The dynamics of the sordid story of bigotry, discrimination and prejudice in Pakistan have been reported a million times over since its creation seventy years ago. In the process, the ones who are ever so eager to take to the written and spoken word to make wild pronouncements have attempted desperately to conjure a favourable impression without realising that this hydra, once uncaged, is way too difficult to contain.We know when the story began: on that fateful day when the first constituent assembly of the country, instead of debating and adopting the constitution of Pakistan, engaged itself instead with writing what would come to haunt the newly-born state through its evolving days. This document, dubbed as the Objectives Resolution, was made the preamble to the constitution when it was finally adopted in 1973. That is where the story of bigotry in the country began — and there has been no looking back since then. It has continued to germinate like cancer, striking down many a bright idea, project and people in the process. And it continues to do so unceasingly, with added venom and hate.Over decades, this has transformed the society into becoming intolerant and hypocritical in the extreme. We never tire of sermonising to the world, but refuse to look inwards at our conduct towards our marginalised communities, be that on the bar of humaneness, merit, equality, equity or religious beliefs. All those who do not adhere to the faith that a brute majority of the people practise are summarily exorcised from the society as undesirable beings. Their life, thereafter, is a tale of pain and misery as they are looked upon with suspicion and disdain. “It is as if we were intoxicated with the idea of our righteousness and determined to impose our obscurantism on the rest of the world. That’ll not be, but in an attempt at bludgeoning our way through, we may inflict mortal damage on ourselves and our right to survive as a self-respecting and sovereign state”Further, their advancement in life is curtailed through discriminatory laws emanating from the content of the Objectives Resolution. So, Dr.AtifMian, no matter how brilliant and competent he may be, is not acceptable as a member of the Economic Advisory Committee (EAC) simply because he belongs to a community which is dubbed as non-Muslim through the enactment engineered by a so-called democratic leader.The current government, after duly announcing Dr.Mian’s name among the members of the EAC, was forced to ask him to back off simply because the one who sits as an arbitrary judge and jury combined in deciding who fits the injunctions of Islam and who does not, demanded his ouster threatening that if that would not be so, he would stage another sit-in on the lines of what he had earlier done in dealing with the finality of Prophethood oath. It also exposed the hypocrisy and hollowness of the political elite of the country. When Dr.Mian’s appointment was first announced, the government was criticised for doing precisely that and a joint resolution was moved in the assembly calling to withdraw the nomination. And, when the government capitulated before the regressive onslaught, it was criticised yet again, this time for doing what has been demanded of it earlier.The episode was a moment of shame for the sitting government which was not able to come good on its commitment to having the best brains involved in formulating national policies in a non-discriminatory manner. Worse still, they allowed a third-rate, abusive bigot to define the state policy. It was also a moment of shame for the people who allowed this act of crass discrimination being practised on a citizen — one like all of them — and stayed quiet, thus further perpetuating the stranglehold of discrimination.With this failure of the government, the ones who are quick to be judgmental have yet again pronounced the death of the Quaid’s Pakistan. But this is not the first time that the Quaid’s Pakistan has died. His Pakistan had first died when the Objectives Resolution was adopted by the constituent assembly in 1949. This was the same assembly whose floors had earlier resonated with the policy statement of the Quaid when he had termed one’s religion or faith as having nothing to do with matters of the state. Quaid’s Pakistan also died when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sowed the seeds of further discrimination among people by declaring the Ahmedis non-Muslim, thus unleashing the hydra of bigotry from its confines.Quaid’s Pakistan kept dying with the birth of every progeny of the original enactment, be it the blasphemy law, the hadoodordinance, or other such injunctions which mortally wounded the very foundations of a just and equitable state. Quaid’s Pakistan also died when his motto “Unity, faith and Discipline”was criminally altered to“faith, Unity and Discipline”. Even the word “faith”was given a false meaning by associating it with religion. That is not what the Quaid had meant when he had used this word. He had exhorted the people to have “faith”in their ability to overcome whatever challenges they faced.Quaid’s Pakistan has been dead for a long time. It is now a question of resurrecting it as he had visualised it when delivering that clarion call from the floor of the constituent assembly on August 11, 1947:“You are free. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.It has been an agonisingly long time since then. Instead of following the Quaid’s precepts to turn Pakistan into a liberal and egalitarian country dedicated to the welfare of its people, particularly its minorities and marginalised communities, it has been reduced to becoming a state controlled by the draconian edicts of the Mullah. It is now the epitome of the ultimate in intolerance, discrimination, regression and degeneration. If it stays on the course it has so far chosen for itself, it is likely to be ostracised from the community of civilised states. It is a harrowing prospect, but the crisis is that not only are we unable to see it coming, we don’t seem to be pushed about it.Having forfeited its responsibility in a stark and brazen manner to put the country on the right course — more so when it has consistently advocated justice for all — the incumbent government has provided further space to the obscurantist forces to impose their writ on the state. In the process, the much-hyped prospect of reform has met an enormous setback and it may not be easy to recover from its consequences — this even if the government were to make a genuine and concerted effort which, at this juncture, appears to be a pipedream.Quaid’s Pakistan having died a thousand times over, the country trudges along towards a destination of unmitigated disaster — both for the relevance of the state in contemporary times and the prospect of advancement of its people.It is as if we were intoxicated with the idea of our righteousness and determined to impose our obscurantism on the rest of the world. That’ll not be, but in an attempt at bludgeoning our way through, we may inflict mortal damage on ourselves and our right to survive as a self-respecting and sovereign state.It is time to ponder in earnest.The writer is a political and security strategist, and heads the Regional Peace Institute — an Islamabad-based think-tank. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Raoof HasanPublished in Daily Times, September 18th 2018.