Bankruptcy of Leadership | Pakistan Today

Bankruptcy of Leadership

  • Why the Muslims have declined

Is there anything wrong with human beings? If so, what is? With the expanse of knowledge growing by the nanosecond, the regrettable progressive decline of human behaviour and response, is increasing with even greater speed. Human history is essentially a record of faults and follies. The brief interregnum of peace and growth is more an aberration than a consistent pattern.

Humanity is at the mercy of Nature, and hence is expected to be modest, in thought and action. Scientific and technological advancements have given mankind the tools to cool the Sahara deserts and warm the Arctic icecaps. But this ability perhaps should have led to more inducement of modesty and not arrogance. A cyclone can bring flooding; an earthquake can decimate skyscrapers and an unseen, invisible virus can claim several hundred thousand lives. Yet, mankind has ceased to be humble, conveniently forgetting its origins, of “From dust, it begins its journey and ends it in dust.”

Islam is the purest of pure religions; its essence is a message of peace and tolerance, towards one and all, regardless of any distinctions of colour, creed, race, nationality or linguistic preference. The practitioners, or ratherthose who claim to be its adherents, are usually referred to Muslims; and together they are called an “Ummah”. The religion believes in universal brotherhood of man. Here, I will relate to “Muslims” and not “Islam”─ the two by centuries of violation of its spirit, are no more synonymous. They are poles apart─ Islam is pure; Muslims are not. At least, generally speaking.

If there is something wrong with humanity; then obviously Muslims, most of whom claim to be humans too, also have something wrong with them. What is wrong with Muslims? What is wrong with the “Ummah”? There is much wrong with Muslims and Muslim leadership today, than ever before. Let me explain.

At some rare points in history, Muslims represented and were catalysts when it came to issues relating to character, literature, science and modesty; art and architecture and above all in the development and practice of a high moral code, with strong accompaniment of a deep sense of justice and ethics.

Muslim countries, including us, are weak because of lack of faith and of economic strength. Muslim’s leadership had faith and economic wellbeing as its main constituents and that led them to the gates of Vienna

Without dwelling upon the table of character elements; as pronounced by Aeril and Will Durant, it suffices to quote them, “Society is founded not on the ideals but on nature of man…..” We just have to compare the White House of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy with the current occupant; or the Downing Street of Churchill, Harold Macmillian, Harold Wilson and Margret Thatcher with the present tenant to discover the decline and decay, in the world of politics.

Moral Codes of the Muslim Ummah have undergone radical changes, the unthinkable has become the norm and the unacceptable has been christened and baptized, more for expediency, than actual need. We seem to have in the last three decades, more so, than ever before lost economic footing and moral stability. A glance over 55 or so Muslims nations states gives a clear picture of the horrifying consequences of political machinations and diabolical intrigues of self- preservation, in the form of civil strife, poverty, homeless and shelter-less, downtrodden multitudes, who live in close embrace of general unhappiness. This leisurely decay of Muslim societies and particularl of our own Pakistan, is not a discovery of now; it is being enacted in full public view, by all successive governments. This transition of Pakistan of the 1960s to the current mire of quicksand of corruption has been of delight to the “few” who have greased themselves quite liberally, with blatant disregard to even basic standards of morality and financial propriety.
Many societies have sought the aid of religion to discipline. We have the advantage of calling ourselves Muslims, yet we remain chaotic, unruly and hence unblessed. On the self-proclaimed piety of the many, from the ordinary to the famous; from the poor to the filthiest rich and from manipulative politicians to the innocent voters; my reaction is to quote Joseph de Maistre, “ I do not know what the heart of a rascal may be; but I know what is in the heart of an honest man; it is horrible”.

Society and social decay litters human history. All growth follows with decline and vice-versa. But that’s to put a large stake in the future.

If we were told by the Noble Prophet(PBUH) to learn from China 1400 years back, let’s start to do it now at least. As the Italians say, “Never too late”. Like China, we must first and foremost concentrate on the economy and become fully self-sufficient in all aspects. Internal stability and power will make available external strength, acceptability and respect.

At least two, if not three, generations of Mainland Chinese gave personal sacrifice─ they lived in abject poverty while they enriched the country. Today’s China is a tribute to the generations of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. For us to be a nation to be counted amongst economically rich countries, we will have to embrace the concept of “sacrifice”.

Sacrifice must come from top; the fish rots from the head and the ice melts from the top. It was pure amusement to learn that a mere sum of Rs 360 million was spent on PM’s House ─ with this attitude, how can we ever become or even aim to be like the state of Medina?

The pathetic attitude of the global Muslim community towards the continued persecution of Palestinian and Kashmiris is abhorrent, to say the least. If we raise the issue of genocide of Kashmiris, accompanied by the hollowness caused by internal strife that gnaws at our roots, what reaction can we expect from humanity at large; Imran Khan gave a soul-stirring speech at the UN last year, which the world community heard and quite rightly forgot, because we have no wherewithal to back our words with any suitable, tangible, punitive action. So, India rules the roost with impunity, largely due to lack of unity and cohesion in the Muslim world. It gives two hoots for world, or more appropriately tly Muslim nations’, opinion; which unfortunately are also actively engaged in trading sovereignty of thought by compromising on age-old held principles of seeking justice against tyranny.

A friendly Muslim country that has since the 1990s or earlier has maintained direct relations with a common foe of the Muslim world and has very decent bilateral trade running into $3-4 billion; has the impudent audacity to refer to a few brethren Muslims states, who are now engaged in building bridges with the enemy, as a “sellout” of the Palestinian cause. What a travesty of principles of common diplomatic decency!

We talk of building a state, similar to a noble one in history, but cannot imagine even, what the reaction of any of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs would have done, if the heart wrenching incident of the motorway had happened in their time. No brownies for guessing─ strictest punishment, with swift speed, without being enslaved to prosecution, hearings , adjournment: justice would have been delivered. A killer driver is let off the hook, because of “blind justice” that couldn’t find ”compelling evidence”. A clear video wasn’t sufficient.

The premise of this piece is to argue a case for economic development of the Muslim countries for only then will they be counted amongst the comity of respected nations. Focusing on own economic situation, let me examine a single aspect, that of SMEs. The SEZs are dying of neglect. They are just not picking up. Of critical value is the understanding that SMEs can flourish only under a dynamically growing industrial and manufacturing base. The SMEs globally are part of the peripheral industry to the main industries. Do we have a mid-term or long-term industrial policy? Nay! SMEs create a middle class, which in turn has proven in other economies, to be the backbone of economic growth.

Muslim countries, including us, are weak because of lack of faith and of economic strength. Muslim’s leadership had faith and economic wellbeing as its main constituents and that led them to the gates of Vienna.

Political will has to be first cleansed of its filth, only then can we march forward towards building our dream country.


  1. Blanka said:

    Come out of speech frenzy. Bhutto also bar-ked pretty good at UN. We evaluate others based on actions!

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