Pakistan ConundrumPosted: November 8, 2009
A question on the minds of many people … where is Pakistan headed from here? While i dont think i know that, there is a question which does come up from time to time. Why does it seem that Pakistan is looking to self-destruct? People have probably had this thought for some time, but more and more, people are thinking on these lines today, given the violent goings-on in the country. Why, it seems, that Pakistan is ready to slide down the abyss as long as it can take India with it? Well, that may be rather long-fetched, but you get the idea, i suppose.
Now, i am not an expert on international affairs. Nor am i an expert on Pakistan politics. But, i have studied my share of history. And, i have my set of questions, which impel me to, like a lot of people, to probe. The questions we can look at later, for the moment, let me explain the idea i have about Pakistan.
I read a rather interesting book named The Indus Saga … in fact, i have blogged about this earlier. The central part of the book looks at the question of what defines the modern-day Pakistani. Of yore, the Pakistani may have been defined as the guy from Indus Valley … or, over a period of time, the guy from the frontiers of the Mughal empire … or, as people like to believe, the Mughal ruler of “Hindustan”. Now, Hindustan is a term which itself is not quite clear, but nevertheless … This is is something i have heard a few times. But, of today, post-independance, what defines the modern Pakistani is the question the book delves into, and tries to establish that the Pakistani is much more than “not-Indian”. That the Pakistani has a definition which g0es beyond just trying to identify the differences from the Indian. This question, though, leads to another question. This is the question about existence. What was the reason for the creation of Pakistan? It was a negation of the single-nation concept, and an endorsement of the two-nation theory. That the Muslims of the sub-continent are not safe in a Hindu-dominated India. Now, this is a theory which has been quietly shelved with the passage of time, but it does raise an important point. The point is that if this is the reason for the creation of Pakistan, then the raiseon d’etre for the creation of the country is misplaced, once the objective is achieved. This means, in a nutshell, that a “not-India” platform becomes self-defeating the moment it is achieved, because once it is achieved, then there is nothing more for the country to look forward to. What is the next mountain to scale? What are the next things to achieve? Is there a social, or economic agenda for the country? This cannot be answered by the “non-India” concept.
This is a concept which needs to be changed. Pakistan, as a nation, is much more than “non-India”. No matter what your political affiliation, if you are from India, this is a reality you cannot ignore. So, whatever your leaning, and whatever your feelings towards Pakistan, reality cannot be ignored. Which means that it is in our interest that Pakistan move beyond the “not-India” ideology, and create a definition for the long-term trajectory for the nation, economically, socially, and politically. This is not just in the interest of Pakistan, but also in the interest of the world.
Coming now to the question i have. What is it that makes a city, which is called the City of Sin and Splendour (wonderfully described in this blog), into one which is the headquarters of terrorist organizations? What is it that gets people to change in ways so fundamental? What is it that changes the path society moves on, and the path which creates faultlines in society?