‘Decolonise now’

June 15, 2019


THIS is with reference to the article ‘Decolonise now’ (May 31) and subsequent letters. Personally I believe the farther we move from our British legacy the more we do harm to ourselves. Look how things worked smoothly during the first decade of Pakistan’s existence when British trained bureaucrats and British era politicians ran the country.

There was no room in the colonial political system for semi-literates to become lawmakers simply because they owned feudal empires. All British-era politicians were highly educated and sophisticated people.

To name only a few: Khawja Nazimuddin, H.S. Suhrwardy, Sir Feroze Khan Noon, Mumtaz Daultana, Mohammad Ayub Khuhro, Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, Iskander Mirza not to mention Liaquat Ali Khan. M. A. Jinnah was in a class by himself.

They might have made political mistakes (Mirza imposed martial law), but they were excellent rules. Above all they were decent people. Governments changed, and often there was political instability, but the outgoing prime minister wasn’t handcuffed or murdered and his family hounded. The opposition and the treaty were friendly, political differences notwithstanding.

Our armed forces follow British tradition and it goes without saying they are among the best in the world. The astonishing number of trained scientific manpower Pakistan possesses is because English has been one of our assets. Nations which didn’t have English in schools — like China, Japan and many Middle Eastern countries are now trying to lerp English.

Britain’s greatest legacy was parliamentary democracy, and we ditched it. On the other hand, India stuck to it and has gained immensely in terms of political stability. In our case there is after every 11 years a saviour. All he does it to destroy the previous system; it is followed — after dubious accountability — by elections. Eleven years later another saviour emerges and he destroys the previous system. So this joke goes on.

Parliamentary system in India doesn’t mean that poverty has ended or corruption is no more. These evils are there and it will take centuries for society to reform. But they have one advantage — the continuation of parliamentary system has given them political instability. We are floundering.

Political instability invariably affects economy- and I need not say anything more.

So let have more of things British, not just cricket.

Jameel Ahmad Khan


Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2019