Pakistan’s leadership vacuum

After almost eight years of military rule, Pakistan faces a myriad of challenges that threaten its very existence. American threats of unilateral action in the tribal area, Indian backed insurrection in Balochistan, a dramatic increase in suicide blasts, and the economy in tatters are some of Pakistan’s woes. But perhaps, the most significant issue is the leadership vacuum that pervades all segments of society. A manifestation of this void is the antics of the current coalition government, which over the past six months has struggled to define its purpose and chalk out a concrete programme to confront these challenge. Politicians are not the only culprits. Military top brass, bureaucratic big-wigs, industrialists and civic leaders are just as guilty. Put it another way, all have either abdicated responsibility or simply buried their heads in the sand. The only thing common amongst the nation’s leaders is the beseechment of foreign powers.

Politicians unashamed of courting American and British officials frequently plan and execute trips to Dubai, London and Washington for even the smallest of issues. A large proportion of them, openly desire servitude to Western powers and shamelessly promote their interests. Then there are the psuedo-Islamist politicians, whose contributions to date include none other than adding corruption to the political landscape, legitimising the abhorrent actions of the rulers and destroying the confidence of the public in political Islam.

The behaviour of the military top brass is equally callous. Both Musharraf and Kiyani like their fraudulent predecessors have moved heaven and earth to secure American interests in Pakistan. The incarceration of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the abandonment of the Kashmiri people, the massacre at Lal Masjid and the slaughter of Muslims in Waziristan, Bajaur and Hangu are some of their noteworthy accomplishments.

The business community and industrialists are not immune from this critique. History bears testimony that they are content to be bedfellows with any government–civilian or military–long as the tax bill is kept to a minimum and they are granted immunity from loan defaults. When the achievements of the business community is measured in terms of transfer of technology and contribution to the nation’s self-sufficiency they score naught. In sum– Pakistan’s leadership since its inception in 1947, has repeatedly failed to emancipate Pakistan from the intellectual, political and economic subjugation of colonialist powers.

The root cause of Pakistan’s leadership predicament can be attributed to a single factor–namely the economic and political system left behind by the British–later modified by the US. This system has meticulously cultivated a plethora of civilian and military leaders who were defeated, corrupt and infatuated with the West. In their eagerness to serve western powers–”western solutions were relentlessly borrowed and applied to all walks of Pakistani life. The cut and paste mentality was bound to fail, as the adopted solutions were disconnected from the problems of Pakistan and opposed to the beliefs and cultural values coveted by the people. Subsequently, Pakistan witnessed years of turmoil and polarization which has reached a tumultuous climax today.

The only salvation for Pakistan is for a new dynamic Islamic leadership to take the reigns of power and reverse Pakistan’s decline. This leadership must be radically different from the past and cannot be an existing player in the nation’s corrupt systems and institutions. It must possess an acute sensation of the problems of Pakistan and an ideological vision that reflects the beliefs and values of the people. It must eschew violence, but be bold enough to lead the masses to a comprehensive revolt against the present secular order and raze all vestiges of western domination. The West has already described this political trend as the movement to re-establish the Caliphate.

The end to the leadership crisis is dependent upon how quickly the people of Pakistan wake up from their slumber and embrace this phenomenon.