A sorry state...
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BY B A B A R A Y A Z | 12/12/2017 12:00:00 AM
`SORRY` is a five-letter word seldom used in Pakistani society. The ability to acknowledge and apologise for having made a mistake is an unpopular virtue, particularly among those in power. Let`s examine a few glaring examples where the mistakes of powerful groups and institutions have cost the nation greatlosses.

The most recent example is the six-point agreement between the government (or, rather, the establishment) and the participants of the Faizabad sit-in. Nowhere in the agreement is there any regret that millions of the twin cities` citizens suffered because of the sit-in. There were also reports that at least two people died because they could not reach hospitals in time. The T LYR leadership may claim that protesting for a holy cause justifies the sacrifices made by citizens. One could accept this argument had the long-suffering citizenry voluntarily chosen to make such sacrifices, rather than under the duress of TLYR danda brigades.

Similarly, no matter how unreasonable the protesters` demands, the government too did not show any remorse for the people`s suffering by delaying their eventual acceptance of the demands. Nor do they seem to have considered the long-term ramifications of the agreement they signed.

Prodded by the establishment, the government`s agreement has set a terrible precedent.

Let`s take another example, where in the Nawaz Sharif disqualification case the honourable court used the dictionary meaning of the word `receivable` instead of the legal definition given in tax laws. When Sharif`s lawyers filed a review petition it was heard by the same judges, which is customary, although it shouldn`t be. The review petition should be heard by another bench because we cannot expect the judges, who are also human beings, to rise above themselves and admit to being wrong in their initial judgement.

Falling prey to populism during the tumultuous tenure of chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the judiciary gave three decisions in commercial cases (Reko Dig, Pakistan Steel Mills and Karkey Karadeniz) that were lauded by the immature media and politicians alike, but at the end of the day are going to cost the nation billions of dollars. But is there any tradition among the honourable members of the judiciary to admit that they may have made a mistake? Now let`s return to political and military decisions, for which the leadership owes an apology for incorrect decisions. Take the decision by the government under Jinnah declaring that Urdu alone would be the national language, which the people of EastPakistan found unacceptable, protested against and even died for. Eventually, the government had to agree to give Bengali national language status. Nobody said sorry, or admitted that the initial decision was wrong.

Nobody apologised for the creation of One Unit, depriving East Bengal of its position as the largest province. Nobody said sorry for abrogating the 1956 constitution, which was created seven years after the nation was founded. Nobody ever apologised for the grand mistake of imposing martial law in 1958, which stunted the democratic process and further alienated the people of East Pakistan.

Nobody ever accepted the blunder of launching a covert operation in Kashmir in 1965 that resulted in full-fledged war between India and Pakistan. With our war resourcesexhausted,Pakistanhadtoaccept the ceasebre after 17 days since, had the war continued for longer, we could have been badly defeated.

Nobody had the moral courage to apolo-gise to the people of Bangladesh for exploiting them like a colony and then launching a military operation against them.

Nobody in the establishment has the grace to accept that getting involved in the SovietAfghan war during Gen Zia`s regime was our greatest blunder.For the last three decades, Pakistan and Afghanistan are bleeding because of Zia`s military adventure. Arms proliferation and the introduction of violence in politics are the ramifications of Zia`s jihad adventure.

Nobody apologised for launching the Kargil adventure, where many of our soldiers were martyred while fighting ostensibly as Kashmiri mujahids. When we started losing the Kargil battle we had to rush to Uncle Sam to ask India to commit to a ceasefire.

I have not even listed here the many adventures of non-state actors, allegedly baclced by our establishment, who sabotage the peace process with India.

The trouble is, because we don`t say sorry and accepts our mistakes, we have not been able to correct ourselves and instead claim that we are the victims of an international conspiracy against us. Our establishment and the majority of the media are suffering from self-righteousness. May God help us! • The writer is a freelance journalist and author.