When I sent a letter to the members of my large email network of Pakistani Australians inviting to a forum that I was organising in April 2010, titled ‘Pakistan Comes First’ – aiming to unite the sectionalised Pakistanis living in Australia – I received unexpected response from some recipients asking me whether I was joining Musharraf’s party. They said that this (Pakistan Comes First) was Musharraf’s slogan. I never thought that my local forum could be linked with Pakistani politics as my focus was to bring the members of the Pakistani community in Australia under one Pakistani identity. However, their response gave me another reason of the need of the revival of nationalism in Pakistanis.
Pakistan was created on the principles of basic civil rights equal for everyone. Therefore, Pakistan was the need of the time for those Muslims as well who were already in majority in the provinces (Sind, Punjab, Ballochistan and Northern Frontier Territories) which came into Pakistan because people (majority Muslims) were also not given their basic rights by their feudal lords and tribal leaders in these provinces. These Muslims-majority provinces (Sind, Punjab, Ballochistan, Northern Frontier territories) of then India were ruled by tyrant feudal, tribal leaders and chaudharys and today, after 60 years, these feudal, tribal leaders and chaudharys are still ruling in Pakistan. The totalitarian system of tribalism could not eliminate after the creation of Pakistan as these feudal lords had already secured their place in the Muslim league as the prime campaigners of Pakistan. Unfortunately, even the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, could not ignore them as they were the guardians of Muslims’ votes in Sind, Punjab, Ballochistan and Northern Frontier territories and Pakistan was the only option for Muslims for the founder, in then political scenario of all India. Life did not permit Mr. Jinnah to break the powerful feudal system of then West Pakistan through land reforms as he died in 1948. Since then these feudal and tribal lords made themselves more and more powerful by capturing the political power of Pakistan by shaking hands with the other two ruling pillars, the army and the establishment, and even with the large industrialists.
These feudal and tribal leaders cum so-called political guru promoted everything in Pakistan except the nationalism. They have corrupted the entire system of Pakistan to secure their power and the country became their chattels. They keep their interest in Pakistan as long as they feel secure from the existence of Pakistan. The tale of creation of Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) proves the level of importance of the integrity of Pakistan versus political power of feudal lords cum politicians.
History shows that the elements of nationalism and love to the country and its solidarity has never been so important among these ruling powers compare to the greed of power they have. Hence, they never promoted patriotism in Pakistani nation and brought national spirit in the ruling system. Today the Pakistani nation is more Sindhi, Ballochi, Pathan, Muhajir, Siraiki, Punjabi and so on but less Pakistani.
Apparently, there is political or democratic system running, today, but in reality it’s a system of corruption that rules the most. On the name of Pakistan, provincialism, tribalism and dynasty-ism are flourishing but no one is taking care of basic needs of the people of Pakistan. And now when the corrupt and incapable rulers of Pakistan brought the country in a situation where people are dying day & night due to lack of basic needs (food, water, electricity etc), jobs, law & order and security of lives, the anti-Pakistan elements are trying to justify that the decision of creating Pakistan was basically the conspiracy of dividing Muslims of the subcontinent.
If we talk about Pakistanis living abroad, regrettably the people are found infected by the same politics of provincialism, tribalism and dynasty-ism of Pakistan. Though people have spent most of the part of their life in developed countries and civilised countries but they could not learn from others. They are found divided on the basis of language, province or event cities or family identities. When they meet each other first time, the first thing they want to know is that whether the other person also belongs to the same province or speaks the same language or even likes the same political party or leader of Pakistan. If these Pakistani immigrants cannot identify themselves as Pakistani how their children can carry their Pakistani dependency.
I had the opportunity to travel and stay in Middle East, Europe, USA and now living in Australia for the last 20 years. I found when Pakistanis get together and form community organisations they prefer to choose people from their own province or language and then they promote their own vested agenda rather than promoting Pakistan. In many countries including Australia, Pakistanis have founded organisations representing the political parties of Pakistan like PPP, PML, ANP or MQM. One can not see any benefit of these organisations except to promote the agenda of their political parties and leaders rather promoting Pakistan.
Being a Pakistani native it is very important to understand that if anything that can keep us (overseas Pakistanis) and our children close to our religion, culture and social values is our common identity as Pakistani.
I would like to give here example of Australia. Australia is a mixture of people from different ethnic people, cultures and faiths. Like other people, the roots of Pakistani Australians go back to the same era when European settlers came to Australia under British Raj. A significant number of cameleers, labourers and hawkers were from that part of the sub-continent that later became Pakistan by the British rulers.
The historical links between Australia and Pakistan go back to the 19th century when the British Empire ruled both the subcontinent and Australia. When the British rulers began building the infrastructure to open up the interior of Australia they looked for labourers from the Indian subcontinent. Most of the cameleers (camel drivers) and farmers brought to Australia in the mid 19th century from Sind, Punjab, Ballochistan and Northern Frontier areas. Those migrants were the pioneers in the development of the Australian infrastructure. The construction of roads, tunnels, bridges, towns, mines, railways, fences and pastoral properties was successful largely at that time because of their contributions. They discovered new routes across Australia. They were instrumental in laying the Overland Telegraphic Line that linked Australia with the outside world.
Unfortunately, today, no one knows how and where the next generations of those early immigrants are. Their next generation mix with others and lost their language, culture and even religion. People lost their roots, heritage, faith and culture when their elder did not deliver their heritage to the younger. Their stories of truth became the tales of imagination.
In the past 20 years or so, significant families and bachelors migrated to Australia from different parts of Pakistan. The young children of those Pakistani families who migrated to Australia during 1980s and 1990s are now become adult, similarly, the bachelors migrated in the last 20 years are now married and have young families. For these children and youth it is highly important to remember their roots as Pakistanis in order to keep the heritage of their parents. Though there are Pakistani Community groups and associations who claim to represent Pakistanis yet they are unable to create a unified identity as one Pakistanis.
No doubt, Pakistanis move to developed countries for better life and most of them achieve their goals nevertheless they can only make them alive even after life when they transfer their culture, traditions, language and other attributes of heritage to their next generations. This can only be possible when the seniors should educate juniors about their roots and educate others that when the left their homeland they had one common document among everyone and that was a Pakistani Passport (not Sindhi, Muhajir, Punjabi, Ballochi or Pathan), therefore, ‘Pakistan Comes First’.