From 1973 to 1977, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the Prime Minister of Pakistan. In 1973, he gave Pakistan its constitution, enacted a series of nationalisation measures, reduced economic inequality, and promoted social justice. In response to regional security concerns, notably after the defeat in 1971, he spearheaded the nuclear weapons programme. His famous remark that Pakistan would develop nuclear weapons even if it had to “eat grass” to achieve this objective still reverberates. He pursued an independent foreign policy for Pakistan, sought ties with Muslim nations, and was instrumental in establishing the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). After the war of 1971, he inked the Simla Agreement in 1972 to promote peace and stability in the region. Once a champion, he was reduced to zero after being accused of authoritarianism, murder conspiracy, and traitorous behaviour. He was given a death sentence and executed in 1979.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan is commonly referred to as the “father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.” Due to his role in the development of nuclear weapons, he was celebrated as a national hero, but now it was his turn to become Zero. He was forced to confess transferring nuclear technology to other countries, was charged with espionage for sharing nuclear technology particularly with North Korea, Libya, and Iran, was accused of violating international non-proliferation norms, which were deemed treasonous because they compromised Pakistan’s national security. He was placed under house arrest and prohibited from speaking to the media or engaging in nuclear proliferation-related activities until his death.
Pakistan’s prime minister in the late 1980s and early 1990s was Benazir Bhutto. She was the first Muslim female Prime Minister and one of few worldwide. She was Prime Minister twice: 1988–1990 and 1993–1996. She championed democracy and human rights. She prioritised education and healthcare reforms for women and marginalised populations. She privatised state-owned industries and encouraged foreign investment to boost growth. She actively shaped Pakistan’s foreign policy, improved relations with neighbours, and strengthened international links. She helped overcome gender barriers in politics as a symbol of women’s empowerment. She supported the nuclear programme. But her time to turn zero was fast approaching. She was accused of corruption, financial mismanagement, kickbacks, embezzlement, illegal payments, misuse of power, illicit Swiss bank accounts, and benefiting herself and her followers. She was killed in a Rawalpindi political rally suicide attack on December 27, 2007.
Nawaz Sharif was Pakistan’s prime minister three times: 1990–1993, 1997–1999, and 2013–2017. He brought many reforms for foreign investment to economic growth, he privatised, deregulated, and liberalised the economy. He built Lahore-Islamabad Motorway (M2) and, most importantly, led Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear tests in response to India’s nuclear tests, establishing Pakistan as a nuclear power. He established the Yellow Cab Scheme, loaned small enterprises, and provided economic support to low-income families. During his time as Prime Minister, he launched infrastructure, education, and healthcare projects, pursued trade agreements to increase Pakistan’s trade opportunities and attract foreign investment, and strengthened democratic institutions and processes. He finally turned zero. He was accused of financial mismanagement and promoting a family company at state expense. Accused of money laundering and illegally moving funds abroad, the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and Panama Papers leak defamed him. In the late 1990s, his second term as Prime Minister saw him convicted of contempt. In the Panama Papers case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified him from public office for corruption and undeclared assets. After his government was ousted in a 1999 coup, he was exiled to Saudi Arabia. He returned to Pakistan in 2007 but was again exiled abroad on medical grounds in 2019. He was declared absconder and the most wanted criminal. He was banned from the media and Pakistani politics.
Imran Khan is one of Pakistan’s most famous cricketers and is regarded as one of the finest all-rounders in the sport’s history. From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, he represented Pakistan in international cricket. In 1992, he led Pakistan to its first Cricket World Cup triumph. For his great exploits, he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1983. He founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) in Lahore in 1991, and it is now being built in Peshawar and Karachi. He established a planned educational community in Mianwali, which included Namal University as well as a variety of other educational institutions such as a talented school, a research centre, and a library. He has contributed funds to the construction of schools and hospitals, as well as to people and families in need. His altruism has been recognised by numerous accolades, including the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour. In addition, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He established the Imran Khan Foundation, which provides relief to victims of natural disasters and other emergencies, donates funds to build schools and hospitals in rural Pakistan, provides financial assistance to widows and orphans, and raises awareness about a variety of social issues, including cancer, education, and poverty, that affect the lives of millions of Pakistanis. He founded the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1996, and after winning the general election in July 2018, became Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister. He created the Sehat Sahulat Programme, a universal health insurance scheme, maintained an independent foreign policy and repaired strained civil-military relations. It was finally his turn to become the most wanted criminal. He was accused of accepting money from foreign sources, handling the COVID-19 outbreak, illegally keeping the gifts obtained from other governments and making a classified Cypher public. Around 180 cases have been filed against him on as many different allegations as one can think of, including attempted murder, murder, encouraging violence, terrorism, insurgency, violation of the Secrecy Act, violation of election rules, and conspiracy against the state. The state apparatus, the government, the media, and law enforcement agencies such as the NAB, FIA, FBI, and military intelligence are all on the lookout for him in anticipation of his arrest. Almost all political leaders and spokespersons are using the full force of their arguments, consuming their entire intellect and reasoning power to prove him the most wanted criminal on the face of the earth. They lament the fact that why is he even allowed to breadth. Security has been increased around his house to the point where barbers are not permitted to enter Zaman Park Area. His party is shattered, his wife is appearing in multiple cases, his relatives, close associates, and workers are in jail, and he, like all other heroes, is likely to face the same end result: murder by some fanatic, forced exile, judicial murder, or life imprisonment.
We as a nation lament the fact that we have not been blessed with a genuine leader, but we will not allow the process of developing leadership to continue; we lament that intellectual, educated, and refined people do not enter politics, but when they do, we either drive them out or teach them such a lesson for entering politics that many of their children will not enter politics. We encouraged our women and youth to enter politics, but when they did, we chased them and sent them back to their homes, or subjected them to such ignominious treatment that they and their families would not dare to do the same for the next generation. Heroes are not born every day, but those born in this country are made zero in all known cases.
Heroes represent a nation’s values, ideals, and history, and mistreating them can have serious consequences. Disrespect for military heroes can have major ramifications for armed forces morale and cohesion. Mistreatment of heroes harms a country’s social fabric, political stability, and international status. They are the role models for nations. The tools of disrespect and humiliation, using allegations of treason, corruption, and conspiracy as tools to suppress political opposition or settle political scores, causing irreparable damage to the national psyche. Persecution of heroes can also cause political unrest and instability because fans of these figures may react violently to perceived injustices. When they are charged with crimes, it can weaken public trust in the justice and political institutions. Persecution of heroes may cause some individuals to leave the country, resulting in “brain drain” and talent loss. Such activities can harm a country’s international reputation, potentially leading to penalties or isolation. It polarises society even more and exacerbates existing divisions.
Sadly because of our vested interests, we have become insensitive to any setback, illegal conduct, or violation of constitution or constitutional rights. We have lost sight of the distinction between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, loyalty and disloyalty, and, most all, the distinction between vested interest and national interest. In reality, Pakistan may be the only country where vested interests trump national interests, and as a result, it has sunk to the bottom of all international ratings and rankings.