alking about social justice and equality in the Pakistan of his dream, Mr. Jinnah said in a speech delivered in April 1943, “Here I would like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They have forgotten the lesson of Islam. Do you visualize that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day? If this is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it. On the night of August 4, 1789, soon after the outbreak of the French Revolution, the National Assembly voted the abolition of feudalism in France. The advantages that came with such radical reform soon spread to the whole of Europe. Today over the great part of the world, not including Pakistan, the occupiers of agricultural land are the owners of it: peasant proprietorship is predominant. Not in Pakistan.
Those who do not own land are relegated to a socially inferior position with all the disabilities of that position. Piecemeal and sham reforms did not aim at breaking the power of the “old ruling oligarchy with its roots in big estates”.
Piecemeal and sham reforms introduced by Ayub and Bhutto, have bolstered the political, social and economic position of rural upper strata on which governments depend for political support. Not only has the political influence of this class increased, but its interest in the perpetuation of the statusquo has also gone up.
Measures that would deprive the upper strata in the villages of land and power, and would genuinely confer dignity and status on the underprivileged and landless are among the last that the landed aristocracy in Pakistan would find acceptable.
A great divide, a yawning chasm – some call it a new Iron Curtain-separates the rich from their less fortunate countrymen, whose life is “nasty, brutish and short”. Because these people have bank accounts, luxurious villas, mansions, and apartments in the West, they can easily escape from Pakistan’s misery. They have a stake in the statusquo or system as they call it, and therefore impede the birth of a new order in rural Pakistan.
In the West, democracy destroyed the feudal system and vanquished kings. In stark contrast, Pakistan’s fake democracy protects and perpetuates this unjust, outdated and obsolete system. The very idea of progressive agrarian reforms is abhorrent to the rubber-stamp parliament and the Cabal that rules this poor country. Degenerate to the very bones, nauseatingly corrupt, we must extirpate this system root and branch. One thing is certain. For anything to change in this country, everything has to change.