Betting On Pakistan

Betting On Pakistan
Where are we headed? First, let’s consider how we got here. Pakistan is no stranger to uncertainty. It’s as if the only certainty we possess is the guarantee of uncertainty. It seems fair to suggest that the dynamics in Pakistan resemble that of a Roulette wheel.

Exciting, alluring, profitable for some, disappointing for most, uncertain for all! Unfortunately, that sums up the state of affairs. Back to the question: How did we get here? Force of habit? Perhaps. Brace yourselves, time for history.

On 15 June 1943, the then Prime Minister of Britain Winston Churchill offered Lord Wavell the position of Viceroy of India. Wavell accepted. Talks of partition had begun, Congress and the Muslim League had crowd pullers such as Nehru and Jinnah, who were able to plant the seed.

The idea of Pakistan and India appeared to be a reality for their supporters. On the face of it, this was meant to provide a sense of relief, the idea of freedom for both communities. However, it antagonised them. Communal violence, unprecedented in nature and scope, was the only apparent result. Partition or no partition, this was certainly a reality.

In 1944, the newly appointed Viceroy of India, Lord Wavell had certain reservations regarding Pakistan. Stanley Wolpert in his book Jinnah of Pakistan offers an account of one of the occasions when Lord Wavell expressed his concerns. In mid-December 1944, Wavell said:

I do not believe that Pakistan will work. It creates new minority problems quite as bad as those we have now, and the Pakistan State or States would be economically unsound.”

It seems like Lord Wavell was ahead of his time. Quite an accurate prediction. After talks between the League, Congress and the British referees had once again failed, the Quaid-e-Azam and his working committee came up with a solution. A “universal Muslim hartal” on Friday, 16 August 1946. Jinnah called this day “Direct Action Day.” Unfortunately, history gave this day another name, based on the reality of the day, the result: the Great Calcutta Killing.

Only if our Quaid had known, only if anyone had known. The battleground, Calcutta. The result: 4,000 dead in 4 days (reportedly). This tragic day shook India and those who were at the time attempting to decide its fate.

Amongst others, it was clear that religion was one of the most important factors that made partition necessary. Amongst all uncertainties, one thing was certain: religious intolerance had gotten out of hand. India had succumbed to communal violence. Despite the uncertainties Pakistan would face and those promulgating its creation knew it would face, it had to be done.

And thus, it was. 14 August 1947. I urge you to read between the lines. Our nation's foundation was laid at an uncertain time. Pakistan was created because it was necessary, not because a certain future was guaranteed. We had to make that future. We had to make Pakistan. But did we? Force of habit: created due to uncertainty and hostility, caried on with uncertainty and hostility.

But not all is lost. We must be optimistic, and we must work hard. We don’t need a “Naya Pakistan” or a “Purana Pakistan.” As the dealer would say, “that’s all now.” It’s time to break the curse, it’s time to own Pakistan, truly take ownership for ourselves and our beautiful country. The uncertainty stops with us, the people. Pakistan, with all its might and potential, is yet to be born, yet to make its mark on the world. Therefore, “Naya” or “Purana” becomes irrelevant. Let’s just try and make Pakistan, for what it was meant to be and for what it can be.

Back to the question then: where are we headed? The answer: wherever we choose to take our nation – it’s up to the people. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets please. Time to bet on ourselves instead of on others.