Why Pakistan Will Implode

An article emailed to me by an American friend who spent a couple of years in Karachi. Written before the fall of Musharraf, it’s posted in it’s entirety below, a non-journalistic, bleak look at Pakistan:

h4. Why Pakistan Will Implode

Once again, Pakistan is in the news. And, once again, the news is not good and gives hints of potential ramifications that could spread across the region and the globe.

A decade ago, Pakistan flew well under our collective radar. I, myself, had a good college friend in the mid-80’s and it’s occurred to me recently that I was never altogether certain where Pakistan was or even that Tooba was a Muslim. Obviously, this has changed in the post-9/11 era.

I recently returned from two years teaching high school history at the Karachi American School and, not surprisingly, have been greeted with inquiries from friends and associates genuinely interested in my impressions of this lynchpin land that was my home. At some level, I have disappointed, as my actual interactions with Karachi were limited. School security dictated a mild form of house arrest; most parts of the city were off-limits to us and each outing from the school’s compound had to be pre-approved and chaperoned by three armed guards. Thus, my first hand experience with Pakistan was far less intimate than I would have hoped. And, of course, my relative wealth (my estimates are that I earned fifty to a hundred times the national per capita income, even as a humble school teacher) kept me isolated from the lives that most Pakistanis actually leave. Still, I have formed impressions of Pakistan and have reflected upon what I saw, heard, and read. And I am left with two prevailing intuitions. First, the people of Pakistan are by and large among the most decent, warm, and welcoming people I’ve ever met. Nevermind their assumed “hatred” of Americans; I was treated almost royally by nearly every Pakistani I met. Secondly, Pakistan will implode.

A couple of disclaimers:

First of all, this is not exactly a prediction. Living on a secured compound in Karachi for nearly two years, reading the local papers, conversing with thousands of Pakstanis over that time, and traveling through many parts of the country may, perhaps, give me some degree of insight that many might lack. But do I know the country inside and out? Nay. And even if I did, that would not automatically bless me with the powers of clairvoyance.

And it most certainly does not express a desire. Good lord, the ramifications—for the hundreds of Pakistanis now I know, for the thousands who treated me with kindness, for the millions who certainly would have had we encountered eachother directly, and for the world as a whole—would be horrifying. No, Pakistan’s pending implosion falls well short of an actual prediction and in no way should be construed as a wish.

But if there were a divine being, and this divine being were to present him/herself before me, and reveal that s/he was the proprietor of some form of metaphysical casino, and command me to lay a fiver on the following question: “Will Pakistan Implode?”…Well, if my attempts to circumvent the command by arguing that I am not a betting man, that I don’t really know enough to weigh in, that I’m uncomfortable wagering money on the survival of a society with so many millions of people were in vain—if the Great Bookie in the Sky were to insist that I put my money down or face the consequences—I would, with heaviness of heart, lay my five dollar bill on the “yes” decal affixed to the table.

Why will Pakistan implode?

1. The country was born under a bad star. When the Brits faced the inevitable after WW II and decided to give up their empirical stake in the Subcontinent, the suddenness with which Hindu (Hindu in reality, though quite intentionally not as a matter of principal) India and Muslim (Muslim quite intentionally, quite emphatically, as it was constituted as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) Pakistan were divided and reinvented created a basis of violence, ugliness, and dysfunction from which left the country a mess from the outset. As some 15,000,000 Hindus and Muslims (as well as a much smaller population of Sikhs) raced across the haphazardly drawn borders toward their “new homelands”, an orgy of bloodlust erupted, leading to as many as a million brutally slaughtered on both sides, a long legacy of hatred and distrust between India and Pakistan, and a new Pakistani nation that was left on the short ends of the financial and resource sticks. In some ways, Pakistan has never recovered from this tortured beginning.

2. Pakistan is not now and, I fear, never will be a nation. For those who might have missed the question on their high school history tests, or who managed to get it right, but have long since forgotten the difference, I’ll provide quickie definitions. A state implies a widely (usually universally) recognized government. Pakistan is a state; Pervaiz Musharraf is its President; it appears on maps; it has a seat in the United Nations. The concept of a nation, however, suggests some sort of cultural unity, some sense of common experiences, goals, language, religion, or purpose that unites all (or most) within a society. The two often walk hand-in-hand, though there are nations that are not states and states that are not nations.

The United States is one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the history of the world. We have no official religion or language. Yet even those of us who are often critical of America, those who are neither flag wavers nor great admirers of the status quo, recognize ourselves as Americans—however little importance we might attach to the distinction. Pakistan is not a nation. Urdu is the official language…and roughly ten percent of the population speaks it. Pakistan isn’t made up of Pakistanis. It is a state of Sindhis, Punjabis, Pathans, Balochis, Sereikis, Mohajirs, and other groups too numerous and fractured to even grab my conscious attention. In and of itself, this is not a death sentence. But it adds a terribly precarious edge to a society with so many other fault lines. Ethnic wars have plagued Pakistan over its six decades. There is currently a low intensity civil war in the Waziristan region of the Tribal Areas (a story onto itself). Last year the Musharraf government bombed and killed the leading Balochi nationalist, Nawab Akbar Bugti. In April, Karachi erupted into a bloodbath, whose causes were political on the surface, but with an ethnic basis beneath. And in the latest crises over the legitimacy of Musharraf’s rule, ethnic tensions are flaring and inciting just below the surface. Few seem clear as to what Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif represent. But there is little doubt as to their ethnic constituencies—the feudal lord Bhutto family’s power base is Sindh; the Sharif’s in the Punjab.

3. Pakistan is desperately poor. Pakistan is not bloated-belly, flies-daring-withered-limbs-to-brush-them-away poor, but the norm is a poverty that is unimaginable to most of us. Pakistani government statistics place the literacy rate at only 50%. But given that the same government claims a 6.8% unemployment rate, we can assume that way less than half the population can read, however disingenuous a definition is provided for “literate”. Per capita income stats are hard to assess. I do know, however, that the guards at the school in Karachi made a little over $50 a month and they were the lucky ones. Yes, “things are cheaper” in Pakistan. But they’re not that much cheaper. The vast majority of the population is undereducated, malnourished, and at most a step or two away from absolute desperation. Adding to this is the exploding wealth of the upper crust. People I know drop $100,000 on a dinner party. The caste-accustomed Pakistani underclass has been trained to accept this disparity. But the resentment is there, even if politely swallowed.

4. The demographics of Pakistan—particularly when coupled with some of its social conventions—are potentially deadly. Pakistan currently is estimated to have a population of 165,000,000. Current projections say that this number could easily double in the next 25 – 30 years. That’s simply too many people for country with limited resources and little functional infrastructure. Of the current population, nearly 40% are under the age of fourteen (and the median age is only twenty), a recipe for disaster, as it indicates significant portion of the population that is economically dependent and—more menacingly still—portends roughly 60,000,000 young people who are soon to become adults without livelihood or opportunity in the decade to come.

And the logically ensuing economic projections of 100,000,000 supporting the rest looks far better than the reality, given that half of those hundred million are women, for woman’s role in Pakistan is largely that of the subservient housekeeper. Literacy rates among women are generously pegged at 35%. Leaving aside the tremendously important (but more difficult to assess in non-biased terms) question of the ethics and morality of woman’s role in Pakistan, the reality that the vast majority of the women are economic non-entities (and, for cultural reasons, are to remain that way for the foreseeable future) puts a tremendous burden on the small portion of the economically productive adult men.

5. Pakistan is a nuclear power with a longstanding enemy and a burgeoning superpower to the East and Afghanistan and Iran to the West. Iraq will likely not recover in our lifetimes. Iran is internally fairly stable, but currently led by a zealot and on a potential collision course with an equally overzealous United States. Afghanistan is…well, Afghanistan. And Pakistan and India—once a single entity within colonial Britain—have gone to war four times since Partition and have been on the verge many other times. Journalist Steve Coll (among others) argues that a 2002 stand off between the two countries came desperately close to an all out conventional war, one that could quite likely have turned nuclear. Musharraf at the time warned India “not to expect a conventional war”, while the Indian defense minister flippantly observed that India could “take a bomb or two or more…but when we respond, there will be no more Pakistan.” It doesn’t take a lot of paranoid speculation to see how Pakistan could go up in a ball of flames, possibly taking many of us with it.

6. Pakistan is one of the most corrupt societies on earth. The word “corruption” gets bandied about with great casualness, and few of us really have a sense of what it actually means. Now, of course, there is corruption in the United States, both large and small. Dick Cheney is having his Halliburton-anointed soul stroked on a daily basis by the helpless American taxpayer. The rich have every built in advantage and are almost certain to remain rich. The poor, darker skinned, the unconnected have formidable odds to overcome to even hope to escape their lot. Most of the major decisions made in this country are made by a small, privileged elite through mechanisms both official and aboveboard or otherwise.

But recognizing all of this does nothing to even begin to comprehend the on the ground reality of Pakistan. The macro story is regularly conveyed through NGO press releases or through media exposes. I can only offer the following anecdotal evidence in an attempt to illuminate the truly insidious nature of what happens within the country:

Earlier this year, the wife of an ex-pat acquaintance of mine was hospitalized to give birth. While awaiting the delivery, his grade school aged son collapsed. A few hours later, the man was told that his son needed a heart transplant. If you think that this seems like an odd and abrupt diagnosis, you would be right. The man called a few friends and it was clear that no surgeon would perform a heart transplant on a few hours notice, with no second opinion, on a seven year old boy. It was also clear to this man that the hospital had his wife, his newborn child, and his son in their clutches. He paid the quoted cost of $10,000 for the operation not to be performed, in order to be entirely sure that would see all again and that all would remain in good health. The same man left the country only a few months later. As the story has it—possibly, probably truish—a Pakistani associate of his was abducted and a gun was rammed into his mouth, shattering his front teeth, and the associate was told that his boss was to leave the country within 48 hours. He did.

Another man I know of—this one a Pakistani returning home after a couple of decades in the West—saw a business opportunity that should have been fruitful for him while simultaneously providing a literally life-saving service for the people of Pakistan. Apparently, most basic vaccines used (or, at least, needed) in Pakistan are produced abroad, meaning higher cost and less availability. Recognizing this potential for profit (and also motivated by the unmet need within his country), this man relocated his family to Karachi to undertake this venture. A year later, the project had not advanced a single step. My reports say that he was stymied at every level, by government bureaucrats, by would-be buyers, by contractors, by the controllers of labor, by people who were either actively opposed to the introduction of any new source of economic growth or opportunity, (as this would break the stranglehold of those ruthless few who currently hold the economic and social power), or would not even consider helping the project along until they had received their due “appreciation”. In Pakistan, it is known as “sifarish”, or “influence”. It is, of course, flat out bribery and is as vital to the Pakistani system as heroin is to the junkie. After a year’s worth of encountering hostility and veiled threats and the resigned dispersal of a couple hundred thousand dollars in wheel-greasing pay offs, the entrepreneur had not progressed in the slightest toward his ultimate goal, and understanding that it would all be in vain, he abandoned the venture completely. Pakistan will continue to import its vaccines for the foreseeable future.

At a smaller, more personal level, the corruption is no less devastating and all the more infuriating, because it destroys the hopes and dreams of the vast majority of common people who make up the society. The costs associated with fending off a routine traffic stop (by a severely underpaid cop) are standardized and well-known. Virtually anyone hoping to land a job of any sort—say as an underpaid traffic cop, in fact—understands that someone will be paid off to the tune of several months or even a year or two’s worth of salary before the job is obtained. And as a personification of this whole venal system, I think of the story of a close friend of mine in Karachi. Although one of the “lucky ones”—he had a steady job that paid above the national average—the guy lived in undeniable poverty and deprivation. When I met him, he was deciding which of his teenage daughters he could afford to continue to send to school. (For the past two years, I covered the costs of one, but with me gone the dilemma almost certainly has reappeared.) Through some means, he and his brother managed to obtain a small bit of land and they began work on building a house themselves. This was to be a longterm project, however, as they were literally buying a single bag of cement at a time when household economics allowed. Over the course of a half year, I was regularly updated on the progress, including a 40% rise in the price of cement and an unexpected rainfall which rendered useless two dearly purchased but poorly stored bags.

The whole building process eventually ground to a halt. He explained to me that a “political party”—the Greater Sindh Party, (I had never heard of them, but I think that observation is central to the story), had come to his door asking for a 2,000 rupee (roughly $30) donation. My friend spent the rest of the week frantically contacting friends and family members to secure the loan needed make this donation. As he told me this, I naively wondered aloud why he felt so strongly about this party as to go further in debt to help them along. In far more dignified terms (though hiding none of the seething rage that any of us would feel under the circumstances), he explained that he either needed to “donate” as “requested” or watch all that he had labored to build burned to the fucking ground.

It was at this point that I really understood that there was virtually no way out for the vast majority of Pakistanis, no matter how intelligent, how industrious, or how decent any might be. And this, of course, means a society in which the incentive for hard work and ingenuity are suppressed. And more frighteningly, it all but must create an underlying and burning sense of deep resentment on the part of the underclass, a resentment that almost surely will rise uncomfortably to the surface someday. What was it that Langston Hughes wrong about “a dream deferred”?

7. Pakistan lacks any form of legitimate government or even a history of legitimate government. One of the first questions I’m usually asked by friends with some degree of international political awareness is, “So, what’s your take on Musharraf?” And after two years, I can only reply, “I have absolutely no idea what to think.”

For a majority of its sixty years, Pakistan has been directly rule by the military. For the rest of those years, the military has been the puppeteer. Musharraf took power in a coup in 1999. He has posited himself as a force of “enlightened moderation”. On one hand, he’s taken a fairly public stance against the extremism of the Islamists. While he’s no Betty Friedan—he did suggest that lots of Pakistani women go and get themselves gang raped so that they can get visas—he does at least seem fairly committed to the general concept that woman should not be synonymous with goat. It’s a dictatorship, to be sure. But there has been a certain freedom of political speech within the country (though that seems to be under serious attack at the moment). On the other hand, March’s unilateralist sack of the chief justice of the Supreme Court is troubling and his attempts to engineer his re-election to another seven year term in a method make Florida 2000 look like the paragon of Jefferson’s utopian democracy. (As of this writing, there is little agreement as to whether last week’s resignation as the leader of the military signifies real or merely cosmetic changes.) As a Pakistani friend put it, “Would you accept this form of government in your own country?” At the same time, there are some scary, scary people waiting in the wings…

The ultimate point, however, is not Musharraf’s desirability or the relative merits of his would-be successors. It is that the government of Pakistan has little to no power or perceived legitimacy, outside of the odd police state activity. Musharraf gets blasted regularly for not “doing enough” to curb “Taliban extremism” (lots of quotation marks needed here, folks…) along the Afghani border. I’ve got news for you; he has no authority over the area. These are the autonomous tribal areas. Federal law, outside of the most basic sense, absolutely does not apply here. A planned trip into the region didn’t pan out, but the scene is supposed to be surreal. Merchants sit along the sidewalks with blankets, selling Kalashnikovs and heroin. All crime and civil matters are dealt with through the tribal courts. Aside from the periodic bombing of suspected radical training sights—actions which tend to only further cripple Musharraf’s support—the Pakistani government does not even enter into the areas. My own limited experience says enough—a walk to the border yielded an hour long session of (illegal) beer drinking and hash smoking with the border police.

Even outside of the ethnic and tribal divisions, this government is essentially powerless. The next potential coup is never more than an incident or whim away. The religious folk want Musharraf’s head—and they will probably eventually get it. The secular democrats see him as a weak-willed or alternately a power hungry dictator. And as Musharraf’s hold on power crumbles—a sure indication is that the United States is now making bet hedging criticisms of Musharraf’s internal policies—he is responding by clamping down on dissent, a possibly necessary move that will, nonetheless weaken him further.

8. The Pakistani religious whackos are more whacked and powerful than you think. (Militants have, in fact, taken control of areas in the Swat Valley of the Northwest Frontier Province), a development absolutely unprecedented in this long contentious struggle.) One of the great tragedies is that Pakistanis are not inherently intolerant fundamentalists. They are the heirs of Akbar’s mutli-religious Mughul state. Its founding as an Islamic republic was not an attempt to impose religious orthodoxy. In Jinnah’s mind, it was largely a political move, as he feared that a 25% Muslim minority would never be fairly treated by a 75% Hindu majority. While the initial constitution dictated that the Prime Minister and President must be Muslim, there were no blasphemy laws, no Hudood Ordianance. And almost unanimously, the first-hand reports of friends and other knowledgeable sources indicate that a moderate form of Sufism tended to predominate within the country.

With the Zia dictatorship of the late 70’s and 80’s, this all began to change. A harsh form of Islamic law was imposed and has been moving steadily toward Talibanesque extremity ever since. Few question that Bin Laden is far more popular in the country than Musharraf and as each year passes the religious crazies take bolder and bolder steps in defiance of civil authority, until recently only to be met with a “Gosh, please don’t do that…” from the nominal powers that be. Within the last year, CD shops have been forced shut across wide swathes of the country and barbers who are willing to shave beards have been forced out of business, as both activities are being deemed “unislamic”. This, of course, has spread to the capitol, as evidenced by July’s Red Mosque stand off. Most sources indicate that the government’s actions were supported by many in the country, as a majority is genuinely frightened by the prospects of a true extremist take over. Yet at the same time, it’s widely understood that this same government has long tolerated and even supported the extremists.

The extremists are by no means defeated, as Pakistani society—particularly the poor and dispossessed—has given up any pretexts of faith in the secular society. Sixty years of corruption, coups, cowardice, and utter indifference to the dire plight of the masses has stripped civil society of much of its appeal. And into that void has stepped the extremists, (prodded, funded, and supplied by the venal and unthinkably wealthy Wahabi forces within Saudi Arabia), with their emotional rhetoric, their simple and austere answers, and their death grip over a largely illiterate and hope-free citizenry. The fear and general distaste that many Pakistanis feel toward the Islamists may not be enough to balance the reality that increasingly few see reason to believe in the existence of a principled and capable alternative. The Islamists are greeted with both hatred and passionate support. The civil authorities are met with hatred and indifference. It’s not hard to see the dogmatists acquiring control.

Added to all of this is the possibility that the Shi’a-Sunni divide which has plunged Iraq into civil war could overtake Pakistan as well. Ninety were killed in a Karachi bombing that targeted Sunnis a year ago. Retaliations are regular and savage. If the lid every really and truly comes off in Iraq, the odds of an all out conflagration in Pakistan are not insubstantial.

A country of 160,000,000 mostly desperately poor people…a toothless and unpopular government…corruption that has rotted the system, stands in the way of progress, and left the vast majority with no faith in the system at all…well-funded and wild-eyed religious extremists…ethnic and religious tensions that could sink a more functional society…nuclear weapons, frighteningly few controls over who will have access to the weapons, and many inviting targets in the area. All of this seems like so much balanced against little more than an inherent decency of the people and a history of already surviving sixty years against some mighty odds.

Again, it is not quite a prediction. And I can’t stress how little this conveys a wish. But my quivering gut tells me: “Pakistan will implode”.

h3. My Take

There is no Pakistan, the article says – but to a great extent there never has been. The political fiction that the tribal areas in FATA are part of Pakistan has always been just that, fiction through and throughout. It’s not even the taliban, or Al-queda – the tribal areas have always governed themselves without much, or any involvement from the rest of Pakistan – so over the decades that area has become ungovernable. Warlords with private armies control large areas, supported by drug smuggling and various other activities – all legal in that area as the warlords define there own laws.

There are so many private armies all over the country, roaming around unchecked that it boggles the mind. You can just head off in any direction and find one, and none seem to be particularly bothered by any govt. or army crackdown.

There is no “normal” economic activity as you would find in other countries, or even the rest of Pakistan, as the money earned from smuggling and drugs is enough to support large parts of the populations, and gives them the ability to completely suppress over 50% of the population (i.e the women). Drug money and imported goods has enabled the tribal areas to become even more backwards in their lifestyles and thoughts, belonging more to the pre-Islam dark ages than the witch hunts of medieval Europe than anything today.

Is Pakistan falling apart? It’s been falling apart for the last 50 years. and it’s quite likely that the fall might continue for a few more decades – but the rate of falling seems to be exponentially increasing.

As with any complex system, it’s hard (and futile) to make predictions, but it’s clear that there are cracks and fissures everywhere, and parts of the country have already left the fold.

9 thoughts on “Why Pakistan Will Implode”

  1. Firstly, u remained stick to some places during ur stay in Pakistan and with that ur analysis is totally unrealistic and perhaps, pre-occupied by reports of western propaganda.

    as u said,

    “Pakistan is not a nation. Urdu is the official language…and roughly ten percent of the population speaks it.”

    Pakistan doesn’t not based on any specific culture or language. The only thing which unite them is Islam. Its creation is based on two nation theory & remember urdu originate from different languages of the sub-continent and this is the only tool to communicate with anyone throughout Pakistan.

    “There is currently a low intensity civil war in the Waziristan region of the Tribal Areas”

    Who forced Pakistan to initiate this war? America. Who is the great beneficiary of this destabilization? America! Perhaps u forget to mention the terrorist activities of America in Iraq and Afghanistan & now it has been proved that America, Russia , India they all are playing role in creating this chaos (terrorist activities ) in Pakistan. Ammunition and money is being provided to the terrorists and militants by these respective countries.

    “The vast majority of the population is undereducated, malnourished, and at most a step or two away from absolute desperation. Adding to this is the exploding wealth of the upper crust. People I know drop $100,000 on a dinner party.”

    I want to laugh at this point. U r right that there is poverty and few families are enjoying the best but I don’t know why u people forget about ur country or other countries. Give some comparison and then conclusion. I mean that’s so pathetic way of analysis.

    “That’s simply too many people for country with limited resources and little functional infrastructure.”

    You didn’t even visit the whole or small part of Pakistan and u r using the world “limited resources”. I want to laugh again…lolz. Well ! Pakistan have resources the only requirement is proper utilization. thats it.

    “Pakistan is one of the most corrupt societies on earth.”

    There is a lot of corruption in Pakistan. Can u publish the statistics of other countries which pushed u to give such unrealistic analysis and m damn sure that u don’t have. By publishing the few stories you can’t prove that.

    “There are so many private armies all over the country, roaming around unchecked that it boggles the mind.”

    Again the same question ! Can u publish the list of areas where u visit and upon which u r giving such statements. Can u publish some statistics?

    Remember, u can’t prove anything on the basis of ur illusion or hypothesis. To conclude something we need solid facts and figures. You are history teacher and perhaps history doesn’t require facts and figures. But In real life we need to see all part of the situation before coming up with solid analysis.

  2. The american is a fucking lunatic with some serious issues he faced in early childhood. Hes doesnt know SHIT about our country. We dont need your “Analysis” .Fuck Off! bastard!

  3. I’ll tell you all why Pakistan is the greatest and the most powerful nation on the planet. THis is because you have country formed on strong religious beliefs under which all its people are united. Every country in the west has been trying to somehow, break the country it knows is going to cause harm just because it has the potential and the technology to cause harm if provoked.

    The Americans, the Indians, The British and our dear Israelis are all part of a great plan to get rid of Pakistan. Unfortunately, they forgot that this is a country of people who would rather sleep hungry on sidewalks than sell their national integrity and their devotion to their families and motherland.

    In fact, we would readily embrace sacrifice (shahdat) than to submit to you twisted fools (read-neocons) who are in a spell by the Jews. These low-lifes think that by help the jews, they would ensure the coming of Jesus. Well I have news for you whckos, the Jews have a history for turning the gun on their benfactors, we have Moses, Jesus, and Adolf Hitler (whose only fault was that he chose to punish the people who deceived his country by rebelling against the people).

    It is indeed a fact that some western fools who do not even own the wealth of their nation (FED reserve is a private entity in the hands of Jews) just do not have the moral capacity to judge a nation as morally independent as The Great Pakistan.

  4. I am not American, I am from EU lived in Pakistan. Unfortunately, I agree mostly with the analysis and I have the same impression about Pakistan. Where I dont agree with the analysis was, India also is ethnically, linguistically diverse with lot of fault lines, utter poverty, illiteracy and corruption. However, India not only survived as a nation but is on course to set an example to the rest of the world, how to survive as a pleuralistic society. Many sociologists try to explain the differences between Pakistan and India but failed miserably.

    For those of Pakistani people who vehemently deny the reality, better grab your bags and run…get the hell out of Pakistan. I only pray that Pakistanis dont pull the entire region and the world down with them. Implosion of Pakistan is a blessing in disguise. Simply, the provinces can survive as saparate countries with their own resources. They dont have to sit watch the Punjabi Paksitanis plunder their natural resources and leave them poor while the Punjabi Pakistani army bomb the leaders of Sindh, Balochistan etc.

    Ultimately, Pakistan should be allowed to stay as a country (Limited to Punjab) if it gives up Nukes and limit the army size, just like Germany and Japan after WWII.

  5. Ideally., i would wish that India + Pakistan + Bangladesh join hands together to form a confederation. Sooner the better. Otherwise its destruction, and holocaust all the way.. every 5 or 10 years.

  6. Down but not Out

    Indeed, any talk of Balkanization or breakup of Pakistan is extremely distressing. Whereas

    the analysis by you in your article have its merits, its the conclusion and underlying

    focus is what I find uncanny.

    A few points I would like to draw our attention to:

    1. Whereas it is true that their is unrest in Pakistan at almost every level (and the reasons for

    this distress are large and varied). And that Pakistan is a composition of five distinct ethnic

    cultures and that the division between provinces is based on these lines… it will be wrong to

    transpose these facts into a valid argument for breakup.

    We all know that many countries in the world are an amalgam of many cultures and

    religions; would the same hold true for them?

    USA by name is a collection and a melange of a variety of people. Anglo Saxons, Irish,

    Italians, Hispanics, Africans, Chinese, Indians, Native Americans etc. Than there are

    religions. And the Blacks v/s the White. (Census Bureau of US predict that the minority

    population will comprise fully half the U.S. population by the year 2050.) So by the same

    argument, should one wish to divide these people, he would find many platforms at hand.

    Canada has two national Languages. India has a plethora of ethnic minorities. In-fact, most

    geographically large countries have more than one kind of people who may differ culturally,

    religiously or in terms of cast, creed, color etc.

    2. The talk of Balkanization of Pakistan is in tandem with the breakup of the entire region on

    ethnic, cultural and religious grounds. (Case in point: Turkey’s Army trying to quash Kurd

    uprising.) So is this just Pakistan in question? No, its the entire region. Another strong

    argument that the unrest and, any liberation movements thereof, whether in Pakistan, Turkey

    or Iraq, are externally motivated, rather than internally.

    3. Lets try and reverse engineer the phenomenon.

    Lets hypothesize: You are a member of a think tank of the West (say Neo Zionists) whose

    agenda is to develop strategies to further the interests of West in this region. (where your values

    stem from serving your own interests and of your people at most).

    You are tasked with three major objectives:

    A. Take Control of Natural Resources.

    Lets bear in mind:

    i. Ironic as much as it may seem, the 90% progress, technology, advances and the ability to

    create wealth is poised on one single factor: OIL. (No OIL… Go back to the dark ages).

    ii. The more developed you are, the more you rely on OIL. i.e. Oil shortage would have

    exponentially larger effect on US economy than say on Afghan economy.)

    iii. 30% of world Oil supply passes through the Strait of Hormuz, right across Gawadar.


    B. Capture consumer markets (as against Japanese, Korean and Chinese Brands) and promote

    your brands as that is the key to create wealth. And captive markets are a lot easier to handle

    than markets open to fair competition.

    C. To create strong consumption patterns for Western Brands (which is not limited to their

    cars and softwares but includes their music, liquor, jeans and colas) it is but a must to invade

    these regions culturally so as to create a universal global consumption culture.

    D. Neutralize any impending military threat: Denuclearize.

    Such a capability is not only the biggest obstacle in achieving these objectives but it has two

    adverse side effects:

    a. It gives psychological advantage and boost the morals of the host nation to encourage them to resist above mentioned designs.

    b. It provides weaker neighboring countries with a role model which may pave way to form alliances in the form of a “block” on its own.

    What strategies would you come up with?

    Easy: Divide and Rule.

    (To date, the United States has spent over $507 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).

    So reading again your article, it seems that comments are uni-directional and choose to omit certain trends and facts.

    But regardless of your intent, direction or purpose, we as Pakistanis are faced with the the

    specter of civil unrest. As much as the situation a result of external motivation (conspiracy

    theories); a huge failing lies on our part as a group of people. As once commented by Allama

    Iqbal, and I translate, rather poorly though, ” the grief is not that the convoy has been

    robbed, but it is its sense of loss that has been robbed”.

    No matter how many communities happen to live in a society or a social order, it is only

    through the institutionalizing of Justice (whereas democracy is a part of this institution) that

    endow them with a sense of security that fosters togetherness.

    And thats where the guilt is not limited to Pakistan alone, but its a trend that manifests itself

    through the lengths and breadths of the entire Muslim world.

    Imagine, if there were an independent judiciary in KSA, what would happen? The judiciary

    will question the King to prove in the court of law that he is the best person to lead his people on merit. If

    he doesn’t, he would have to go. The Kingdom will be no more. Instead, the country will be a democracy.

    But that can only happen where justice reigns supreme. But no sir! Not in the Muslim

    countries. The royal families and dictators must be above the law. As they are the law unto

    themselves. And when they die, its their son, or whosoever in their divine wisdom they

    declare, is the next torch bearer, must be our leader.

    And where there is no Kingdom, we have the Bhuttos and the Gaddaffis or the Army who

    must rule us generation after generation (Case in point: Bilawal and his remark on

    democracy as “the sweet revenge” while assuming leadership solely on the basis of his birth.

    Someone to whom the leadership is passed on as family furniture).

    Same is true for the UAE, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Gulf countries, et al.

    And our failing is that we as people, allow ourselves to take these insults to our intelligence,

    and our status, time after time. We as people have psychologically become dependent to have

    Masters. We have embraced our slavery.

    To my surprise most ex-pats I have met who have lived or worked in the Gulf, specially in

    KSA, loathe their people. So what makes a society or a group of people worthy of so much

    hatred? (Maybe the same is true for Pakistanis). Whereas, the ex-pats living in the west,

    have, but mostly but praise for the people in the societies they are living in. Why?

    Because the toll of slavery is severe: It contorts values. Allowing illegitimate leadership to

    guide us makes us the illegitimate followers. The status only fosters deviant thinking and

    results in contorted personalities. Where the role models for success are the people who have

    assumed status illegitimately, actually pass on the message that thats how the success is


    And what is illegitimate is what is criminal. And following these role models… can take us

    where we as a society are: deceit and lie are a part of everyday life. Corrupted to our core,

    we do not shame for a second to call ourselves the Pure “Pak”. Whereas ironically, the only

    way to loose the state of purity is to become corrupt. A recipe for en-mass failure. Failed


    So what’s the cure?

    Freeing from one dynasty or one dictatorship is not the cure either. As we have seen one

    tyrant go only to be taken over by another; varying only in form and guise – military or civil.

    The cure is in the institutionalizing of Justice.

    Oversimplified some would say. Lets examine.

    “Declaration of Independence

    IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed

    by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the

    pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,

    deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of

    Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to

    abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and

    organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety

    and Happiness.”

    Lets assume, through some miracle, we have a real independent and able Judiciary. How

    would these change things?

    Firstly, we will have a legitimate leadership. Not only on top but across the board. That is,

    we will have only those people as our torch bearers who truly are the worthiest of the lot.

    They are there not because they are someone’s son or nephew. Nor are they the ones who

    have sold their soles to devil for worldly gains. Nor are they there for fame and glory. But

    they are there because they love their people. They are willing to sacrifice their gains for the

    gains of their people (Case in point: Muhammad Ali Jinnah). They are talented and trained.

    They have the hindsight and the foresight. They can not be traded, bought or sold. They are

    the true leaders. And they have a solid track record to prove their merit. With such leaders at

    helm, anarchy dies.

    Too far fetched? Lets ask ourselves if our people were to ask us to come forward for them

    would we not?

    And this presents us with a culture that fosters merit and fair-play. So if someone wants to

    succeed, he would have to compete on merit and talent. They wouldn’t need uncles in high

    places to secure tenders. Nor would they think to get away with murder.

    Justice has its own chain reaction: the corruption disappears; resources are shared on the

    principal of justice. No segment of society is maltreated. Everyone comes mainstream.

    Everyone buzzes with the energy of common goals and common goodness. Crime has no


    Would such people want to breakup on ethnic or cultural grounds? Would such people want

    to breakup on any ground?

    Would such people would ever want to think to live without each other?

    Would we ever entertain such a notion?

    Lets say no to injustice at every level starting from ourselves. Rest will fall into place.

    There’s only one thing Allah has wished for humans: Not to commit injustice.

    On the day of Judgement, we will let ourselves down only if we have registered injustice in

    our book of deeds (Aa’maal Na’ma).

  7. I don’t think Pakistan would implode. Pakistan has already imploded. It is a state which doesn’t function as a state. Constant flux in political systems and flimsy institutions (poor excuse for a bunch of opportunistic people) just says one thing, NOTHING works in Pakistan, as of NOW. Minus the American dollars, which has kept it afloat, it would have been bankrupt long time back. What’s happening in SWAT rightnow, is Pakistan’s ONLY institution with any functioning capability, killing its own people who have turned against them, and displacing more than 2.5 million internal refugees. Pakistan has stopped growing, since its entire premise of foundation / birth is based on a very primitive , almost unexceptable logic, i.e. Muslims can’t be and shouldn’t be governed by any other people from another race / religion. Only 2 countries are based on religion, Pakistan and Isreal, both are not at peace within themselves, and their neighbours. Pakistan needs to ACCEPT its limitations and short comings. Ignoring is making it much worse. WAKE UP!

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