A Failed Entity - IV

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Jun 2017 15:17:56

As a State that had its systems controlled by its own Government, Pakistan should have designed its own policies, its own priorities, its own plan with a long-distance vision. That did not happen. For, no sooner than it was formed did Pakistan become sort of a wild-life sanctuary in which beasts had all the say, in which jungle law operated without any hindrance, in which Islamic ideals became Islamist-jihadist ideology tormenting sanity.

“Pakistan has been characterised by scholars as, among other things, an ‘ideological state’ (like Israel), because of the political reinterpretation of Islam by its founding fathers, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah; a ‘garrison state,’ because of the key role of the military; and as a ‘terror state’, because of the rise of radical Islamic movements in its midst. But the trajectory may be best captured by another, encompassing, feature not contradictory with the qualifications mentioned above: its ability to navigate at the interface of domestic and external dynamics, which makes relevant two other formulas -- those of ‘client state’ and ‘pivotal state’.


- Opening paragraph of ‘Introduction’ titled ‘Pakistan, The Interface State’ by Christophe Jafferlot for Pakistan At The Crossroads - Domestic Dynamics and External Pressures , a collection of essays by experts drawn from two conferences at Columbia University, edited by Christophe Jafferlot,
(Random House India, 2016)

THERE may not be a better and more accurate and definitive description of Pakistan. When a country fails as a State, it does so because it happens to lose its identity and integrity -- for whatever reasons. By now, the world has come to believe that Pakistan has failed itself as a State almost totally. For, in the intervening years since its founding, Pakistan has assumed sobriquets such as ‘ideological State’, ‘garrison State’, ‘terror State’, and ‘client State’ and ‘pivotal State’. Each of these identities is truthful and each has pushed Pakistan to its doom in some measure.


This is, thus, a story of a country that is hardly itself at the start of journey just seventy years ago. This is also the story of a country whose leadership lacked the strength of character right from start, a few exceptions apart. Pakistan, thus, is a country whose leader mostly did not know what they were doing and where they were headed, besides being ignorant of the purpose of the country’s existence.


Of course, statedly, Pakistan was a promised land for Muslims, offering them a place of personal dignity and international honour in the comity of nations. Unfortunately, these two stated purposes seem to have been defeated by the very people who were supposed to be their custodians.
What happened to Pakistan internally might not have become the world’s problem. But when a failed State starts looking for justification of its failure outside its boundaries, it starts becoming a serious nuisance in no time. This is what has happened to Pakistan.


Right from the start, even before Pakistan started stabilising itself as a State, some elements in its ruling class grabbed an ugly moment and invaded Kashmir that had acceded to India officially. That was the first moment in Pakistan’s trajectory as a failed State. For, when before the Pakistani people and their leaders even realised how big or how small their national geography was or what was going to be the nature of the governance they were fated to have, the new country’s armies had concocted a story and invaded a neighbour. Thus, there could never be any more prophetic moment than this to declare that Pakistan would soon fail as a State.


Going by those developments, it can be said safely that Pakistan’s leaders started relinquishing their leadership role bit by bit to elements that were rank outsiders to the stated purpose of the new State. To the Islamist clergy, they relinquished some of their authority to define the nature of their country’s persona and allowed senseless theocratism to take over. To the military, they handed over some of their authority to make decisions that would push the country into a long-drawn conflict. To the extremists, they allowed an almost free use of their geography to spread terror. And to outside pressures and powers, they allowed Pakistan to be used a client of their ideas including commercial interest that ran counter to true national interests.


Now, Pakistan is all these -- an ideological State, a garrison State, a terror State, a client State that acts as pivotal State in somebody else’s plans.
Yes, someone else’s plan or plans. This is the starkest reality of Pakistan as a failed entity. As a State that had its systems controlled by its own Government, Pakistan should have designed its own policies, its own priorities, its own plan of development with a long-distance vision deep into future. That did not happen. For, no sooner than it was formed in August 1947 did Pakistan become sort of a wild-life sanctuary in which beasts had all the say, in which jungle law operated without any hindrance, in which Islamic ideals became Islamist-jihadist ideology tormenting sanity. For strange reasons, one after another, Pakistan’s rulers kept building certain madness into the official systems, so much so that the entity of the State could never stand on the ground of sensitivity and sensibility.


Parallely, however, the Pakistani society was flourishing -- despite ugly politics, despite dirty influence of the clergy on the method and manner of the Government, despite the havoc the military wreaked on the overall systems. Its cultural sensibilities, its literary capabilities, its arts and sciences -- all showed healthy signs of growth. Yet, all that development often came to a naught only because the Pakistan’s governmental system was always subservient to someone else’s plan and agenda. Naturally, as an entity, Pakistan never got an opportunity to build itself on solid ground.


What seemed like a natural process for India in the immediate neighbourhood looked like an impossible task for Pakistan. In India, development always remained the watchword, and growth was the logical outcome of a planned effort. Politics did slow down development, and corruption did hamper growth to a big extent in India. Yet, the overall trajectory often moved upward.


In sharp contrast, Pakistan showed exactly opposite signs on most parameters. And the Indian showing created a sense of deep frustration in Pakistani society. The common people in streets of Karachi and Rawalpindi realised that the Indian growth-story had the Government as a chief player; in Pakistan, the Government was non-existent.

By Vijay phanshikar