We cannot achieve our objective of implementing the agenda of a “Naya Pakistan” unless we are determined to highlight issues with the narrative of “Purana Pakistan”. The present condition of the country is a result of this narrative that has been fed to us since the day of the nation’s birth. It is the state that sets the narrative and at its head sits an oligarchy that works only for its own interests. Under their rule the state narrative is whatever benefits them personally the most. Furthermore it raises questions about who these people are, and what their basic purpose is? If the oligarchy is pro-growth, then that might have a trickledown effect and improve the economy as well. However, when the oligarchy is made up of hoarders, tax evaders, feudals, bureaucrats and aristocrats, then this becomes impossible. For in a system like that, the people in power will exploit everything in their power to retain their influence over the population, and their greed will keep them from sharing their wealth with anybody else. They utilize any narrative they can to keep their hegemony in place, like religion or nationalism, and will discredit anybody that opposes them by using these contentious topics to silence their voices. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and yet our history is full of instances of usurpations and suppressions. The legacy for such suppressions and usurpations was imbedded in the struggle of the pre-partition Muslim League and Indian Congress. While the latter predominantly had roots in the rising middle class, the former was made up of Nawabs and Feudal lords, with no real affinity to the regions that would go on to make Pakistan. As a result, they were always scared of losing control over the new country, and the early death of the Quaid did not help matters either. The subsequent system set a precedent that continues to this day; where the powerful will do anything they can to retain their influence over the disenfranchised masses. After the creation of Pakistan, people tended to forget the real purpose behind its existence. This purpose was outlined by Jinnah in his August 11, 1947 speech, yet his untimely death left the country directionless, and the politicians he left behind were unable to form a suitable constitution for Pakistan. The Objective Resolution was adopted instead, and struggle ensued to have a one party system in the country; a notion that was opposed by Bengal and East Pakistan based PML members, who feared the hegemony of the Uttar Pradesh and West Pakistan based leadership. Pakistan and its oligarchy faced problems from the very first day, and no politician could stamp their authority over these issues, not even Liaquat Ali Khan. These growing divides within the PML then gave the military a power vacuum that they were more than happy to fulfil. At the same time, the country’s allegiances seemed to have shifted from our previous masters, the British, to the new superpower, the United States of America. After the creation of Pakistan, people tended to forget the real purpose behind its existence. This purpose was outlined by Jinnah in his August 11, 1947 speech, yet his untimely death left the country directionless, and the politicians he left behind were unable to form a suitable constitution for Pakistan During this time, democratic forces within the country failed to impose their will as the military kept a strong hold over their power. It wasn’t until the emergence of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that this situation changed. He created his own narrative, and while this was instrumental to the events of 1971, and the break-up of Pakistan, he was intelligent enough to tweak it, as and when it suited him. In one instance, during a ‘jalsa’ he floated the idea of possibly recognizing the new state of Bangladesh, yet the crowd’s extreme response to his statement gave him pause, and he was forced to expertly divert their attention, while he finished his speech quickly. A video of the incident is available online. When General Zia replaced him, he brought with him a new narrative, one based on the interpretations of the Jammat-e-Islami, who believed that Pakistan was made on the name of Islam. This move has dogged for years and unfortunately it seems Khan Sahib is continuing with this narrative as well. Instead of ‘Naya Pakistan’ and ‘Quaid’s Pakistan’, we see him embracing ‘Zia’s Pakistan’. While hiring Atif Mian to the Economic Advisory Council was a move based on our Quaid’s ideology; his subsequent removal from the council was more reminiscent of General Zia’s extremist legacy. Pakistan is a federation and it is comprised of federating units, all of whom have their own history, cultures and languages. Most importantly, they all have their own narratives. The state made narrative has to adjust with these narratives, as enforcing the ideologies of the centre, on all the provinces, will just cause friction. Let the events of 1971 be a lesson to us all. The writer is a civil society activist.At present, he is practicing as a lawyerat JavedQazi& Co and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, September 24th 2018.