Anger and apology
02 October, 2006
By Muhammad Ahsan Yatu
Three of our four leaders are abroad. Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Altaf Hussain are in London. The fourth, Pervaiz Musharraf, spends as much time outside as possible and even more than possible. Some of our good writers are also living outside. Shaheen Sehbhai is one of them. No one wants to return home, no one wants to stay at home. Nation is puzzled. It too wants to go somewhere.
Does it matter if fourteen million souls are going nowhere? An ex-Civil Servant, Roedad Khan, says it matters. Shaheen Sehbhai says what Roedad Khan says will only matter, if he first submits an apology for the jobs, of which he was a part, but is now critical about. Shaheen is so angry that if apology does not come soon, more of "Friday club, nausea" may follow. Is it revenge? It could be so. Not long ago the bureaucrat was deaf, while others were crying. No, it is not revenge. Had it been so, demand for apology would have come much earlier. It is since long, the ex-bureaucrat is in the newspapers. Is it connections? No; though, timing is a point.
It is nothing but frustration. Both, the apology seeker and the ex-bureaucrat are the victims. Thank God they are. They are concerned. It is encouraging. This breed is rare in Pakistan. How, when and why they became concerned, these questions are not that useful in our situation! If we start seeking apologies first, before people speak or write, all that we will read and listen for another sixty years will be the apologies only.
However, apologies as a tool of national reformation are not to be discarded altogether. The speech of the Quaid that he delivered before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 was blocked. The state did it. It should submit an apology. Stopping the speech for a week and then not implementing it started the decline of Pakistan, which is not stopping as yet. Apology must come on one more subject, on the Taliban. If it does not come, decline will take us down to the bed of Arabian Sea, earlier than expected.
In Pakistan no one listens to the ex-bureaucrat. It is not despair or depression or uncertainty; it is not poverty either. To all these diseases we have become immune. It is confusion, the deadly virus that came from America. Should we kill the Taliban or let the Taliban kill others. "Together we did it," our President said it in the joint press conference while pointing towards the president of America. He was referring to the launching of Taliban in Afghanistan in the year1994. Together we let the Taliban kill the others. Foes were the obvious target. They spared none; men, women, doctors, teachers, engineers and whosoever had acquired a bit of worldly wisdom. They did not spare even the statues.
Together we did it. Benazir, Nawaz Sharif, Bill Clinton, Pervaiz Musharraf and Bush, all of them, one way or the other, were on board. We sent the Afghans into the Stone Age, so easily, so silently and so mercilessly. None was ashamed. None was shocked on President's revelation: Neither the power-drunk Americans nor the pampered Pakistanis. Nor the writers and the leaders living outside: Nor the ex-bureaucrats, living inside. Who will apologize? Though needed most, no one can dare to demand apology. The Super powers and super supporters are involved. All that the Afghans are crying about is " Mercy! Please do not do it, again". And all that the Pakistanis are watching is that it is happening again. Who is doing it, now? This is confusion. The Taliban had the roots that have now become a crop; it is an explanation, not entirely unfounded. But, can crops come up, without being watered and cared for?
Ex-civil servant's recent article frustrated this scribe also. He has concluded that Pakistan is floating in a sea of despair, and it is due to leadership vacuum. He has asked Benazir and Nawaz Sharif to return and lead the nation. His conclusion is partly right; his prescription is totally wrong. We have seen enough of leadership. Now, we need a kind of direction that can change us: To find that we need not to go west or east. Quaid's speech of August 11, 1947 is the manual. Whosoever implements it, would be the real leader.