Pakistan: A Failed State


In its 66-year history Pakistan has time and again proved to the world community that it is a failed state. Pakistan came into being in 1947, after the second world war was over. The British colonial power was waning; the sun was finally setting on the empire which was once renowned for the phrase that,”the sun never sets on the British Empire.”

After independence, the Indian subcontinent was bifurcated into Bharat (the official name of India) and Pakistan, literal meaning, the land of the pure. The formula employed by the British rulers was simple, all the Muslim majority areas became Pakistan and the Hindu majority regions Bharat. A bone of contention was left intentionally by the British, in the shape of the state of Kashmir. Kashmir, according to the formula mutually agreed upon should have been an integral part of Pakistan, but as its ruler was a Sikh, so Kashmir’s fate was left hanging dangerously in the balance. Pakistan and Bharat have fought three inconclusive wars to gain control of this disputed tract of land.

Pakistan came into being on the basis of the theory put forward by Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan. His Two Nation Theory, is that as Muslims and Hindus have diametrically opposed concepts of way of life, norms, customs, traditions, religions and rituals, so it is well neigh impossible for them to co-exist. It appeared a plausible reason for the conservative sections of the society with bigoted mind-sets, to divide India, but the intelligentsia, on both sides of the border, believe it to be a historic mistake.

Bharat from day one, abolished the estates and fiefdoms that formed part of the Indian Union and set out to write a democratic constitution for the new-born state. Pakistan, the failed state,on the other hand, because of the powerful feudal-military-mullah nexus was not able to write down a constitution till 1973. Though, a few efforts were made but the constitutions before 1973 could not come up to the expectations of the masses and were in time abrogated.

The University of California at Berkeley and Oxford University graduate, liberal, Z.A. Bhutto , is paradoxically responsible for making Pakistan — a secular state, as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam– into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, that it is today. He is also held to be the main culprit in dividing Pakistan because f the political tussle with Shiekh Mujib-ur-Rrehman. This tussle led to the war of independence of 1971, and East Pakistan became the independent state of Bangladesh.  A very sorry chapter of this tragic saga was that 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Indian army; an ignominious defeat recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Bhutto is also the famously referred to as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program. He, with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Qadaffi of Libya, Sadaat of Eqypt,  Edhi Amin of Uganda, Saddam Husein of Iraq  formed the pan-Islamic block, that caused the crash of 79. These political maneuvers disturbed and angered America to the extent that he was ousted from power by a military coup, inspite of the fact that it was through the auspices of Bhutto’s administration, that President Nixon made his successful maiden visit to China. Ultimately, Bhutto was hanged  for trumped up charge of aiding and abetting the murder of a political opponent. This chapter in Pakistan’s history is remembered as the judicial murder of the most popular leader of Pakistan.

With Zia-ul-Haq in power the darkest era in the history of Pakistan ensued. He had a megalomanic view of his preordained destiny of being Amir-u–Momineen– a return to Ottoman-style caliphate. With the help of the regressive, fundamentalist elements in the Pakistani society, of whom there was no dearth, he steered Pakistan of the 20th century towards the middle ages. The draconian Hudood Laws were a part and parcel of his regime. These laws introduced such pagan punishments as public floggings, cutting of hands and the mandatory requirement of having two male or four female witnesses in the crime of rape. A law heavily in favor of the rapist and the victim had to endure a lot of psychological torture in order to prove that the rape did take place and it was not a consensual sexual act; a charge that no victim could possibly prove, because of the requirement of eye-witnesses, which is an improbable impossibility. It was also during Zia’s rule that Afghan refugees, heroin and AK-47 became a universal phenomena in Pakistan. Zia and his coterie of corrupt generals ruled Pakistan for a decade. It was the decade of the first Afghan war and the birth of the much touted mujaheddin, the present day predecessors of the Taliban.

After his death in a the crash, for sometime Benazir Bhutto became the first elected female prime minister of an Islamic state. She was unceremoniously ousted from power by the then president under charges of corruption and Nawaz Sharif became the prime minister. The 90’s was a game of musical chairs, in the history of Pakistan. Bhutto became prime minister for a second term, when the president booted Sharif out of power. After two and a half years the tables were turned and like Bhutto before him, he became the prime minister for the second term. He was finally removed from office by the bloodless coup of Musharraf, again on the worn-out albeit true charge of corruption. The actual reason for his removal was that he, against the wishes of U.S. detonated the nuclear bomb in 1999. Pakistan, the failed state, has an arsenal of 90-110 nuclear warheads.

Now it was the term of Musharraf to rule and he did so for a decade keeping the tradition of his military predecessors alive. It was during his time in office that Pakistan became the front line ally of the Americans in the war on terror. Majority of political commentators view this unpopular move on his part as the war of error. The assassination of Bhutto is a dark blemish on his otherwise clean stint in power. Another major mistake that he committed during his rule was the declaration of emergency in 2007, which finally led to his ouster amidst popular protests.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party won the elections and formed a coalition government 2008. It was the first freely elected government in the history of this failed state that completed its constitutionally mandated 5-years term. In the elections held in 2013, Sharif became the prime minister for the third time. Now it would be interesting to see whether he can complete his 5-years term in office or is ousted in another military coup. This is very much on the cards, as his government is trying Musharraf, for high treason under article six of the constitution of Pakistan. It is a well-known fact that you can do anything you like in this failed state of Pakistan but never meddle with Pakistan army.

The feudal-military-mullah nexus has ruled the country for the majority of its history. This is the main reason that democracy , which is flourishing across the border, has not been able to establish its credentials here. Over 60 percent of Pakistan’s GDP goes towards meeting its defense needs, consequently the overall economy has suffers. Education in Pakistan has never been a priority with any government, so has been the case with social security and well-being of its citizens. Rampant inflation, unemployment, the daily deepening energy crises, unchecked corruption and the alarming deteriorating law and order situation have made Pakistan, a favorite recruiting ground plus a safe haven for terrorists from all over the world. It did not come as a surprise that Osama Bin Laden, was found living in Abbottabad Cantonment, KP, in the failed state of Pakistan.

By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada


The Nation

The Express Tribune

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