Pakistan is Heading towards Disaster
The 2017 report of the Fragile States Index places Pakistan in the list of the first 20 failed countries, which should be worrisome for the country. Instead of continuing with the low intensity war against its neighbours, Pakistan should make efforts to implement reforms in diverse fields.
Pakistan was carved out of India on the basis of the ‘two-nation’ theory broadly intended to foster separation and hatred. This philosophy persists today, with greater vengeance.
With its vicious policies, Pakistan has antagonised another neighbour, Afghanistan, on its Western front while Shia Iran can never trust Sunni Pakistan, helping terrorist outfits on behalf of Wahabi Saudi Arabia. Iran recently threatened Pakistan with stringent action if it did not control non-state actors who were fomenting terror.
Pakistan earlier had cordial relations with Afghanistan and Iran. In the India-Pakistan war of 1965 & 1971, Pakistan did not need to deploy troops on the Afghan or Iranian borders as there was no danger from them. The situation has drastically changed now.
Pakistan’s fourth neighbour is China. Diplomatically, both countries are “all weather friends;” China has rescued Pakistan on many occasions, but Beijing has placed severe restrictions along the China- Pakistan border, as some Islamic terrorist groups are helping Uighur Muslims fighting for a separate homeland in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region.
The recently concluded BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in China included names of several Pakistan-based terrorist organisations in its joint declaration, indicating that China is hardening its attitude towards Pakistan and terrorism. Pakistan appears surrounded by hostile or threatening neighbours.
However, the major danger to the country is from internal forces; contradicting mindsets, military domination, corrupt and inept politicians, different nationalities, rising population, depleting water resources and a worsening economic situation. Such forces may be responsible for Pakistan imploding.
The Punjabi-dominated Pakistan army has not allowed civil institutions to strengthen and has exploited all other nationalities. In 1971, Pakistan was split and Bangladesh emerged. Now, Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir all want separate nations. The people of Gilgit and Baltistan are fighting for an independent Balawaristan. While Muhajiris, Saraikis and Chitralis want more autonomy, as the Punjabis are exploiting them too. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif actually stated that the country was facing the danger of disintegration.
Former President General Zia-ul-Haq decided to join the United States to evict the USSR from Afghanistan. He needed Jihadis to do this and proceeded to inject religion into the polity and Islamized the army and the country. Saudi Arabia and other West Asian countries pumped petro-dollars into Pakistan and helped inculcate the ‘madrassa culture’ in the country, which radicalised many Pakistanis. The country is still paying a heavy price for this extremism.
Pakistan waged a low-intensity war against India and Afghanistan and created terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba ( L-e-T), Jaish-e-Mohammed (J-e-M), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (H-u-M), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Few of these terrorist organisations broke free and refused to obey the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and are conducting terrorist activities within the country. Sunni outfits like SSP & ASWJ are killing Shias, thus increasing the animosity between two prominent sects of Muslims. Shias make up more than 20 percent of Pakistan’s population.
The US, earlier the country’s largest economic aid donor, recently warned Pakistan to change its policies, of “harbouring” terrorists who are attacking US troops in Afghanistan. US President Donald Trump also said Pakistan provides “safe haven” to terrorists.
Pakistan is now aligning with China and expects it to invest USD 50 billion or more for the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is likely that Communist China will annexe several parts of Pakistan, since Islamabad will never be able to repay the huge debt.
The GDP growth rate is a poor 3 percent. The country must repay loans worth USD 73 billion and more. Exports are dwindling while imports are increasing. The education system is in disarray. Terrorists from across the world reach Pakistan to get training in exploding bombs and carrying out terrorist acts. Pakistan’s ailing education system needs a total revamp to save the country from falling apart.
The defence budget should be curtailed and more money spent on education, family planning and health. Civilian institutions must be strengthened and army must return to the barracks. The domineering Pakistan army must allow civil institutions to grow and a civilian leadership to formulate policies. Powers of the ISI should be curtailed and Pakistan must destroy all terrorist training centres and terrorists, without distinction. Legitimate grievances of all the nationalities should be redressed and rights of minorities, including Shias, ensured.
The population of the country is increasing threateningly. In 1951, the former West Pakistan had a population of 33.7 million which has now swelled to 207.77 million. The country must adopt stringent family planning measures otherwise its very survival is at stake.
Pakistan has launched several operations against terrorists but these operations have not yielded desired results as security forces differentiated between “good” and “bad” terrorists.
In August 2017, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (J-u-D) formed a political party, Milli Muslim League (MML) and declared its intent to contest elections. With extremism and fundamentalism at its zenith, these political parties could acquire power and control the nuclear warheads.
Pakistan is heading towards disaster. If terrorists capture the country, it will be detrimental not only for Pakistan but for world. Pakistani rulers must chalk out a comprehensive policy to save the country from catastrophe.