76 Years after Partition and Independence, Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world, with nuclear weapons and a large military, but it has dubious distinction of being viewed as a state that supports jihadis and most of whose population cannot read or write.
In an editorial, Dawn, the newspaper supported by Quad-e-Azam Jinnah, asks the question “The founding fathers imagined an egalitarian, prosperous welfare state; one that thrived in harmony and justice with absolute civil supremacy. But decades after them, what emerged is entirely divergent from their beliefs. So this day begs the question: is ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’ an ideal fading into a myth?”
The answer, according to Dawn, “Our wounds and dilemmas are largely of our own making. For one, we reconstructed Jinnah — from a modernist to an orthodox — to suit prevalent narratives and enhance the power of clerics and the military in forming state policies. Second, the continual infringement of the Constitution has left a faint watermark of what should have been a robust democratic culture. Recurrent military regimes arrested the political process. In fact, these have polluted political outfits that now, more often than not, collude with unelected elements to wrest power. Lastly, the rising tide of extremism turned Pakistan into a militancy hub.”
In conclusion the editorial notes, “there isn’t a magical way out, but stemming cronyism, corruption, and intervention is a good place to start. Salvation lies in retrieving Jinnah’s dream with the rule of law, education, health, welfare, and people power in a meritocracy. For non-political forces to usurp or derail the Constitution and cave into religious hardliners violates every ideal close to the Quaid’s heart.”