In 1947 British India was bifurcated, and two independent states were born-India and Pakistan. The happiness of independence was accompanied by the sorrow and grief of partition. Dominion of India is today Republic of India (secular state), and dominion of Pakistan is the Islamic state of Pakistan and People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
We will discuss here some of the failures of Pakistan, what were the assertions they made and what are the realities of those assertions. Crises ridden Pakistan is far from what Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned it.
Ian Talbot, a historian of Pakistan has written that the 70 years of independence of Pakistan has shown that ‘language and religion, rather than providing a panacea for unity in a plural society, have opened a Pandora’s box of conflicting identities’.
Why was Pakistan created?
Due to the separatist policies of British and years of rivalry between the Hindus and Muslims the country could not ignore the imminent partition. Muslims demanded recognition of their religion and equal participation in governance, which was not fulfilled by the Indian leaders. Hence Jinnah came up with the demand of separate Muslim nation- Pakistan.
All three parties were responsible for the formation of Pakistan-The British, Indian National Congress and The Muslim League. Idea propounded in 1923 by V D Sawarkar took a shape in Jinnah vision in 1940 Lahore Resolution. Other organisations like Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtra Swamsewak Sang (RSS) also played the role.
VD Savarkar, in his presidential address to the Hindu Mahasabha in 1937, when he said,* “India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary, there are two nations in the main, Hindus and Muslims, in India.” The Muslim League adopted the theory later. Hence, Chaudhary Rehmat Ali presented the two-nation theory due to religious issues, and Jinnah was the spokesperson for the idea.
The motive of creation of Pakistan was to create a land for Muslims, where they can form their own government and protect themselves from any form of discrimination or any annihilation of the religious right. The dream was to establish an Islamic state that was secular in nature, and religion was supposed to be the essence.
When the Partition of India finally occurred, Jinnah, soon-to-be Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan, outlined his vision of Pakistan in an address to the Constituent Assembly, delivered on 11 August 1947. He spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all.
Which is the other modern state created in the name of religion?
(hint: it has become a pain for Palestinians)
Is it same as dreamed by its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah?
It’s far from what it was conceived; rather, it is everything that Jinnah detested in his lifetime. Today Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries to live in. It was supposed to be a modern democracy, but this dream was killed soon after the death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1948 and assassination of his closest comrade Liyaquat Ali.
Had Jinnah and Liaquat been alive for a decade or more, the condition might have been different or less damaged than it actually is. In these decades of failed government, Pakistan fell into the hands of the military many times.
There are many reasons for this. Some of them are:
- most of the effective leaders were assassinated
- the crime rate is abysmally high
- there is an average of more than one suicide bombing every week
- leaders like Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were spectacularly corrupt and so is the system
- accused of supporting terrorists like Osama Bin Laden and others living on the land of Pakistan
- Huge debt burden
- Falling economy
- Border issues with neighbour
- Loss of eastern Pakistan
Has the economy of Pakistan failed?
Along with an accelerated GDP since 2012, the country has made significant improvements in energy and security. But the level of foreign investment and pace of development is sluggish due to decades of corruption and unstable government.
Economic mismanagement and unwary financial policies lead to increased public debt and slow growth.
War with India and separation of Bangladesh further pushed the country into recession. Privatisation and liberalisation brought some respite to the economy, but it was not well managed by the officials.
Financial deterioration is the most obvious failure any country faces; it breaks the backbone of people, and they fall into the never-ending loop of unemployment and poverty.
After 2013 Pakistan’s been recovering at a slower pace, crippled with a high budget deficit, hyperinflation and colossal debt. Although the damage’s been already done and is irreversible. Only time and honest efforts through the years can put Pakistan back on track of development.
What is the condition of democracy in Pakistan?
With the government failing at enforcement of anti-corruption laws, and laws against financing the terrorism and money laundering, Pakistan remains an unstable democracy that is threatened by sectarian and terrorist violence.
Decades of military rule in Pakistan by people such as Mohammad Zia Ul Haq, the longest-serving military officer to rule the country since 1977 has fulfilled two goals:
- Made Pakistan a Nuclear state, in order to match India’s nuclear proficiency
- Creating in Pakistan a genuine Islamic order. He filled the important ranks with the people sympathetic with Islamic radicalism and encouraged the growth of schools that taught fanaticism.
In this, he was supported by America financially and politically. Besides Mohammas Zia Ul Haq other leaders of Pakistan like General Musharraf, too supported Islamic fanaticism in Pakistan, which later on resulted in the rise of militancy.
Unlike India, Pakistan never succeeded in building a strong middle class, a prerequisite for a stable democracy. With corrupt leaders and frequent military coups, the future of Pakistan is bleak.
The current government of Imran Khan is also failing in delivering the promises it made. The party song of Imran Khan “tabdeeli” is more or less the same as “ache din” – still to come.
Note: Pakistan is anything but a nation following Islamic tradition. (if you equate it with Islam, correct your vision before it overshadows your perception of religion)
These outcomes or repercussions are not peculiar to Pakistan but every nation that gives prominence to religious fanaticism. A wise nation would introspect and would never let itself slip into extremism or sectarian politics.
Pakistan should act as a living example of a zealot country, and its consequences should be taken into cognisance while thinking of converting a country into a theocracy. Fanaticism and nationalism are two things that should never intermingle with the governance of a nation; moreover, religious belief should remain confined to the private realm. Doing so will be good for citizens of a nation, their economy and their overall freedom.
Political and social instability leads to a failed economy and a burdened system, that is avoided by foreign investors and tourists. Ultimately affecting the credibility of the nation and growth prospects.
It’s high time that citizens of every nation look into their surroundings and not fall for anti-social elements. This is essential for the establishment of peace in any country and to ensure a country’s participation in growth and progress. As nothing else will help in making one’s environment peaceful and progressive if they don’t challenge the forces that are hindering their growth and jeopardizing peace.
* source, Hindustan Times: Blaming the Congress for Partition is a travesty, Counterview: Savarkar in Ahmedabad ‘declared’ two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later.