Dr Ikramul Haq
Subjugation, whether physical or mental, has devastating effects. The subjugated become neither dead nor alive. It can be characterised as ‘slave syndrome’. The agony of ‘slave syndrome’ is perpetual despair and never-ending suffering. It is much worse than death. Death of an individual or annihilation of a nation gives deliverance — a relief from anguish and pain — but subjugation is unremitting punishment.
History of subjugation and resistance presents vital lessons for humanity. Economic subjugation leads to political subjugation. It is the worst malady. It creates helplessness and complete submission. Resistance, on the contrary, kindles the hope of life — regaining of freedom being its prime goal. The subjugators after end of colonial era regained control indirectly through a band of sycophants and cronies, who in the name of self-rule started exploiting their own people. Cronies serve foreign masters and prove to be even worse rulers. This is the tragedy of most of the post-colonial states. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto elaborated it masterly in his book, Myth of Independence.
Neo-colonial subjugators operate through cronies in politics and local agents in business. Pakistan is an apt case-study of this phenomenon. The country after independence in 1947 was soon subjugated, as from day one the rulers vowed allegiance to the United States. Except Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — many even doubt it — every ruler was taking command from the US. The men in uniform, having US backing, started controlling all organs of the state from the very beginning directly or through their lackeys in politics and civil bureaucracy. The role of political elite in the post-independent ‘security state’ of Pakistan has been shamelessly anti-people. Calling themselves ‘leaders’, they have been serving neo-colonialists with great zeal—(see work of Hassan N. Gardezi, Neocolonial Alliances and Crisis of Pakistan).
In Pakistan, politicians and high-ranking officials take great pride being part of the ‘invitees’ list’ of the US, EU, Saudi Arabia, UK etc embassies in Islamabad. In our land of the pure, even religious parties, claiming to be anti-USA, feel annoyed if not invited in such parities. In private, they beg before Washington: ‘Deal with us alone as we have leverage to bring Taliban on terms with you’. Perhaps, they do not know that the US created these monsters and still has close liaison with them. A secret memo of the US State Department, published some years back in a leading New York newspaper, revealed that no political figure in Pakistan has ever turned down an invitation of US Embassy in Pakistan to attend a private party where alcohol is served. ‘In private they criticise us and in such parties ask for personal favours’, the document stated.
Frequently we watch the media showing meetings between US ‘dignitaries’ with our military leadership without the presence of foreign office officials though agenda is not military cooperation. Then we ask who is in control of foreign policy! The US in the past established one-to-one, General-to-General contacts — frequent meetings between General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and General David Petraeus. Davis Petraeus in 2016 debunked Donald Trump for accusing us of ‘deceit’, yet Trump repeated the same allegations through a tweet on New Year eve and then on January 4, 2018 suspended almost entire military aid. It proves that that they still treat us as like a colony. The fault is entirely ours and not theirs. Beggars cannot be choosers. In the past, and still, we take pride in taking aid and borrowing money from them. We are convinced that only they have prescriptions for our ills. We never tried to realise that root cause of many of our problems is this ‘slave syndrome’. It is the main reason for our failure to become an independent polity and self-reliant economy. The day the people reject through votes, the accountability of those who are darlings of foreign masters will begin. This alone can end our subjugation that is the root cause of present humiliation at the hands of the US and others.
Dr Ikramul Haq