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Will Pakistan Survive ?

15 January, 2008

By Amjad Malik


Barrister Jinnah fought hard in persuading British Empire to allow Muslims of sub-continent to have a separate homeland to safeguard the identity of rich nation and their Islamic culture values and freedom in their way of life as there were distinctive differences between Muslims minority and Hindu majority of Indian subcontinent. However, at this critical juncture his soul would be perturbed to see first ‘klashenkove’ and now ‘suicidal attacks’ and weaker judiciary resulted in by periodical military regimes in Pakistan quite contrary to Islamic teachings which depicts that one may survive in cruelty but a society built on injustice can not coexist. West  followed that principle in practice especially in their way of dispensing justice and freeing media and Britain is noteworthy in that effect particularly as freedom of citizens was never compromised. That clearly pin points one aspect of the weakness of the country Pakistan that it could not develop a formidable civil system of governance in good 60 years which could continue despite having a road map and strong military as an institution always came to rescue due to political immaturity of our political clan or distrust amongst stake holders and that will always remain its minus and positive point. The bleak rule of law & justice situation and unlawful killings of its political stalwarts especially Bhuttoo’s and  nexus of military with judiciary may not mirror its founder’s true views and vision about this outstanding nation full of talent, skills, and vigour and poses a serious question, will Pakistan survive in days to come?

Admitting that situation is bleak as far as rule of law and democratic drive and media freedom is concerned, still its not enough to question its territorial existence as we will have to see the reason for which Pakistani people obtained this country. This country was obtained by way of one man one vote and most of the votes were cast by lay people who were focused as their aim to have independence and they freely opted out for a free state and refused to accept slavery in a country where they ruled for centuries. To me the original principal is still intact and survives. People of Pakistan though going through a series of crises especially finding political system under which governance takes shape but are still determined not to loose their freedom and they are not willing to rejoin their old foe so united India is out of question. Now we move to second stage and it is acceptable that hidden powers breed the idea of fragmentation of Pakistan. That may be a valid blackmailing tactics to suit an individual state interest, but rarely  possible in practice as the remaining Pakistan post 1971 is geographically located in a spot where its fragmentation will cause a serious threat to the stability of the whole region and in return to the wider world and any foreign interference may have serious repercussions as a result because no power would afford a backlash as a result of a failed attempt of fragmentation on an atomic power.  Therefore, its division in pieces no matter how glossy can not materialise due to country’s strong defence mechanism and Pakistan being the only Muslim state with atomic armament which provides regional stability through its ideal strategic location. Looking at the recent past, English fought Irish, Indian faced Sikhs separatists and other developing insurgencies, Srilankans at war with Tamils, Afghanistan saw off Russian invasion in 80’s and is on its 2nd haul of turmoil during and post Taliban and US went through bi polar system, Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy’s death, Vietnam, as well as 9/11 and Japan too saw Hiroshima but no where the issue of state instability crops up. Similarly, Pakistan is a state where a full mechanism of running and defending this nation of 160 million is in place and one aspect in particular to defending the sovereignty of the state is in fact, stronger than ever before.

On this basis, I will say that Pakistan is there to survive for years to come as Pakistan is a homeland, a shelter of different casts and creed, safety zone for Islamic heritage and protector of many languages. Its cosmopolitan diversity is its unique feature and its strength is its foundation on which it was made. As the foundation is so strong, the remaining issue is to build the country further on this stronger foundation and take it on  a route to progress, tolerance and truly democratic Pakistan which is quite up to the people of Pakistan who needs to come out of its shell and turn themselves from crowd to a nation. How can people achieve that task is a valid question for all the leaders of Pakistan too, military as well as Civilians. Its political leaders also carry the blame for not being able to promote genuine leadership, political process, and accountability on national level, and military leaders for not being able to leave a genuine democratic leadership from educated middle classes in succession once they had a chance in Ayub, Zia and now Musharraf’s regime. Pakistanis remained leaderless after years of military regimes and people could not come out of status quo and started from scratch after the regime left leaving his foot prints. I think institutional strength along with preserving judicial independence, free and responsible media are keys to join the road map towards democracy. Military establishment must foster and pave way for true leadership and try to confine themselves to the task of ‘defence of the realm’ and allow a political process to continue coupled with free judiciary & media, and allow the system to shuffle across and separate the chaff from grain after periodical elections ideally after every 4 years. After four or five elections Pakistan will have true leadership to run the political side of the country and military can go on the back drop forever. If we allow people to responsibly elect its leaders and allow the system to run, I do not see any reason why those millions whose ancestors laid their lives on one call of their Quaid Mr. Jinnah and chose Pakistan freely as their choice, will now make mistake to choose who should govern them. Given the choice collective wisdom will promote unity and federation and the people will find a viable political process too.

 Pakistan is there to survive, West is sometimes pre mature in their hasty assessments to forecast a destabilised Pakistan on any mishap or genuine calamity, I would say they react quickly and its the beauty of their system and freedom of media that they are heard quickly too. Pakistan an atomic power who announced its nuclear in a tit for tat tests with its arch rival India in May 1998 though it acquired this technology in 80’s long before its official  announcement on 28 May 1998 so questioning its command to hold such arsenal seems baseless, keeping in view that the country acquired this technology not by choice but as a deterrent once its arch rival tested its nuclear facility and posed a clear and present danger to the defence, security and sovereignty of Pakistan and the whole South Asian Region. It is arguable that the money could have been well spent on people’s welfare but that applies to both the countries. However, critics in West and in Asia are justified in pointing out that more can be done to secure institutional strength and to attain truly elected genuine leadership with true democracy is the real challenge confronted to all Pakistanis and that’s what they must concentrate on in coming years as given the opportunity this land of pure is fertile enough to do miracles.

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