Physician, heal thyself

Let’s have it first, say Pakistanis

Their views are unequivocal. The mainstream Pakistani English language press wants ‘enlightened moderation‘ first and fast. Here’s a quick roundup:

Absent in most Muslim countries is “enlightened moderation” to which the president refers time and again. Essentially, if “enlightened moderation” has to have any meaning, it must provide for accommodation of dissent within the system and acceptance of political opposition and cultural pluralism.

Stability does not come out of a political order imposed by dictatorial means but is the outcome of a free play of democratic norms and principles. Militarism is the anti-thesis of democracy, and thus of moderation which is one of the latter’s essential concomitants.

The other concomitants are fair elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, a higher standard of literacy, and a well-informed public opinion, with watchdog bodies to point out denial of rights to women and children and to cultural and religious minorities. Regrettably, most Muslim countries are way behind the modern world in these respects.

They have kept their own peoples in chains and their societies backward. ‘Enlightened moderation’ has to begin at home. [Dawn]

Enlightenment is a tough transformation to attempt in the Muslim world because it is based on reason and reaches its fulfilment in a secular world. The Islamic world has on the other hand rejected the Muslim reformism of the beginning of the 20th century and is in the process of turning away from reason. Moderation is the essence of Islam and can be realised with education and economic advancement. (If you have no assets to guard you will be reckless.) Moderation is what President Musharraf should try and achieve first in Pakistan, after which Pakistan can become the ‘core state’ which the OIC needs to become truly effective. But this can be realised in Pakistan only through a state bureaucracy trained in the virtues of moderation and through a restoration of the political system which President Musharraf seems not to favour. This is the essence of conflict between his theory and practice. [Daily Times]

Can Pakistan ever become a turf for dissemination of enlightened values as long as its societal values remain under the cloud of regressive trends, its politics remain caught in a spate of recurring uncertainty – literally placing the country between the devil and the deep blue sea, the celebrated economic turn around ironically also shows signs of a continuing and perhaps in some ways divide between the rich and the poor, and last but certainly not the least, an overbearing military at the helm of affairs, continuing to dominate vital national affairs?

With answers to such compelling questions mostly in the negative, Pakistan’s transition to an enlightened land must remain a truly distant dream. [Farhan Bokhari/The News/Jang]

Take General Musharraf’s clarion call for “Enlightened Moderation Now”. Well who wouldn’t agree that we need enlightened moderation immediately, at once, yesterday! But since he is master of all he surveys will he do something about it! Since Pakistan’s present dispensation is at his beck and call, will he please get on with it! [Kamran Shafi/Daily Times]