Now it’s a considered view of mine that it is in making rules, just rules, and following them, and implementing them across the board that humanity’s emancipation lies. And, I think, broadly it is rules which saved the West, including the USA, and made it the West.
Not only is it the state of the rule of lawlessness in Pakistan but the same state prevailing in most of the world that makes one attach so much importance to rules and the institution of the rule of rules.
As Eisenhower once said,“The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.”
[Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969]
Likewise, I have tried to imagine how a world without rules looks like:
A world without rules
There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
[Major General Smedley Butler, War Is a Racket (1935)]
It is rules which distinguish Homo sapiens from Animalia. It is rules which separate a society from a jungle. Also, it is rules absence of which transforms Homo sapiens again into animals and a society into a jungle. That is what is happening around today. In simplified terms, I would love to formulate that Darwin’s theory of evolution may have been one of the greatest discoveries in the realm of biological and social sciences, but were he alive he would have put forward a reverse of his theory today to demonstrate how species may (de-)volve backwards. It would have been named as Darwin’s theory of devolution.
It appears too much of an ordinary thesis which has been used, abused and misused in every nook and cranny of our society, from a street to a scholar’s den, that we have our primeval animals quite alive and kicking in us to this day. No doubt, we are fond of passing this judgment that human beings are no better than animals and that they are still at the raw stage of evolution, i.e. at the stage of animality. Let me clarify I am not indulging in that cynic talk. It doesn’t mean I am an optimist. I am no pessimist either. I am going to argue that if such and such things take place, they will most probably lead to such and such situations.
Here is the gist of the argument: Animals have no rules to follow; they have their nature or their instincts which (mostly) direct their behavior, as we all know. This means they have no rules of their own making. Or if they have such rules, these are simply not comparable with those of human beings’ making. This also entails that it is not rules alone that ensure survival. In that case, the
would have been extinct now. It means that Homo sapiens too and their society also can survive without rules. Of course, we are surviving others who succumb to mass murders, blasts, bombings, suicide attacks, deliberate killings, useless wars, both state and non-state torture and oppression. This brings us back to that stage of evolution where we were no better than our animal brethren, as is said. Perhaps that is what our cynic’s ‘popular’ thesis means. kingdom of Animalia
At that stage, we may have had rules like animals, but we had not started yet discussing and debating those rules. Or it may be that when we got ourselves free from the shackles of our inherent nature (and nature from without also) and our instincts that we decisively separated ourselves from animals. We brought ourselves under the burden of rules of our own making. We ‘subjected’ ourselves to a transformation of our and our culture’s liking with the help of those rules. These rules were not merely rules but rules of just life and just behavior. Thus, it is just rules which dragged us to populate a community of our own far from the jungle of unjust rules. Clearly, if we abandon those rules and practically liken our rules to those of animals, we are doomed – regardless of the wishes of pessimists or optimists. Cynics may enjoy and wager how the game finishes.
How this fits in the present scenario? Especially, in the aftermath of Mumbai carnage, ‘mysterious’ killings in Karachi, and escalating civil war like conditions in various parts of Pakistan?
Actually, all the violence so widespread in our world and notably in
South Asia, in the final analysis, is the result of blatant violation of the rule of right is might, which is also a consequence of the violation of rules of just life and just behavior. When rule of might is right prevails, violence infects everything. In effect, when violence ensues from an authority the sole rationale of which is the use of might, such as military takeovers or unjust civil governments in Pakistan, or other regimes the world over, such an authority will naturally lose its moral, legal, and constitutional grounds. Not only does it sustain on violence and as a result of its acts provokes more and more violence, it also provides other sections of society with an alibi to justify their acts of violence. To dispel the confusion, it may be clarified that violence is the monopoly of an authority which is moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional.
What makes an authority moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional?
John Dewey pointed out: ‘the most pressing problem of humanity is living together,’ and it is to address this problem that every community creates an authority to use violence in the name and for the sake of just rules. Sure, its purpose is not to perpetrate violence, but to protect life and property of every member of that community and their inalienable or fundamental rights and their freedoms. It is to secure these objectives that that authority makes use of violence and of course strictly in accordance with the law of that community. That authority enjoys no discretion. It has to act within the ambit of that community’s law. This is what makes an authority moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional; or vice verse.
Pakistanas a typical example. Its constitution of 1973 ensures its citizens security of their fundamental rights. But the citizens of Pakistan have never been considered citizens with any fundamental rights by any government. In Pakistan, all those organs of the state that derive authority from this constitution have always abused and misused that authority and that constitution also. Since 1973, we have been having immoral, illegal, unlawful, and anti-constitutional or quasi-constitutional or para-constitutional or ultra-constitutional governments which include both military and civil governments, but no strictly moral and constitutional government. This shows how military and political might have been trampling the rule of right is might in Pakistan.
Here right is might may be taken as meaning what is right that be considered prevailing over might. Let me take liberty of ascribing a different, but not entirely different, meaning to the word, right. This changes the whole context of this debate. Our rights i.e. our inalienable and fundamental rights, which are actually our freedoms, ought to be mighty. In other words, might ought to flow from our rights, and back to them. That is what has been the signpost of humanity.
However, let me attach another explanation to it. It is important. When we say that rights are might, we mean to say that no entity, no matter how mighty it is, whether physically or militarily, can usurp our rights. On the other hand, let me add that no entity, no matter how mighty it is democratically, can encroach upon our rights. Thus, even a democratic government elected by an overwhelming majority has no authority to suspend these rights of ours.
Moreover, no entity of people even if it consists of 99 % of its members has any authority to rule 1 % of its no-members in a manner that curtails or suspends or defies their fundamental rights and freedoms. Let me highlight it that power does not belong to people, as Pakistan Peoples Party made us believe. In point of fact, power belongs to their fundamental rights and freedoms. Actually, it is moral might. This accords with the principle of rights are might mentioned above.
Thus a revolt of any entity of people will be moral only and only when it aims at securing them their fundamental rights and freedoms through judicial reforms or change. This should be the sole objective of any revolt or rebellion. To all purposes, it means that it is the might of our fundamental rights that justify violence whether it is resorted to by the state in securing its citizens their fundamental rights and freedoms, or by an entity of people, be it a minority or a majority, when a government completely suspends their rights and that too for an indefinite period and without any moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional justification and validation. But that violence can be justified only and only when it is targeted and is validated by an alternate judicial authority only in order to protect life and property, fundamental rights and freedoms of those people, and that authority derives its justification duly from a just constitution, for example,
Pakistan’s original constitution of 1973. Or in this regard, Magna Carta, American Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and US Bill of Rights are there to seek guidance. All other acts of coercion or oppression and revolt or rebellion whether they ensue from the state or government or any other non-state entities respectively are but authoritarian and fascist in their very nature.
Also, this helps us understand clearly the burning issue of ‘terrorism.’ It has three facets. First, that all the movements which are having recourse to ‘terrorist,’ or violent, acts aim at establishing an authoritarian and fascist rule over a specific geographical area or world over. They have no idea of the principle of rights are might, and no regard either for the fundamental rights and freedoms of individual persons. They just want an ideological regimentation of all and sundry without any exception.
Second, it is misleading to dub them terrorists. They are violating everything that pertains to morality and law. They are not terrorists but criminals of the highest order human history has probably never seen. Their criminality is disproportionate to the higher level of evolution of humanity human beings have attained. Probably they are still at the level of lower consciousness that retards their understanding of life and its blessings. A higher level of consciousness requires us to value our life and our fellow human beings’ lives also; not only life but its blessings too. It requires us to differ, disagree, wrangle, quarrel, fight, battle, and indulge in all such things within the rules of just behavior. It requires us to have regard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of our fellow human beings, for their life and property. However, the war of terror and the war on terror both have relegated all the semblance of any rules of any war in waging war against each. Alas, these criminals have outraged all that is moral and human.
Third, it may be objected that this does not address ‘state terrorism.’ No way! This way of putting things exceptionally deals with the unjust state. Any state or government of a country that does not follow just rules both domestically and internationally, or say, does not follow that country’s laws and constitution is unjust. Sure, their laws and their constitutions are quite unjust if they do not ensure their citizens’ security of their fundamental rights and freedoms, and abuse and misuse their legal and constitutional authority to coerce them and citizens of other countries as well in order to further their own special agendas. In that sense, almost all the states and governments, including
Pakistan, are unjust. There it is not the principle of rights are might that rules; rather it is the principle of might is right that rules with degrees of difference only.
As we see, as we know, and as we believe it is almost everywhere that powerful political, business and military elites, intelligence agencies, and their touts and their clout rule. All that is equally immoral and criminal, because whatever a state or government or its organs or its officials, its sleuths and its functionaries or its elected and appointed representatives do and that violate the just rules and legality and constitutionality of an individual’s fundamental rights and freedoms, and laws and constitution of that country is unjust.
No doubt, it is this immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional behavior of these elites that begets and promotes violence, lawlessness and criminal ideologues and ideologies. No non-state actors anywhere will ever be strong enough to play havoc with the lives of innocent people until and unless they have state actors at their back but only for a short span of time. Red Brigades of Italy, and Japanese Red Army, are good examples; after losing outside support, they died their own deaths. Also, there are such movements which are living in time such as LTTE in
Sri Lanka. How are they able to survive without outside state actors’ help?
Thus terrorism, or as its true form suggests, criminality of the highest order, wherever it exists or whatever its form is, be it on the part of state actors or non-state actors, is an amalgam of criminality and supra-bestiality. Since, it defies just rules of human society, it is criminal; and as it surpasses beasts in their beastliness, it is supra-bestial. Have we heard of any beast that kills other animals without any reason?! These criminals do! Have we heard of any human being using a donkey as a suicide bomber?! These criminals do!
It is more than pathetic! It tells we are half way on the path of
Darwin’s theory of devolution, though we are improving a lot upon the ferocious behavior of the most dangerous beasts. But, is it justified to use the pronoun ‘we’ here? No, absolutely not! Actually, these criminals must be separated from the majority of ‘we’ the people who believe in and follow just rules. This ‘separation’ will achieve two things: on the one hand, it will strengthen us, and on the other, will isolate and thus weaken them.
Also, will this help us wipe out this beastly criminality? Not in the short term. It may be a step leading us to a way out of this quagmire. We have discussed a long term solution kit above. What is the short term solution to this problem of ‘popular’ criminality! It is also stored in that kit.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, we urgently need the following:
First of all, the basic law i.e. the constitution of the country in its original form be restored and made supreme.
Second, judiciary be made independent and autonomous, and as a first step towards this deposed judges be rewarded with reinstatement with grace and honor they deserve.
Third, all the state organs and actors, be it judiciary, legislature, executive, or be it military or its various agencies, or be it other state and semi-state entities, strictly be made to act within the limits of their legal and constitutional duties and powers.
Fourth, any legal and constitutional violations by any authority or official be punished in accordance with the law and without any delay.
Fifth, violations committed in the past be brought in a court of law and the violators be tried without any exception.
Sixth, protection of life and property be provided to all the citizens without any discrimination.
Seventh, security of fundamental rights of the people ensured in the constitution be given top priority on the agenda of governance.
Eighth, the business of government be run in accordance with the dictates of the original constitution of 1973.
Ninth, and lastly but not finally, foreign relations with all the countries especially with the neighboring countries be reorganized on the basis of mutuality and furtherance of interests, peaceful co-existence, and open and free trade and commerce be sought with everyone, and political or military entanglement with any country be avoided. In sum, a strategy of setting one’s own house in order first be adopted as the cornerstone of
Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Reasonably, more than half century’s time is enough to convince any thinking citizen of Pakistan how sincere are the ruling elites of Pakistan in pursuing the above discussed just rules of conduct both for their persons and the institutions of the state they have been using to strengthen their social, political, judicial, constitutional, economic position at the expense of the rights, freedom, prosperity and happiness of ordinary people. It is time for ‘us’ all the individual citizens of Pakistan who believe in the supremacy of their fundamental rights and freedoms over the special interests of this or that class or section or any group or religious or political party to rise and wage a peaceful struggle to restore a Pakistan where all the organs of the state, be it legislature, judiciary, or legislature, be it any institution or authority, be it military or civil officials, are strictly made to function in accordance with the laws and constitution of the country. It is time they should make it clear to the elites perennially ruling and plundering Pakistan and Pakistani people that enough is enough, and that now they need a government which takes care of its citizens’ life and property, and their fundamental rights and freedoms as its first and foremost duty. It is time to wrap up the politics of pharisaism. It is time for these elites to stop the politics in the name of nationalism, patriotism, democracy, welfarism, and revert back to the rule of rights are might! It is such a just
Pakistan that can positively contribute in transforming a world without rules into a world with just rules! Let that charity begin at home!
[This article was completed on December 15, 2008, and among other newspapers carried by The News International in its Political Economy section on December 21, 2008.]