The Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, issued a warning against the colonial mentality that was still present in the majority of the institutions we inherited at the time of Partition in August 1947. “Don’t forget that the military forces are the people’s servants,” he urged the commanders in 1948 when speaking to them at the Staff College in Quetta. You do not determine national policy; rather, we civilians make these decisions, and it is your responsibility to carry out the responsibilities that have been assigned to you. “You do not belong to the governing class; you belong to the servants,” he told the gazetted officials. Maintain the greatest standards of honour, honesty, fairness, and fair play while giving the populace the impression that you are their servants and friends. “I would like you to read the Constitution, which is in effect in Pakistan at the present, and comprehend its genuine constitutional and legal consequences when you swear that you will be faithful to the Constitution,” he remarked, about the oath taken by the officials.
The important phrases are “servant” and “faithful to the Constitution.” Regarding these two points, underlined by the Father of the Nation, both active-duty and retired bureaucrats and members of the military services agreed with the idea, although neither was familiar with the constitution nor thought of as the people’s servants. The discussion on a new constitution is still going on in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which may be the only nation in the world to have had to draught four constitutions (1956, 1962, 1972, and 1973). After 75 years of independence, the republic continues to be in a constitutional crisis, mostly because no one in positions of power wants to uphold it and abide by its established limitations. The first “Desi Sipah-e-Salar,” Ayub Khan, was the one to cross it. Iskander Mirza assisted his friend in becoming the Commander in Chief despite receiving multiple unfavourable performance reviews while serving as Secretary of Defense. The renowned Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK is where Khan and Mirza both received their degrees. Khan chose to remain in uniform despite having an extremely subpar service history, but Mirza chose the civil service. He was an important player in getting his friend back from the tribal warriors because of his work as a political agent during the “Raj” era.
Together, they began to assume more and more authority to reinforce the colonial mentality. After upsetting the democratic system, Mirza imposed Martial Law in October 1958, nullifying the 1956 Constitution and starting the process of dissolving Jinnah’s Pakistan. With complete control over the situation, Khan ousted his buddy and proclaimed himself president, sending Mirza into exile where he died as a common citizen and was buried in Tehran due to his marriage connections.
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During the first usurper’s administration (from October 1958 to March 1969), expressions like “bloody citizens” were first used. The colonial institutions obstructed any reform initiatives ( army, bureaucracy, judiciary). There were haves and have-nots in the country. Wealth was consolidated into a small number of hands and corrupted. In the 1970s, the first free and fair elections turned out to be a complete failure. What was left of Pakistan was given to the most well-liked Western Wing commander as Bangladesh appeared on the global map. As the Chief Martial Law Administrator, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) assumed command ( CMLA ). With the assistance of his talented team, ZAB first passed the Interim Constitution in 1972 and then the Permanent Constitution in 1973, which has served as the saviour and guardian of the democratic system. As intended by the Father of the Nation, a constitution is an agreement between the rulers and the ruled that must be upheld in form and spirit, but regrettably, it is usually disregarded by the wealthy and powerful.
The Colonial Acts are in force (1923 Official Secrets, 1935 Government of India). The term “Job Description” (JD) refers to a notion in contemporary management that describes the duties to be carried out with restrictions on power. Evaluations of performance are made about how well-assigned tasks were completed. The constitution offers a comparable set of instructions. In 2017, the Right to Information Act took the place of the Official Secrets Act of 1923. The bureaucracy can no longer hide behind the documents and data they control. Transparency wins out against secrecy and nefariousness.
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Even though the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been a constitutional democracy since August 14th, 1973, the general populace continues to face harsh realities. There is no sign of the “Servants” or the “Constitution.” There is widespread bureaucratic abuse and flagrant disregard for the constitutional rules governing citizens’ fundamental rights. The higher courts are closed for months over the summer holiday so that the lordships can take advantage of their time off, even though the judiciary has a tremendous backlog of cases. The “Kingdom” was where people lived while the Raj was in power; today, they travel there from their homes. Vacations should be deferred at least until all of the outstanding cases are resolved; after all, “justice delayed is justice denied.”
No nation can endure or advance if the governmental infrastructure is dysfunctional, the legal system is clogged, the constitution is ignored, and a colonial mentality prevails. Quaid said, “No power on earth can destroy Pakistan.” Yes, there is no external force, but there is an internal opponent. He may have believed that Pakistanis would rise to the occasion and defend their independence, but he also miscalculated the corrupting forces at work within the system, which have grown more nasty and imperialist with time. Imran Khan refers to them as a “mafia” that now rules the majority of institutions. I keep hearing Quaid say, “We civilians who determine these matters.” The decision-makers of today are where?