In preparation for starting my series of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly biographies of key figures in Pakistan’s history I’m going to give an outline of how I’m going to go about them and what to expect. I might tinker with the format in the future but my game plan is to start with a short paragraph or two bio of the figure chronicling their life and major accomplishments. Following that will be the the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly sections, followed by an analysis of how that figure affected the story of Pakistan, and what if any lessons, personal or political can be learned from their lives and deeds.
I will do my best to back up my decisions on what categories a figure’s actions fall under with facts and sources and to explain my reasoning as clearly as I can. My perspective is that of a western, progressive, fiercely secular man so I will have a bias towards those deeds that have helped Pakistan move towards being a more Democratic, secular, and progressive state, that is at peace with it’s neighbours and itself and protects and empowers its minorities and its women, children, and poor. These are also the same principles that inspired Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and continue to hold sway with many Pakistani’s today so I believe I am justified in labeling actions that helped Pakistan achieve or attempt to achieve these principles as Good.
Conversely actions that have gone against Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan will be labeled Bad. I will do my best to use the same standards for all figures whether or not I personally consider them good or bad. If a dictator introduces a local governance system that helps empower people than I will label that Good even if it was introduced with the intention of weakening the power of the dictators opponents which I will label as Bad. And if a popular democratic leader nationalizes schools in an attempt to provide education to all children but it backfires and leads to a sharp decline in the quality of education than I will label the intention as Good but the action itself as Bad.
The Ugly section will be the most subjective part. I will label actions as Ugly if they, in my opinion, directly led, no matter how long the delay, to the outbreak of Civil War, Foreign wars, rebellions and insurgencies, mass violence; to the rolling back of rights and protection for minorities and women, the destruction of the Democratic system, or any other actions that have pushed Pakistan towards the brink of being a failed state.
I will only hold the figures in question directly responsible if it can be shown that they themselves ordered or carried out the actions of decisions in question; or if they had the power to stop the actions or decisions in question but chose not to, also included in this category are actions that were clearly hypocritical or showed a cynical attempt to manipulate deeds falling under the Ugly category for their own personal gain.
First up on the bio list will be the founder of Pakistan himself Muhammad Ali Jinnah; where better to start with the story of Pakistan than at it’s beginning? See you all tomorrow.