Helter-Skelter

Governance must be different

In Chicago, youngsters hung around after the weekend Quran class. The chat turned to boasting. One said his grandfather was a justice; the other said he was a retired Air Marshal, and the third bragged about his ancestral house being statelier than the Presidential palace. The fourth one quietly murmured, “I am the grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).” A pin-drop silence followed as everyone knew that he was a Sayyed. A highly regarded Sayyed scholar addressed the same class the next day. He said being a Sayyed is a privilege but no superiority. Righteousness is the criterion for superiority, not the bloodline.

I thought about the Sayyeds shaking hands with the devil. This Faustian knot is not an individual act but denigrates the entire noble lineage. The least that these culprits could do was drop Sayyed from their names. With due apologies to some close friends, many Naqvis must be made to do that. Najafi is a self-assumed title. The judge, incapable of doing justice, has no right to call himself Najafi, and bring disgrace to the name Najaf.

Once again, the judges have hit the media headlines. The six gladiators have mutinied. Their mainstay in the past has been the lawyers’ community, which stands utterly fragmented today. The tsunami that brought down Musharraf is history. The holy Prophet (PBUH) said every nation has a weakness. Money is the weakness of my nation, or words to that effect. A student of history watches aghast at the wonders that money can do to the human conscience in Pakistan.

The judges’ saga has kicked up more dust than expected by the government and its cohorts in the judiciary. Instead, its real potential has been grossly underestimated. If the powers continue to treat this issue with kid gloves, they might burn their fingers. It must be brought to its logical conclusion as soon as possible. The downright stupid political gimmickry that overnight turned a sinking IK into a hero could also make these judges symbolic righteousness in the history of our otherwise suspect judiciary.

Hazrat Ali (RA) was asked why he must eat dry barley bread when there was no ban on normal eating. He agreed but said that he, being the Caliph, should eat only what the poorest in the nation could afford. Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was not at all a poor man. At an advanced age, he used to walk to the office from outside Madina, just as everyone else walked to his workplace, and he could easily afford a horse or a camel.

The most robust human trait is humility. Only the humble, with their persistence and resilience, have the best chance to negotiate the hazardous path to ultimate glory. This is the core message the Prophets and saints left for us.

By all standards, we are one of the poorest nations in the world. Our rulers are used to royal living. Suppose they want to live that lifestyle while in office; some mechanism must be used to counter them. We see billions of our hard-earned money wasted on luxuries the rulers cherish. Millions of rupees are wasted on replacing the tires and upholstery of her car and redesigning the Punjab CM’s office. A new helicopter is required for the same CM queen, while millions cannot afford one square meal a day. We are too poor to support the Sharif and Zardari families’ royalties.  While holding public office, they must live like all of us, bear their own expense, or quit.

All the power brokers remain downright insensitive to public sentiment. For the first time in the judiciary’s history, the Supreme Court chief justice has decided to benefit from the wisdom of a half-witted prime minister in a purely judicial matter. Who to pity and who to praise? The bureaucracy, police, and all else need significant reformation. While a widespread despondence threatens, every night ushers a morning harbouring a new hope.

That invisible hand of nature is uncannily at work. The highlights are being gradually unbarred. His detailed plan might shock the most powerful the most. Remember, the Prophet (PBUH) said that all humans are his family. He loves his family tremendously. We humiliate his family. It means invoking his wrath. Many nations before, much better established than us, perished before they knew what hit them.

General Zia happened to walk into a group of senior retired generals during an Army get-together. One of them was Gen Azam Khan, the famous ex-governor of the erstwhile East Pakistan. In his pretended humility, Zia said he would love to benefit from the seniors’ wisdom. If so, General Azam said, “Just leave and go home.” Who to hand over? Zia asked sheepishly. “The first dog that you came across” was the curt answer. Nothing happened to General Azam. It was not the fashion in those days.

A flourishing social media indicates progress. At the same time, it gives unbridled freedom to the shallow and the sensationalist. Half-truths are dangerous. Inauthentic reporting is misinformation. It is treason, when a narrative cuts across national interests or supports that of the enemy. The enemies rejoice and applaud the upstart, mollified by flattery and undeserved adulations. False propaganda renders even constructive critique skeptical. That is a sheer national loss. For example, genuine intellectual voices like that of Haroon Rashid and Mushahid Hussain get lost in the commotion of the foolhardy. A sombre, well-considered, and well-intentioned opinion is a national asset. It could make a consequential difference in healthy decision-making.

The human body has its fears, a sum of experiences, good or bad, exaggerations, and exasperations. The soul is free and fearless. When the body suffers beyond its patience and pain thresholds, it loses its sense of fright. It becomes indifferent and lost in the limbo, where profit, loss, life, and death become meaningless. This situation constitutes the beginning of the success story of the persecuted and the oppressor’s ultimate failure.

The most robust human trait is humility. Only the humble, with their persistence and resilience, have the best chance to negotiate the hazardous path to ultimate glory. This is the core message the Prophets and saints left for us.

 

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