M Ali Siddiqi describes a strong national sentiment
It is now widely recognized that the presence and essence of pakistaniat as a nation is extremely resilient and it is also accepted that this resilience is strongly supported and underpinned by the overriding sentiment of Pakistaniat that is now palpable in the length and breadth of the country. This sentiment has remained constant throughout the existence of the country and has never wavered in contentment and spirit. This sentiment is not only confined to inside the country but is also strongly and deeply entrenched in large and influential Pakistani Diasporas spread around the globe. The intensity of this feeling could be well gauged by the highly emotional demonstration of support rendered by Pakistani spectators witnessing any sporting event taking place outside Pakistan. It is very encouraging to note that the Pakistaniat is showing strong signs that it is going to stay and will also grow in warmth and affection.
It is now more than clear that Pakistaniat is the underlying determinant of Pakistani polity and the glue that binds it together. The public opinion devices invariably highlight the devotion and pride Pakistanis associate with their homeland and often evince strong emotions about this matter. The most important factor to emerge out of this process is that such attachment and devotion are completely unconditional and voluntary. It strongly points out that the association of Pakistanis with their motherland is selflessly accompanied by a high level of commitment and a will to ensure that the country keeps on progressing on the road to welfare. Though it is quite natural that any drawback faced by Pakistan is deeply resented by the population but any criticism in this context is directed toward the policymakers and has nothing to do with their affection for the country.
The most satisfactory factor in this respect is that the Pakistaniat averages almost 90% which is a very healthy figure keeping in view the indigenous and foreign efforts to put a spanner in Pakistani national harmony. It is not hidden that repeated campaigns were launched to create a dent in the nationalistic spirit of Pakistanis but all such efforts miserably failed. In the final analysis, national cohesion is something that is stronger than mundane considerations of hazards encountered by the nation but such issues certainly do determine the contours of national socio-political culture. On the contrary, such impediments enhance the spirit of national unity and result in strengthening institutional arenas. It is worthwhile to mention here that more often than not the entitlement urges of elite groups have held back the exuberance of warm nationalistic fervor but despite their self-serving policies, Pakistan is a solidly united nation with deep affection for it in the hearts of people.
The Presence And Essence Of Pakistaniat
In actual fact, the joint concerns of Pakistanis have shown a marked tendency to side-track the oddities inherent in the institutional set-up of the state of Pakistan pertaining to the distribution of power within it and instead have leaned towards getting concerned about poverty, corruption, and the power crisis. Though the urban-rural divide is still a factor in describing many chores of national existence, but the fast-reducing specter of this divide portends that national cohesion is not greatly affected by it. This is an extremely encouraging fact around which the entire fabric of Pakistaniat revolves and gets soundly based on permanent grounds that are potent enough to overcome the vicissitudes of time with renewed and vigorous national unity. Pakistanis are acutely aware that Pakistaniat is the ultimate manifestation of national cohesion ensuring proceeding ahead with national goals.
The Presence And Essence Of Pakistaniat are also strengthened by the solidifying age patterns of second-generation Pakistanis who have never been exposed to any other territorial variation than Pakistan. The Pakistaniat of this generation is undiluted and intensely sincere. Although a good deal of this generation went to foreign countries for their personal development the majority living in Pakistan are now quite comfortable with their lot. This generation is transferring their Pakistaniat to the younger generation which appears to be fast synchronizing with it. This generational shift augurs very well for national development along with the constant revival of Pakistaniat at every level. It is widely known that in terms of demographics Pakistan is a young country and it needs the active cooperation of its younger generation that would add tremendous vitality to the national cause.
Pakistaniat has also overridden the considerations of class and status and it is a remarkable aspect of this sentiment. Pakistanis are deeply attached to their homeland irrespective of what their lot in life is as they consider the interests of their country as vastly superior to any other personal or communal consideration. Whatever social environments they belong to Pakistanis are acutely conscious of their collective destinies and are willing to work together for the betterment of the country. Pakistaniat is an all-encompassing sentiment that is proving a very powerful rallying point for the people of Pakistan. The general attitudes towards Pakistaniat are effectively cutting across the locale and lifestyle and have proved to be blessed with imperative tenets of sustenance. It is expected that national imperatives will remain dominant in the future and would not let regional issues overshadow them. By the looks of it, the regional matrix has lost its edge after the resurgence of strong Pakistaniat as it was the logical outcome of the collective national existence.
It must however be considered that the process of Pakistaniat has suffered at the hands of the parochial sentiments provoked by political factors of smaller provinces that felt alienation from the corridors of power as a strong centralized state center gained ground. These political factions failed to realize that Pakistan was created without a viable center that was considered the sine qua non of a nation-state. It is also not taken into account that the Bengali regional sentiment was vituperative and it continuously created fissures among the smaller provinces of the western wing till it separated in 1971 with its separation the physical homogeneity of the country has ensured the mainstreaming of the national sentiment.
Victory Of Pakistaniat
In this context, it is the victory of Pakistaniat that the gradual sharing of power at the federal level has proved greatly helpful in slowly but surely diminishing the feeling of isolation of smaller provinces from national affairs. As a consequence regional feelings declined as the smaller units of the federation started getting an increasing role in the mainstream. It was acknowledged otherwise that fringe factions in provinces were instrumental in fanning parochial tendencies but owing to providing more opportunities to the people of small provinces in the political and administrative structure soon gave them a sense of identity in Pakistan.
Though Balochistan is still considered a backwater in the national scheme of things the federation is greatly devoting its attention to Pakistan’s largest province and things are gradually normalizing. In this context, it must be kept in view that while Pakistaniat gained ground but the democratic nuances of governance do not mean the same thing for people of smaller provinces as they visualize their future quite differently from each other and there is nothing wrong about this fact. In its ultimate analysis, Pakistaniat is the panacea needed for keeping Pakistan on the path of progress. The Weekender