A Failed Entity - VII

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Jul 2017 10:23:05

ISSUES & NON-ISSUES

By Vijay  phanshikar

Pakistan may not have been created under a negative cosmic spell, but it was certainly formed by countless negative forces with diverse objectives, some stated and some unstated. All those forces have been in an eternal internal conflict in Pakistan since its formation.

Since Pakistan’s dismemberment in 1971, national security has been an obsession with the State. The education system and popular discourse has changed the notion of nationalism and patriotism has been defined in terms of militarism, nuclear prowess and xenophobia against India; this paranoia has now grown to the extent that almost the entire world is somehow plotting against Pakistan and it needs to ‘defend’ itself. The rise of a new right-wing nationalism, therefore, is aided by these historical factors. However, the last ten years of Pakistan’s involvement in the war on terror and inability of its political elite to arrive at an alternative narrative has given rise to an extra-ordinary consensus and consequently the ‘force model’ ...

-Raza Rumi, in his scholarly book Fractious Path - Pakistan’s Democratic Transition, Chapter titled ‘Consensus Vital For Democracy’,Harper CollinsIndia, Paperback.

THERE may not be a better description of Pakistan’s collective mindset than this. It highlights the country’s frustration and helplessness as well as its desire to regroup and start hitting back. When a country makes a systematic effort to build a xenophobic society, its inner strength starts waning. For, in that case, the society starts focusing something uncalled for, something which it can actually do without. There could be nothing more energy-sapping than such a condition. For the past 45 years, Pakistan has suffered from this kind of a psyche that has diverted its vital energies to something negative.

Scholar after scholar, whether a Pakistani or anybody else, has therefore focused on such fault-lines which the Pakistani society has allowed to show up in its internal systems. In the process, Pakistan’s political elite has often found itself helpless, not knowing how to respond to uncalled for militarism which also reflects itself in the uncouth connect this class maintains off and on with various terror groups.

It is a common practice for political parties in Pakistan to keep a need-based but close relationship with terror groups. These marriages get solemnised or divorced time and again as the need is. No matter this not-so-funny situation, the terror groups have acquired a terrible say for themselves in Pakistan’s public discourse over the past 45 years.

Slowly and inexorably, thus, Pakistan has been moving dangerously close to a precipice over which it may get thrown in some time to come, as many Pakistan-watchers apprehend. In the opinion of countless experts, this is nothing but a sign of a failed State that has lost its sense of purpose and meaning of existence. Even though many attempts have been made time and again by some political sections to re-introduce democratic processes in the country, the success is often limited. For, whenever that appears to be happening, terror-groups pounce upon the handful of people attempting the impossible and demolish the hope their efforts may be building.

In another chapter titled ‘Pakistan’s Crumbling Institutions’, Raza Rumi says: “Pakistan’s instability is a cliche`, almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. All the theoretical ingredients for stability are there: An elected Government, a strengthened Parliament, a working relationship between the Government and the Opposition, and above all a free media and an independent judiciary. Despite such a promising milieu, there is chaos, misgovernance, and instability all around. The paranoid conspiracy theorists, would, of course, blame the enemies of Pakistan, which range from India to Israel and from the United States to the Qadianis. The astrologers insist that Pakistan was created under a negative cosmic spell. However, the answer to the conundrum of Pakistan’s instability lies in the way its State was fashioned in or rather sustained after 1947....”

The point is pertinent and everybody who has tried to study Pakistan as a State has arrived more or less at a similar conclusion. For, everyone is staring at Pakistan as a failed entity, to say the least. There is only one reason that comes to fore in this regard: Pakistan may not have been created under a negative cosmic spell, but it was certainly formed by countless negative forces with diverse objectives, some stated and some unstated. All those forces have been in an eternal internal conflict in Pakistan since its formation. And most horribly, Pakistan’s ruling elite indulged in a few cardinal sins: One, they were self-seekers beyond imagination; two, they were willing to sell national interest at the drop of a hat; three, they did not mind inviting terror groups to their own country -- to plunder it, to rape it, to destroy it. Most unfortunately, the terror groups worked in tandem with some fundamentalist forces whose idea of Islam often clashed with the tenets of civilised Islamic world without reason, without logic.
Add to this paranoia that the whole world is against Pakistan, and the dirty picture is complete. Add also to it the xenophobia against India, and the filth goes beyond imagination. And such things can happen only in a failed entity like Pakistan.

Raza Rumi has been a journalist, civil servant, diplomat and a scholar. He spent much of his life in Pakistan writing studied articles in the hope of contributing to public discourse. But after very dangerous and near-successful assassination attempts on him, he shifted to the United States where he is making a signal contribution to public discourse. It is not difficult to understand the trauma people like him have been made to face in Pakistan.

Such things may be happening in other societies as well, but in Pakistan, their extent is terrible, to say the least. For, it is in Pakistan that negative elements have found a sanctuary where they thrive in a safe haven.  It is improper to predict that Pakistan would collapse on some day in future. It is also improper to expect that to happen. May it live on. Yet, looking at its overall condition that does not allow any positive force to operate properly, the only conclusion one arrives at is that Pakistan is a failed entity, no matter what the future is. And, unfortunately, one does not know if there is a solution.