Pakistan became a country based on unfounded fear, because of the thought of becoming a minority in a new independent India. In 1947 Muhammad Ali Jinnah -the founder of Pakistan- was secular in nature and his whole reasoning was to ensure Muslims had a fair chance for development after independence, but all this simply became a memory after he passed away. Pakistan could have been one of the great countries of the world if it had not deviated from the path and vision of Jinnah who firmly believed in the separation of Church and state, but instead Pakistan choose a different path, a path riddled with mistakes and lost opportunities. The believe was to create a liberal society; however it has now become the host of hard-line Islam and intolerance. Here is a look at some of the greatest mistakes made by Pakistan.
- Becoming an Islamic State
In democracy every citizens should be treated equally and religion should stay far away from politics. But this does not happen all the time and with Pakistan the first step to all the problems which they are facing right now begins with adopting Islam in 1956 as the State religion which has seriously undermined other religious minority. If we look at history there was never really a nation called Pakistan that ever existed and I suppose in order to have an identity the decision to become an Islamic nation was taken. In the words of Thomas Jefferson the 3rd President of United States and framer of their constitution.
“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities”
- Land reform and feudalism
“In most of Pakistan it is a feudal country. People are very scared and oppressed by authority”
After independence India aggressively started land reform movement and this helped many people all over India. But in Pakistan no such action was taken because Pakistan still suffers from feudalism with powerful landlords controlling the lives of the peasants. The agriculture sector is responsible for half of Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and major export earnings also came from the agro based industry and sinceit has been estimated that 5 % of Pakistan population owns more than two-thirds of the land the economic and political clout which they enjoyisunparallel. Also they are the biggest tax defaulters in Pakistan which has caused problems for the exchequers. Also large tracts of lands have been purchased by Middle Eastern oil rich countries like United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for their own food security, even though there is foodshortage in Pakistan.
In India we suffer from dynastic politics but not as much as in Pakistan because the majority of politicians are the biggest landowners and this is the irony. Those who sit in the corridors of power in Pakistan are the very same people who commit crimes like bonded labor and they are the same people one has to go and seek justice which has rendered hundreds and thousands of people in perpetual bonded slavery.
- State of Education
Pakistan has a very poor track record when it comes to education and has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. The illiteracy rate in Pakistan is a staggering 42 % of which boys account to 79% and female 61%. Though over the years many steps have been taken to improve literacy but due to abject poverty many children have to work in fields or as laborers and for girls since child marriage is still practiced in many parts, formal education is still a bridge too far. Instead poor children are educated in many of the Madrasas were more emphasis is given on Jihad rather than academic excellence.
According to Dr.Madiha Afzal who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution the problem in Pakistan is that
“Pakistan also crucially suffers from a lack of political will from the centre for deep policy changes with regard to our biased curricula and ineffective teaching methods”.
- Islamization of Pakistan
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil governmentand in every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own”
After Pakistan became an Islamic state in 1956 one can still say that the majority public were not so much radicalized as it is today were the voice of a liberal is silenced by bombs or bullets. This was all started by Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who took power from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a carefully planned coup d’ etat in 1977. Later he had Bhutto executed and then he started the Islamisation of Pakistan by introducing Sharia Laws and the highly controversial Hudud Ordinance which completely changed the Pakistan society. Several books have been written about the Islamisation of Pakistan by journalist and scholars and about the impact this has had and the consequences. This made the clergy in Pakistan very powerful entity and that has interfered in the growth and relations with other countries. The voice of liberal has been simply muffled and many have been on the receiving end of the barrel of a gun or a suicide bomber at behest of the clergy like the late Pakistani politician Salman Taseer.
When Thomas Jefferson was America’s ambassador to France and he became deeply suspicious of the Catholic clergy and called them a force of “reaction and ignorance” and that is what has happened in Pakistan now.
- A radicalized Military
It is a known fact that the Military i.e. the Army has always played an important role in Pakistan history. The army has been in control of the country for over 30 years which is very nearly half the period since independence. But all this while it was still a liberal institution and was not yet radicalized by religion. But when General Zia-ul-Haq took power he completely changed the military which can now be called the “World’s Foremost Radicalized Professional Islamic Armed Forces” and now Pakistan has Nuclear bombs and a successful payload delivery mechanism like Ballistic Missiles, which have leaders around the world very worried that one day the Pak Army might in a moment of “Religious Reactionary Response” might just launch a Nuclear tipped missile. Already it is fully hand and glove with various terrorist organizations within Pakistan and supports its function and even gives its highly trained personal to attack India.
- Sectarian Divide
Pakistan was created as a safe haven for Muslims, but unfortunately that is not the case. This country is now in the midst of a bloody sectarian violence between the dominant Sunni over the Minority Shia and Qadiani or Ahmadiyya which is an Islamic sect and people from this community have been deemed non-Muslims or stronger word heretics since 1974 and face constant discrimination and terror from the majority. Also there is a small population of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians who suffer daily at the hands of radical Sunnis. Religious places of these minorities have been attacked and many have died in frequent bombings. This has already led to a serious civilian strife within Pakistan. Also there is a major discontentment among the Baloch people because of the indiscriminate extra judicial killings. There have already been several insurgencies throughout the Baluchistan region since 1947. From the objective of creating a new country for Muslims, Pakistan is now become a country exclusive for Sunnis but one has to remember the father of the nation of Pakistan was a Shia.
- Lack of civilian control and Military intervention
At present there is a democratically elected government but everyone knows that without the tacit approval of the Army the civilian government cannot take any major policy decisions. Several domestic and foreign policy matters are dictated by the army’s senior commanders. This has caused a serious impediment on who really is in control because if the civilian authority wants to improve ties with India, the army would not allow it. We all know what happened after the Lahore Declaration of 1999 when the regular Pakistani army soldiers along with irregular state actors took over the Kargil hills in Indian Kashmir and strong rumors of Nuclear Missiles being deployed in the field. Every Nuclear Power countries command and control system has always been under the civilian Head of State, but it can be clearly stated that in Pakistan the control lies with the senior generals or the Army Chief Of Staff who have grown under the warped thinking of India as their number one enemy.
Bruce Riedel who is a senior fellow at the Brookings institute in an article which he wrote in June 2013 for Brookings wrote that, Nawaz Sharif said to him that if he ever crosses the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI)-Army-Taliban axis, America would next find his successor to be a bearded jihadist in a uniform.
- Mistrust with India
The term of endearment which Pakistan uses to describe India is that of Big Brother who has dealt wrongly with the little brother. Since 1947, India and Pakistan have been involved in 4 major wars and one can debate who got the better of whom. But that’s for politicians and Generals. But the point is war are fought with certain rules but this asymmetrical warfare which Pakistan has been waging against India has caused lot if strain in the relationship. The policy of extending one hand for friendship and the other to strike blows may no longer be tolerated under the new Government of NarendraModiand he may take a different approach if there is another 26/11 type attack. Pakistan blames India for helping sectarian violence in its country but it is a known fact that a destabilized Pakistan is not in the best interest of India and only improved trade relations can solve this problem. India has given Pakistan Most Favored Nation status but this has not been reciprocated.
The reason is simple, if relations with India improve and cross border terrorism is stopped, the army’s role will get deeply diminished and their influence will wan because the Pakistani Army cannot live without India “It is its bread and Butter”. It is this reason and the Constant Air of Mistrust which keeps the wheels of Pak Military running.
So much that the Pak Army will not allow the current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who wants to improve a beleaguered economy by boosting business ties with India and Former Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani warned him to go very slow with India. With so many problems internally like poverty, power cuts and an economy depended upon the alms given by the United States, they must realize that help is only next door but the Pakistani politician and more importantly the Military are “pathologically designed” to mistrust India.
- Inter Service Intelligence, Nuclear Proliferation and spread of Terror
The arm of Pakistan external spy agency which is the Indian equivalent of Research and Analysis Wing of India is the most dangerous spy agency in the world. Though one would argue it is the Israeli Mossad, but the fact is ISI is involved with some of the most dangerous terror organizations like the Haqqani Network, and global terrorist like GulbuddinHekmatyar and funding operations are old news. Terrorists are a very resourceful bunch but when they receive the support of professional clandestine operatives their strike capability increases tenfold which has led to such terror attacks on Indian Parliament and 26/11 Mumbai attack. This organisation acts under the direct control of Pakistani Army and sometimes after receiving their orders they use state actors for plausible deniability. And how they hid and protected Bin Laden is a question which must be answered.
The ISI was also involved in Nuclear proliferation both acquiring and selling technology and having worked so closely with the Taliban from the beginning and still providing various support and also having close ties with banned terror organisation has led to many radicalized personal working within the ISI who can be called rogue elementslike former retired ISI head General Hamid Gul who is often seen in the company of terrorists and gives his advice to terror organizations. Also ISI provides the support of the Pakistani Special forces the very covert Special Service Group (SSG) as advisors.
They are also heavily involved in Narco terrorism helping the Taliban sell the Heroin cultivated in Afghanistan to finance their operations. One can hardly blame them because they learned their trade craft from the Americans. Also the training and support which they gave to the Afghan Mujahedin helped them get better in asymmetrical warfare which was in turn used against India by using countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. At present the ISI is more threat to Pakistan then even India because its operational personal have become so radicalized and indoctrinated with Islam and Jihad, given the situation they will turn on the state itself. The Pak government has to be blind not to see that the ISI on one side is trying to beat the threat of Islamist and on the other side play footsy with them.
- The Taliban and other terror organizations
This group of religious zealots has received support and recognition from Pakistan Military from the beginning because they were the reminiscent of the Afghan war with the Soviets and the Pakistanis figured they could use them and control them as their proxy. But now this organisation is out of Pakistan’s hand and is now a direct threat to the very existence of Pakistan. After the invasion by the Americans in 2001 after the September 11 attacks the Taliban are now permanently based of Pakistan. They operate and attack the Americans and their various allies from which is what Pakistan wants, but more people have died within Pakistan after its government and Military had to support America or suffer its wrath. When the Taliban was being created and took control over Afghanistan and gave refuge to Al Qaeda did Pakistan realize what problems they will face in future? They supported them because they wanted a proxy government and stem India’s influence in Afghanistan but now this whole idea has backfired.
The mentee has now turned on the mentor and now the Pak Army which gave all the support to them has to now fight them. Terror organizations like the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and the rechristened Jamaat-ud-Dawa whose sole purpose is to spread mayhem in India and in other countries are running freely but they could easily turn on Pakistan. In the last few years the Pakistani civilians had to endure constant suicide attacks from the Pakistani Taliban which has led to many deaths. Many parts of Pakistan’s Northwest frontier are now under the control of the Pakistani Taliban and when the Americans will leave the surge to take back Afghanistan from the current administration will begin again and it is quite possible that the Taliban may not be just satisfied taking over Afghanistan but entire Pakistan.