Obama's Great Illusion

Family of the Heart - DIALOGUE & DISCUSSIONS 

Hi Pervaiz,
I am forwarding to you this recent article on "Obama's Great Illusion" by the well known British journalist Yvonne Ridley. It is highly relevant to the current Family of the Heart's debate about Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad: The Man Who Knew the Future of Pakistan Before its Creation.
Among other things, Ridley's engaging article exposes the true nature of the Pakistani ruling elite (an unholy alliance between feudal landlords and a thoroughly corrupt army), which has "succeeded" to reduce Pakistan to a "state for sale"...and not necessarily to the highest bidder, and whose main "achievement" has been to oppress, exploit, and terrorize the very people it is supposed to protect and/or defend.
Tragically, the creation of Pakistan proved to be a great disaster, not only for the people of Pakistan ( who have suffered the most), but also for the entire world of Islam. The Indian Muslims who fought heroically for the liberation of India from British colonialism, were "awarded" with the creation of a state which has been used, from its very conception, to serve the strategic interests of British and American imperialism, and inflamed Hindu bigotry against Islam and Muslims in general, and against Indian Muslims in particular. Indian Muslims were transformed from the "liberators" of India into the "enemy within," and Hindu nationalism has been defined, ever since the creation of Pakistan as a so-called "Muslim state," by the intensity of Hindu hostility towards Islam and Muslims.
Equally important is the fact that, as it stands now, the state of Pakistan has failed in four fundamental areas, namely: (1) failure to maintain its national unity, as manifested in the creation of Bangladesh and the mounting ethnic tensions that challenge the very integrity of the present state of Pakistan; (2) failure to put an end to the feudal system which kept the vast majority of Pakistanis in a state of "bondage" to the dominant "families" whose affinity has always been far stronger towards the former British colonial power and way of life than towards their own people; (3) failure to eliminate illiteracy, more than 50% of Pakistanis are still illiterate after well over 60 years of so-called "national independence, and in spite of the fact that the first revealed word in the Qur'an, Islam's Holy Book, is "IQRA" or READ; and (4) failure to establish a modern, progressive, democratic, and egalitarian state capable of alleviating, indeed eliminating, poverty and living up to its Islamic ideals of social justice, freedom, and self-respect. How could any person be proud of a country in which  the former Mr. Ten Percent (i.e. Asif Zardari) has been elevated to the status of Mr. One Hundred Percent, i.e., the Head of State? Similar to the essentially tribal elite of Saudi Arabia which uses Islam, conveniently, to gain legitimacy, the ruling elite of Pakistan also uses Islam as "a marriage of convenience."
Within this context, it was the brilliant Pakistani economist Ishrat Husain, author of the splendid book Pakistan: The Economy of an Elitist Stat (Oxford University Press, 1999), who proposes that Pakistan has experienced an "elitist growth model," which he identifies as combining a powerful leader or succession of leaders operating without checks and balances, a bureaucratic class that unquestioningly implements the wishes of the leader, and a passive and subservient population. He also argues that "failure of governance and the consistent domination of political power and state apparatus by a narrowly based elite seeking to advance private and family interests to the exclusion of the majority of the population lies at the root of the problem." That was true in the last half of the 20th Century and is still true during the first decade of the 21st Century.
Yvonne Ridley's article, together with the insightful analysis of Ishrat Husain should give food of thought to those who care about the present as well as the future of Pakistan, including members of the Family of the Heart.
Regards & Eid Mubarak,
Ibrahim Hayani
Professor of Economics, Ryerson University

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