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Who Made the Nation Hold the Begging Bowl?

The sphere of scholars revolves around knowledge and its propagation. Thus, scholars look good while talking about knowledge. If scholars start talking about trading instead of knowledge, they would lose all their awe and gravitas. The work of poets is to express the meaningfulness of life and its beauty. Thus, a poet looks good while singing songs of love. If poets start composing verses about the ups and downs of the stock market, it would dissipate all their ‘poeticism’. The job of generals is to defend the country and nation and to challenge the enemy head-on. Thus, generals look good while talking about war and peace. But unfortunately, the case of Pakistani generals is the opposite. The common perception is that PTI is the biggest party of the country and Jamaat-e-Islami is the most organized party. But this is not true. Our generals have made the army the biggest and most organized party of the country. The state of our own generals is such that despite being generals they speak like politicians. A recent proof of this is General Asim Munir’s recent address.

According to this address, General Asim Munir said that all Pakistanis will have to collectively get rid of the beggar’s begging bowl. No power in the world can stop us from progressing. An agricultural revolution will come to Pakistan. While addressing the inauguration ceremony of Khanewal Model Agriculture Farm, General Asim Munir said that the Pakistan army takes pride in serving the nation. Army is from the people and people are from the nation. We have decided Pakistan will be taken out of the current crisis. Pakistanis are a self-respecting and competent nation. He said Allah has blessed Pakistan with all blessings. No power in the world can stop us from progressing. He said the state is like a mother, and the relationship between the people and the state is of love and respect. The army chief also recited a couplet by Allama Iqbal on the occasion. Which was:

افراد کے ہاتھوں میں ہے اقوام کی تقدیر
ہر فرد ہے ملت کے مقدر کا ستارہ

(The fate of nations lies in the hands of individuals

Every individual is the guiding star of the nation)

Looked at from any angle, this is not a general’s speech. This is a politician’s speech. Only politicians give false hopes to the nation for money and votes. Politicians try to mesmerize the nation with their rhetoric. They build castles in the air. Talk of breaking the begging bowl the nation holds is quite impressive, but the first question in this regard is who made the nation hold the begging bowl in the first place?

A study of Pakistan’s history shows it was General Ayub who first sought a loan from the World Bank. Be it the World Bank or the IMF, these have been tools of Western imperialism from day one. With these tools, the US and Europe have turned developing nations into their economic slaves. Currently, over 70 countries in the world are indebted to the IMF. Unfortunately, not a single one of these countries has a stable economy. This is because the World Bank or IMF do not give loans to weak nations to make them economically strong and self-sufficient. Rather, through loans they turn weak nations into their slaves. Unfortunately, be it General Ayub, General Zia-ul-Haq, General Pervez Musharraf, or the politicians created by the generals like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, or Shahbaz Sharif, none while ensnaring the nation in the addiction of loans, ever thought about the consequences of this addiction.

In the 1960s, Pakistan’s external debt was less than 1 billion dollars. Today it has crossed 100 billion dollars. Our condition is that now we have to take new loans from the IMF just to pay off old loans. Our national budget is 7 thousand billion rupees out of which 3 thousand billion are spent on loan repayment and interest. Upon observation, it can be said that responsible for this whole situation are the generals, because Pakistan has been run by generals themselves or their created politicians since 1958. So it was General Asim Munir’s moral responsibility that along with promising and claiming to break the begging bowl, he should have told who made the nation a beggar and who forced it to hold the begging bowl. General Asim Munir wants to break the begging bowl, nothing could be better than that, but it would have been great if along with that he also told us how to break it.

It is no secret that without an extraordinary increase in the collective income of the nation, we cannot break the begging bowl, and an extraordinary increase in income is not possible without bringing about industrial and agricultural revolutions in the country. For that, the country will have to be made a center of knowledge. For that, an educational revolution will have to be brought about in the country. In this context, the nation is asking General Asim Munir if he has any plan to bring about industrial and agricultural revolutions and to make the country at par with an educational revolution. If such a plan exists then it should be presented, otherwise, the politician-like rhetoric should stop. The history of the country shows that General Ayub ruled the country for 10 years, and General Zia remained in power for 11 years. General Yahya was in power for 3 years. General Pervez also remained the master of the nation’s fate for a decade. If there was any “revolutionary spirit” in the generals and the army it would have manifested in such a long period. But the reigns of the four generals gave nothing to the country and nation. What they gave was the bitter experience of military dictatorship.

In the history of the world, even dictatorships have shown great accomplishments. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore was a dictator but he transformed a small underdeveloped country into a developed nation. Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia was also a quasi-dictator but he made Malaysia into a major economic power. China has been a dictatorial state since the revolution. But in just 40 years the Chinese dictators have made China the second-largest economy in the world. In 40 years, China rescued 700 million people from the clutches of poverty. But Pakistan’s four big dictators and their created politicians gave nothing to the country and nation.

Pakistan’s population is 23 crore out of which 10 crore are living below the poverty line. 70% of the country’s population does not have access to clean drinking water. Even after 75 years of independence, 50% of the country’s population is still illiterate. 70% of the country’s population cannot afford quality medical treatment when they fall ill. 2.5 crore children in the country are out of school. More than 30% of children in the country suffer from malnutrition. Karachi is the country’s largest, most modern, and bread earner city. Its condition is that half its population faces water scarcity. The city lacks transport facilities, its roads are broken. The whole city presents the look of a very big garbage dump, but General Asim Munir is giving the impression that under his leadership the nation is just about to break the begging bowl.

General Asim Munir is absolutely right about the state being like a mother, but unfortunately, the state created by our generals is never like a mother. We remember well the 1971 crisis. In the 1970 elections, the Awami League had won a majority. As a mother-like state, its duty was to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib and to accept Awami League’s majority, but instead of doing that General Yahya unleashed a military operation on East Pakistan. At the start of this operation, General Niazi said that we will rape Bengali women on such a large scale that their lineage will change. Does any mother threaten her children like that? Pakistan’s democracy is fake. Can any mother-like state gift fake democracy to her children? Currently, hundreds of people are missing in Pakistan. Does a state like a mother make its citizens disappear? The generals have given the nation politicians like Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, and Altaf Hussain. Can any mother-like state impose criminals on her children?

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