Let me come to Pakistan Book

Daily English News Paper in Pakisatn. Published 3rd Sept 2000 Sunday.

The Nation Review

By Dr. Afzal Mirza

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Let me come to Pakistan

An expatriate’s View
Dr.Afzal Mirza states that the Author of this work,a Pakistani long settled in japan,has done a commendable job in presenting some solutions to the problems facing us from his peculiar perspective.

LOOKING AT PAKISTAN FROM JAPANESE PERSPECTIV

Dr. Afzal Mirza

I was keen to read this book because it reminded me of my visit to Japan in 1981. It was for me a bewildering experience. After having visited America and Europe it was the most impressive dispensation in the world. It overtook me rather it overawed me with its colossal
development. It was an example of how nations with limited space and resources could undertake super-human leaps towards progress. A sense of discipline was writ large on every thing. I always remembered that Japanese experience till those impressions were washed out by the routine of living in Pakistan with its objective conditions. Another reason for going through this book was my kin
S .Sikandar Khan, a scholar of Japanese history and culture who keeps on posting me with his articles on his Japanese experience and with news about Japanese Universities Alumni Association of Pakistan of which he is the Vice President. This keeps me in touch with the reality of Japan in this world.
The present book is neither an autobiography nor a travelogue but the impressions of a Pakistani living in Japan about the state of affairs in this country. The author Humayun Mughal hails from Rawalpindi. After taking diploma in Japanese language from the Foreign Languages Institute of Islamabad he left for Japan in 1985 where he joined Univerty in Tokyo for higher studies in Japanese language. There he met a Japanese girl the whom he married after converting her to Islam. He has four sons and a daughter and the pictures of the family adorn the book. After completing his education Humayun stayed on there and started business in carpets. Now he owns a show room in Japan and also works for newspapers and television as commentator. Last time he visited Pakistan was in November last year. General Musharaff had taken over the reins of the government on 12th October so every one in Japan and Pakistan was keen to know his views on the military take-over. It seems that instead of giving his comments individually to the people whom he came across he wrote a whole book on the subject.
The book Let me come to Pakistan opens with a picture of General Musharaff under which he writes, Dr.Iqbal’s message to General Parvez Musharaff and continues beneath it,
Tell general Musharaff that if this time Almighty God has given him the leadership of this lost nation then he should properly diagnose its ailment which is Illiteracy. As the darkness of ignorance would disappear the nation would appear in its true form.
The story and comments of Humayun are in fact the feelings of every expatriate Pakistani who has chosen to live abroad . It is interesting that when they are abroad then their patriotism and love for the motherland awakens and they feel strongly for the predicament of Pakistani nation. The reason could be that living in civilised societies provides them with an opportunity to compare Pakistan’s social order with the one prevailing in those countries and when they come back and see the perpetual deterioration then they want to do some thing for the country. Now in case of Humayun when he was asked by his children to do something for Pakistan he says, I am not so rich that I could pay off the 36 billion debt of the country but I can write a book and tell them some solutions for the problems of the country.
A friend asked him whether there was corruption in Japan.
Humayun replied that it was there but because of high rate of literacy the people were conscious enough to make the politicians accountable for their misdeeds. Thus once a prime minister is indicted for corruption he can never think of staging a come back. In Pakistan on the other hand due to ignorance and illiteracy the accountability process is just an eye wash and corrupt are not adequately punished. Two of our prime ministers who were removed from office with charges of corruption returned to power which is some thing unimaginable in Japan.
It seems that in spite of living away from Pakistan Humayun Mughal has not lost touch with his own country and had adequate knowledge of Pakistan’s past and present state of affairs. Unlike other expatriates who have scanty knowledge of the history of their motherland Humayun has traced the historical process from inception of Pakistan to date. He views the problems of the country in very clear perspective. For example in his imaginary meeting with Iqbal he pronounces Iqbal?s message in these words,
Go give my message to the people of Pakistan. Tell them that if they want democracy then they should elect for every seat candidates after thorough evaluation. If you will have shop keepers, traders,capitalists and selfish people to look after their own interests then what will they do for the people and country.Allama Iqbal tells him that for traders, shop keepers, industrialists and wealthy people chambers of commerce were enough.

Humayun has extensively quoted from his Japanese experience. He thinks that since he belonged both to Pakistan and Japan he was in a better position to compare the two. He says that people in both the countries are industrious but the difference is that Japanese work for the nation but Pakistanis work for themselves. Unfortunately we have not been able develop a sense of nationhood although our leaders specially Muhammad Ali Jinnah had repeatedly emphasised the need for forging national spirit and rising above themselves. In a chapter entitled Why Japan .?
Humayun points out that the first step taken by Japanese government after second world war was to introduce compulsory education. Those who tried to avoid it they were taught in jails. The primary students get excellent meals in their schools free of cost. Every morning every pupil is given a glass of milk to drink.. They are even given vitamins. Pakistan and Japan have almost equal population and Pakistan has the advantage of having natural resources which are missing in Japan but still Pakistan has not made any progress. The second thing is the lack of proper planning in Pakistan. The author tells us that fifty years ago the planners of Japan had prepared plans and had foretold how Japan would look in 2000. Now they are planning for year 2050. Fifty years ago they sent their intelligent people to USA and other advanced countries to learn the advanced technology and return back and apply it in their own country. They were not sent there permanently to earn foreign exchange and create shortage of brain power in their owncountry.
There was a time when Japanese things were considered as sub-standard. Today they excel in their quality and have surpassed American and European standard. Humayun concludes this chapter by emphasising the importance of education and thinks that it is the key factor for our progress.
Humayun’s account is full of examples and stories of the treatment meted out to him and his family whenever they visited Pakistan at the hands of customs, PIA people and others . Once his family was denied boarding cards when they had confirmed seats and when they approached a high-up he tried to extract money from them because he thought them lucrative source.
The plane was elayed for two hours on the prtyext of technical fault while in fact they were waiting for some VIPs. This and many other examples are there. And when his wife and children get upset on this account he tells them ,Just imagine that I lived most of my life in these circumstances.The author has not only pointed out the ailments but also given some solutions. For example he proposes that there should be a national army in Pakistan. His concept of a national army is different from the one found in former communist countries.
At one time Air Marshal Asghar Khan had also proposed to establish a national army in Pakistan but he wanted it to be on the lines of communist countries. Humayun thinks that regular army should also remain there but should be a wing of national army.
The function of national army according to the author should be to undertake developmental projects in all sectors. The training imparted to them will create a sense of discipline among people. After going through this plan one feels that this system will abolish police department and the functions of the national army will encompass all departments including railways, WAPDA, agriculture, education etc.
In the last chapter Humayun winds up saying that in order to stand on its own feet Pakistan needs three things desperately ,firstly Education for all, secondly a viable economy and thirdly a strong defence and national security system. Should the government of Pakistan permit him he would bring most modern agricultural technology to Pakistan. For this he could organise loan and training facilities for Pakistani experts in Japan. Besides this he wants to convert Pakistani railways to the Japanese system and wants to introduce forced education. He cites the example of Japanese? Bullet Train introduced by prime minister Tanaka thirty years ago that travels as fast as more than 500 kilometres an hour. In the words of flap writer Parvez Hamid, It is a unique book representing the feelings of Pakistanis living abroad written in an interesting style.

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