Two Steps Back & One Step Forward


By Asif Jamal

AJ-Pic_1The tumultuous political clouds have always hovered upon Pakistan but the best thing is, the circumstances may look gloomy, the conditions may be uncertain, infrastructure may be downtrodden albeit no matter how the situation is, the nation is always ready for a better tomorrow and the inhabitants have always been in search of a sincere leader who is strong enough to only think of people and state.  The true leaders have formed the country back in forty-seven, but unfortunately, till to date the country is functioning on the basis of trials and errors and experiments.

It may be easy to just pinpoint all the leaderships who have assumed power in the country so far about anything and everything and hold responsible for bad governance but leaders are not alone, they are from this land too, they are elected, selected and brought into power by the people of the same land.  In case of non-democratic setup, still the nation is equally responsible to allow the country to reach a point where uniform authorities had to intervene to restore peace on the streets and take control the helm of affairs for smooth sailing.

Often I ponder about the words such as aggression and frustration in terms of people of Pakistan but I also understand that being a nation, rather a sensitive nation, they are the first one to get directly affected for anything but nothing justifies destroying and damaging, out aggression and frustration, one’s own infrastructure that is going to affect no one’s but their own daily lives.   Looks like what lacks here is the tolerance and tolerance comes with awareness and that comes with education.

Any political leader can call for a strike, long march or sit–in etc, but that announcement or observance doesn’t have any stone-pelting message or start a rampage on the streets revelation but ever wonder why any such event is nothing but a catastrophic day?  There may be political interest group loitering around on the streets to ensure the success of such observance but there are ways to control situation going from bad to worst.  In case of any hoodlum incidents during that time, have you ever thought why they occur in certain areas only?  Well, the response to it is very simple, it’s the people who are directly responsible of creating chaos and taking advantage of the situation in certain areas and those are the areas where less privileged community is largely reside.  They are the first one to come out on the road and the first thing they do it put a road block and smoke the tire, to in fact, enjoy the day.  Ironically, often, they don’t even understand the reason about the observance and this is happening perhaps, due to ignorance that means utmost need of the time for the nation is “Education”.

Back in the days during the independence movement in India, the leadership and those conscientious activists of the time, they all heavily emphasized that a nation cannot compete and come up to the mark until they don’t focus on education.  Nonetheless, people took a while to understand why they really had to start going to colleges but they eventually realized that awareness ultimately brought fruits and quick India movement started and Britons had to leave.  That was the power of education but what is the reason why people in Pakistan don’t realize how important the education is?  This is the high time as it has started to affect the daily life, the ignorance factor is now taking a toll and that is keeping the nation off the road of progress rather constantly pushing towards the darkness.

The literacy rate in Pakistan is e said to be 33% and this has been the number since over two decades.   I am not too sure how this number was calculated then, perhaps, this adds up those as well who are just able to read and write their names.  This is very tragic for a nation to be steady on low literacy rate.   It is peoples’ responsibility to go to school no matter what – regardless of poor economic condition in the house or whatsoever, education is a must. 

Apparently, government has established many programs to benefit the needy at a grass-root level besides of course, a number of non-governmental organizations are also working within the homeland to eradicate illiteracy but why are they so in effective, what’s actually lacking?

Following the format of this article, I brought in two outstanding individuals to present their viewpoints on the subject, let’s hear them:

Mike Hasnain, a leading businessman from Maryland, while commenting on the ineffectiveness of education system, says: “Indeed, there are many programs exist in the country but the government is not serious in educating the lower class.  The international money in terms of aid coming into these programs is not being completely used for this cause, but may be for some personal gains as well.  The biggest problem is corruption within the system and within the programs.  Another setback in the system is feudalism where the lords of the society prevent education from their people.  They want their community to stay illiterate so they remain submissive and obey them blindly. Most leaders In Pakistan themselves do not have higher degrees which is why they do not understand the value of education.  At the same time, most of the organization are working for their own benefits and portraying to the media as if they are working for the welfare of the country.  We need honest leaders and transparent altruistic organizations to bring positive change.”

Regarding disturbances during strikes, Mike mentions:  “In the past many sit-ins, strikes and marches have taken place however they brought no positive results mainly because the power is divided between leaders and agencies.  Instead of finding solutions to the problems, the fashion is to prolong the issues so they may lose their viability by themselves.”  “Certainly, the leaders don’t vouch for creating street scare but this is the part of the game and any of such call is bound to be nothing but catastrophic and there is only one way to avoid it – don’t test the people,” he concluded.

Rukhshinda Hameedi, a physician by profession based in NY, while elaborating on the subject, comments:  “May be what is lacking in our country is sincerity, it’s all about themselves, lack of being united and all this leads to poverty which means they can do anything for little money and of course that creates chaos and ineffectiveness of any progressive plan”.

To sum up the, there should be much stress on education in which overwhelming participation is a must.  It must be recognized and understood as a form of learning, transferring the good traits such as knowledge and skills from one to another generation.  Education is the right; it is made obligatory through the first Protocol to the European Convention of Human Rights, United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Hopefully, soon the masters of our part of the world will make a plan to build the broken nation and lay the strong foundation of education for a bright future until then it will just be the two steps back and one step forward.


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