Who is to be blamed for the mess created in Pakistan?


By: Zubair Khan

Daily deteriorating situation of Pakistani nation draws our attention to have an honest in depth analysis of the factors contributing to this pathetic state. Since last 60 years several so called high statured civil and military leaders got the rein of power pledging to build the nation on strong footing. However in spite of all the tall claims made by these high status leaders where nation stands today is well known not only to each Pakistani but to the whole world also.  Nation-building in fact is an analytical tool, focusing on the conditions and developments that leads to the establishment of Nation-States; and it provides a policy to actually create Nation-States.  While applying this analytical tool towards the efforts of Pakistan nation building one can conclude that it consists of two major elements:

One is the  state apparatus, which actually fulfills its functions on all of the national territory. Last 60 years history of Pakistan divides the state apparatus in to two major sub parts:

a.       Militray state apparatus, mainly comprising of top brass of GHQ and corps commanders of Pakistan Army.

b.      Civil state apparatus, mainly comprising of president, prime minister, cabinet ministers, all governors, ministers at provincial level as well members of senate, national and provincial assemblies.

Two is the people apparatus commonly known as society, with its several elements communicating more often with each other than with outsiders.

Recently propped up Zardari Health and Mansoor Ejaz memo scandals once again have opened the Pandora box of discussion about the location of actual epicenter of power in Pakistan which in fact plays the main role for nation building. Every Pakistani till today is asking, “Where is the state apparatus of the country and who is actually running this apparatus”? Questions are raised that after Liaqat Alin Khan, during the last 60 years, did any civil government of Pakistan ever enjoy the legitimate power of the country?  Many quarters forward clear cut and very obvious answer in a big “NO” to this question.   To substantiate this claim a recent example has again been quoted in the media with reference to Mitt Romney, who is US Republican and presidential frontrunner and commented in a recent speech: “The right way to deal with Pakistan is to recognize that Pakistan is not a country, like other countries, with a strong political centre that you can go to and say, Hi guys, can we come here, will you take care of this problem?’” Most observers would agree that Pakistan’s armed forces are the strong centre in the country that one could go to for taking care of any problem. For over 60 years, successive US administrations from Eisenhower to Obama have either dealt directly with military governments or civilian setups backed by the Pakistan military to get things done. A few phone calls from an American secretary of state to a military president saw to it that Pakistan got on the right side in the ‘war on terror’. The US should also have learned by now that bypassing the Pakistan military in major decisions results in friction and conflict”.

In a recent Policy Matter talk show of Dunya TV on the topic of memo scandal, a very experienced defense analyst, General (Retd) Tallat Masood also very rightly pointed out about long prevailing imbalances between civil and military establishments of Pakistan and agreed to the fact that the deep insecurities prevailing within the civilian leadership that often clouds its behavior and actions can be attributed to an unfair power equation, which is skewed so completely in favor of Pakistan military. Take the recent case of former Pakistan Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, who was forced to resign for allegedly soliciting and offering concessions for external assistance to counter the military threat to democratically elected set up of the country. Same is true for elected President of Pakistan, who due to the alleged involvement in memo scandal, was given option by the military brass to leave the country on the  pretext of deteriorating health thus paving the way for subsequent resignation from this post.

When we examine the civil apparatus , in spite of getting intermittently the rein of national power it did not change after independence and remained of “colonial” character, remaining a tool for controlling the population, instead of becoming an instrument for self-government.  Whenever the civil apparatus got the chance, the state was captured and instrumentalized by a small political elite, mainly feudal landlords, which consistently tried to exclude any competing counter-elites.  A combination of excessive corruption and pathetic under-performance of state structures today characterize Pakistan civil ruling elite resulting in to undercut of economic development and stable political conditions.

As for second element of nation building, the people or society is concerned, generally in Pakistan’s history, Nation-Building has always excluded the population, making it very difficult to transform it into a citizenry. Current Pakistani society has least integrative ideology, having ethnic trends, but also religious, racist, shaped along few other lines, hardly providing for integrating the subgroups of the inhabitants of a country into one society. Current society does not imply a “nation-wide” integration of geographic regions, economic sectors, and politics. It also does not presuppose a functioning infrastructure and intellectual discourse of “national” scale. The people have been mere onlookers either to military brass or to politicians. Sometimes either they identify with specific military general or politician, but this often was hardly more than an audience applauding a cricket team: it was to identify with someone else, not being an actor oneself as such National Identity remained shallow and could hardly develop. On many important occasions or on upheavals the people of Pakistan have never risen or shown a living nation character. Almost on all such occasions the society surrendered itself either to the will of military brass or to the feudal landlord corrupt politicians.  Even the partition of the country in 1971 was digested by this nation as a routine phenomenon.

After having briefly analyzed the reputation, characteristics of the Pakistani military brass, civil elite and people of Pakistan and the role of each in nation building one can very easily conclude that it is the people or society of Pakistan which is responsible for all the mess either created in the past or even existing today.  Unless the society is not realizing its obligations for nation building and coming out from its self conceived capsule nothing is going to change in this country. People of Pakistan can make considerations to follow the role model of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.  Current hue and cry of change in country looks like just the cosmetic surgery of the faces. Instead of Zardari, Gilani, Sherif, Hussain, people will hear Khan, Shah and Qureshi.  Remote control will remain in the clutches of military brass and newly inducted civil state elite will be acting just like decorated pieces in the show case.  However if people of Pakistan decide to come out from their self made capsule and honestly fulfill their obligations and strive for their rights real change in  nation building can be accomplished.

Categories: Asia, Pakistan

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