Part 5/7 : Pakistan on the verge of collapse and disintegration
Bengal went away on linguistic battles while “sunni-isation” of Pakistan is killing the Shias, Balochs, Sindhis and Pashtuns along with other minorities.
Geo-politically, US does not favor such a collapse but has consistently accelerated the pace by pouring aid, both civil and military, to prevent the collapse. But according to Steppen Kohen no one can help Pakistan not to be disintegrated even United states of America.
Pakistan’s millions are surely suffering.
Bruce Reidel makes a compelling American case for supporting a sham democracy in Pakistan. “A Jihadist, nuclear armed Pakistan is a scenario that must be avoided at all costs”. An Islamic take over in Pakistan would make the NATO’s mission in Afghanistan virtually untenable and there would be no pragmatic military options by NATO or India without allowing the world to descend into a catastrophic war.”
In Pakistan military is radicalized , as evident in Mehran Naval base incident, killing of OBL by US Navy Seals.
Army and Jihadies are in close contact with each other.
All scenarios and options only focus on the dominant Punjabi elites at the cost of provincial stability.
Pakistan’s geography , nuclear assets, terror infrastructure and fragile institutions are the vulnerabilities .
Chief of Army has not made a bid for a military coup to keep the taps of economic and military aid open. However, Army and ISI think that only they have the right to rule the government.
So it appears that for Pakistan to fail , the military must fail somehow. The cracks, though, are already visible where the Jihadis are making significant inroads into the military.
OBL killing, memogate, Mehran Naval base attack , Attack on Banu and Dera ismalek jail etc are all indicators pointing at the military division.
Bruce Riedel, in his book “Deadly Embrace” believes that there are more Zia’s in Pakistan military and that scares the US.
It is purely from this perspective that the military is above the same level of accountability as the elected politicians, as required for democratic consolidation.
Ian Talbot says that in the worst case scenario Pakistan could destroy itself in an arms race with India which its fragile economy could not ultimately sustain.
Something which if gone wrong may propel Pakistan into deeper disaster.
If some one hopes for better, its ok , but hope is neither a policy nor a planning factor.
A former ambassador to the Soviet Union once said , “I don’t know where Pakistan is heading, but once it gets there, I will explain to you why it was inevitable.”
Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the then director general of the ISI, told the Abbotabad commission that Pakistan had become “too weak”and dependent on Washington to take necessary actions to defend itself against US policies. We are a very weak state and also a very scared state,”Pasha told the commission.
Accordingly, Pasha testified: “We are a failing state, even if we are not yet a failed state.”
Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, the country’s then-defence minister, testified that he was “not kept in the loop all the time”by the bureaucracy and military regarding not just this incident, but the entire functioning of his department. On the morning of May 2, Mukhtar came to know of the raid not through the military or government chain of command, but through media reports and a phone call from his daughter, who resides in New York.
Faced with the clear risk of official Pakistani complicity in hiding bin Laden, United states had no choice but to move against him unilaterally.
Pakistan’s ethnic groups are not quite comparable, but all except Punjabi have faced the wrath of the central government as they have generated separatist or autonomous movements.
Pakistan has come to rely upon Islamist proxies to prosecute its interests in the region, beginning in 1947 in Kashmir and in Afghanistan. It is not Islam or religion that is the problem; it is how religion has been exploited by the state.
The most pessimistic of Pakistanis feel that the battle has been lost, and some seek refuge elsewhere.
For years, the military’s role in Pakistan has been central. It is not only an army of Pakistan, but one province, the Punjab, which is grossly overrepresented in both the officer corps and among the jawans.
So the army’s political intervention is not merely that of a state bureaucracy, but also affects Punjab’s relations with all of the other provinces.
Army and ISI don’t touch terrorist organizations which are Punjab-based.
One of the most devastating developments in Pakistan over the last forty years has been the systematic destruction of the state qua state. The state’s decision-making system has failed.
The New Media they are heavily self-censored and influenced by commentators with ties to the military and intelligence agencies.
Pakistan has played a dirty role in Afghan politics, largely through its support of the Taliban – first overt, now covert – but now there is also a reverse flow. Pakistan’s future will be shaped by developments in Afghanistan, which track back to Pakistan in three ways: Indian involvement in the country, the American presence, and the territorial dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pukhtuns living on both sides of the so called Durand line want to get rid of Paksitan and want to be an integral part of their motherland Afghanistan.
Pakistan viewed Washington’s commitment to advance Indian power with alarm. For the army and for many civilian strategists, it was proof that the United States had chosen India over Pakistan as its regional ally.
China has systematically expanded its role in South Asia, but nowhere more than in Pakistan, where it is the dominant outside power. Unlike with the Americans, Chinese criticism comes privately, not publicly.
China has an open field, with both politicians and generals making frequent trips to Beijing to firm up relations with China.
The trend of Globalization is the main factor of the time but Pakistan is not ready for it.
Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal, which seems unconstrained by financial shortfall or strategic logic.
Pakistan received almost all of its nuclear technology from other countries, and took advantage of globalization to create purchasing networks that stretched around the world. Later it used these networks to share its nuclear technology with several customers.
Furthermore, it has become the transit lounge and training center for jihadis of all varieties. Pakistan also became addicted to foreign assistance from major countries and international financial institutions, never really reforming its economy because it did not have to. Pakistan had religion built into its national identity and it moved in that direction. Militant Islamist organizations and parties filled the space created by the absence of the strong institutions.
Baloch, Pukhtuns , Sindhi and Mohajirs still have one eye on the possibility of breakaway from Pakistan.
Pakistan, like North Korea, is too nuclear to fail. Army and establishment dominated Pakistan but each has also contributed to the long decline in Pakistan’s integrity as both a state and a nation.
The political system would be frozen in an intermediate, gray zone between full-fledged democracy and military autocracy. No serious attempt to modernize the educational system and control continued ethnic, sectarian and social violence .These trends are very hard to alter and impossible to change quickly. But it seems that a revival of the insurgency will take place, given the absence of real economic growth and the weakness of political institutions.
As the Pakistani state becomes weaker and as divisive tendencies grow stronger, those who favor a strong state will be tempted to invoke the argument that there is an existential external threat to Pakistan that requires the suppression of ethnic, sectarian and other differences.
The problems generated by a bad economy, a bad demo-graphic profile, and a bad sectarian situation will all deepen.
Some minority sects already look to Iran for protection and inspiration, and Tehran has an incentive to balance out extremist Sunni groups in Afghanistan. Some leaders in Karachi, and the Mohajir community in particular, now look to India with very different perspectives than did their forefathers who abandoned it, and they talk about an independent Karachi with strong economic and security ties to other countries, just like Singapore.
As a result Pakistn Army along with hard core Punjabi leaders will alienate the Pukhtuns, the Baloch and Sindhis. Ralph Peters, a retired army officer, raises the possibility of Pakistan being reduced to a rump of Punjab and parts of Sindh, with Balochistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa breaking away.
Peters suggested that Balochistan might become a free state, including parts of Iran’s own province of Balochistan, while the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa would become a part of Afghanistan.
If some argue that it is impossible, but breakup of Soviet Union was also unexpected and unpredicted by most Soviet Experts. Pakistan’s economic position is much weak and might collapse even without a war. Its natural economic partner is India, although the Chinese exploit Pakistan more thoroughly than any other state in the world.
When a state is unable to protect its citizens and to collect the taxes required for the delivery of basic services, its citizens will cease to regard themselves as citizens but as subjects.
They will try to leave the state, seek to transform the very “idea” that holds them together, or fight the state – or all three at the same time.
Autocratic regime in Pakistan had to change its repressive ways and listen to their alienated and poverty-stricken citizens but it didn’t.”
The lack of basic political freedoms , grinding poverty , huge economic disparities and an Islamic extremisim are set to plunge Pakistan into ever greater turmoil……. to be continued……
Writer : Mashal Khan Takkar
Editor in Chief
THE VOICE TIMES