Home / Columns / Challenges to the State

Challenges to the State

Dr. Khurshid Alam

Dr. Khurshid Alam

Since its inception; Pakistan is on wobbly ground. The heebie-jeebies state is multifactorial. Some goes back to its genesis followed by political, economic, ethnic, sectarian and social convolutions. It is pointless to go into the genesis but one fails to ignore Maulana Shabir Usmani remarks; while responding to a question from a Muslim fellow,” Will you stop me going for pilgrimage in a Hindu owned steamer?”  The Islamists boarded the Hindu owned steamer; unloaded in this part of the world, called The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

To solve all the above challenges the newly created country needed institutions to sort out the future challenges the country will face. It was not possible with no-knowledge of the ground realities and the geo-political, strategic and economic paraphernalia. It was quite comprehensible that they could do very little about the genetic anomalies. But no one can absolve them; not to establish institutions.

Unfortunately; it was not to be. They were all the crop of Aligarh with indoctrinated philosophy and barrel vision. I don’t want to get involved in the controversy whether they created parochial state or state made them biased and myopic. It needs no plowing research, it will be suffice to say that they were from Aligarh. Azad School of thought; didn’t succeed to invent antidote for “would be the poison”.

Institution is the name of collective leadership. To the bad-luck of the newly created state; those who came for pilgrimage, were neither practicing Muslims nor Democrats or pluralist. It will be fair to assume, they were least fascinated by institutional policies. The mindset of collective leadership was left behind in the buildings of the institution in Delhi. An idea of Caliphate was floated but abandoned on the advice of Saudi Arabia. It was a signal to an ambition of centralization of power.

The clouded status quo was in the interest of Islamists, to get time for cultivation of the deadly mushroom of terrorism blended with religion to be a State vital organ and a veritable long arm for furtherance of their dreadful designs. In 1948 the people of FATA and Northern states were used in Kashmir. But to make it a permanent pillar of the state, they had to wait for Zia.

British left behind one strong and well organized institution, the army, to achieve their colonial aims. Our new ruler’s dream were no different than the colonizers. The institution were replaced by cult, elites, dynasties; all ready to capture the state machine, facilitated by educated Muhajirs civil servants and Punjabi Military elites. A cocktail of religion, whims, conspiracies, corruption and opportunism was brewed; with a brand name as ideology of Pakistan. This intoxicating cocktail laid down the guidelines to run the state.  No policy but adhocism was adopted, tailored on day to day basis. This arrangement suited both Mullah and Military, the clique of the two needed each other in future; for a big game. The civil servants submissively kept on justifying the whims as policy of the state.

Tariq Ali, termed the institution an adult spine fitted into a premature baby; in his book, Death of a State. The mindset of Aligarh proved to be an asset for the alliance, long boots or Jinnah cap were irrelevant. From day one liberals, democrats and broad-visional were declared security risk. They were kept on a run with religious whip. Corruption in every sphere was introduced.

After the creation of Bangladesh; an attempt was made to introduce a federal bicameral constitution to avoid another breakup. The opposition in the truncated Pakistan played a very positive role, not to exploit the situation, Bhutto was in the same position as Mujib in the united Pakistan.

The opposition demanded a true federal democracy, based on Bicameral system and the citadel of power should be in the Federal house (upper house) where all federates should have equal representation; because of the numerical superiority of Punjab in the lower house. The basis of provincial autonomy were laid but the quantum of provincial autonomy was left unfinished; to deprive military of another opportunity. Gen Tikka, known as the butcher of Bengalis, was watching from the gallery. Anyhow it was decided that quantum of provincial autonomy will be revised after 5 years.

It is tragic that Mr. Bhutto did not avail the opportunity or failed to play his card wisely. The military was demoralized and the clergy were mourning the sad demise of two-nation theory.

The only system that could hold the rest of the country, was federal bi-cameral constitution. The East wing was 54% of the country and oppressed like small federates. The ray hope for smaller federates was the numerical superiority of Bengalis; if free and fair elections were held. In the electoral victory of Bengalis, the small and deprived nations were seeing their liveliness.

In truncated Pakistan; Punjab emerged as the mighty federate with no threat of numerical superiority of Bengalis and home to civil- military bureaucracy. It was an economic giant with wide industrial base. Agricultural yield was the highest since British days. United Punjab was known as the granary of the Sub-continent India. An ectopic of civil bureaucracy and industrial magnets were in Karachi, but they could pose no threat to Punjab’s hegemony.

 It was the Punjab’s domineering army and elites to refuse the sanctity of ballot resulting in the death of the TWO NATION theory. Had the country had the bi-cameral federal democratic system the tragedy of the disgraceful fall of Dacca would have probably not befallen. With the fall of Dacca; the hopes of small federates sunk down. With the creation of Bangladesh smaller federates existential fear tripled. The mature opposition just insisted on federal bi-cameral system.  The process was brought to end by Gen. Zia.

Gen. Zia; known as the cunning fox, who introduced the radicalism and jihadi philosophy; not only in the society but also in the armed forces. The ghazi institution was built by him and he was regular goer for Friday prayers.  This scared the world. The insanity of strategic depth vertically and horizontally, protection of ideological borders, introducing Wahhabi Sectarianisms on Saudi pattern, to create Khalistan, to occupy Kashmir, central Asian countries were some of the few components of his deluded ambition. So much so, it was him to interfere in the western provinces of China.

The Jihadist philosophy as an institution of the state structure was created; to achieve his goal. To promote it; he invested a lot in ISI and developed the veritable arm of the state which could reach anywhere, he wanted. He bribed the top army brass and 15% of quota in the commissioned officer was allotted to J.I. on the instructions of Saudi rulers. Nawaz Sharif and MQM were both his creation.

He was so obsessed with his delusions that he sabotaged the Geneva peace accord and torched the Ojhri camp and dismissed his mango P.M while he was about to land in Islam-Abad, after a foreign trip.  He had an ambitious package, but the loads of his sins brought down the American Hercules killing him and all the top brass of the military. Shaheed Benazir shadow was following him till death according to State Department confidential. He was so vindictive and eerie bug that he killed Bhutto in the death cell and then forced the hesitant Christian hangman to hang him. (Wolf & the fox)

The other was Musharraf who mortgaged the country with Americans. Pakistan earned the name of a renter conduit, having surrogate army, washed in dollars. He has yet to meet his fate. Both dictators did the maximum damage to the country. It was turned in to a huge Kakool for the training of terrorists. The USA and Saudi made an unholy alliance against the godless USSR. Pakistan was supported in cash and kind to be a regional facilitator. Pakistan under this umbrella was busy in exporting terrorism blended with Wahhabis philosophy to neighboring countries. Investment of cash by Saudi Arabia was equal to the USA aid. (The Envoy)

I should not be expected to produce a piece of literature in recounting political events, being a doctor of medicine, who are known for scarceness of jargon. I have been a field worker and at times, witness.

All the rulers of Pakistan has contributed to the buildup of pyramid of challenges to the existential status of the country. Zia and Musharraf are the two biggest contributors to the present wretched state of the country.

During Zardari tenure, under the dynamic leadership of Raza Rabbani, the upper house redrafted the 73 constitution with enshrined provincial autonomy, which never saw the light of the day in words and spirit. Though NWFP was renamed as KPK, but the first K was gifted by Mian Nawaz Sharif, to keep us reminding the might of Punjab and arrogance of leaguers. Institutions and constitution are sacred to those who have gone through a political process. Only Military should not be blamed, the present civil government, sectarian parties and PTI, all have stakes to maintain status quo and keep every development confined to Punjab in the geostrategic shroud.

The challenges are numerous but to name few; the scourge of terrorism corroding the very basis of the state and threatening regional and international peace. Loss of governmental writ, the frequent interference of the deep seated government, economic instability, uneven developments and trampling of institutions and constitution by both Military and Civil establishments are few of the important one. Nothing is decided in the house, mini or mega projects both. The inability and incompetence of the civil government to wean off itself from military dependence and the insanity of Military not to abandon the dream of strategic depth all are potential threats to the State.

 The military involvement to use terrorism as a state policy is no more secret. Maulana Mansoor and OBL has exposed us to the world. We lost the most allied allies like Saudi and the USA. The documents collected from the compound of the OBL, in garrison town of Abbot Abad has revealed that the present civil government is not a lesser evil. PML (N) had a seat adjustment with a terrorist organization in 2013 election. The Punjab CM has been named to have a deal with terrorists not to hit Punjab and his brother government, if elected, will in return turn his blind eye to them. These are all alarming and frightening events, particularly funding of the campaign and providing protection.

 Air space belongs to those who have writ on the ground. It was no secret that most of the drown attacks were with the tacit approval of the army, resulting in attack on Mehran Base and capturing of a naval vessel by terrorists. The rule of the game have changed, the military is being dictated.

Pakistan economy is decomposing because of nuclear race with India and providing safe havens to terrorists, which consume more than half of the budget, with no accountability. And the world is dribbling; in case the terrorist lay hands on the nuclear pillage with the help of radicals in military establishment.

The present government is supposed to derive its power from the parliament but its source of strength is through invisibly-palpable channels from GHQ. ISI and other agencies are white elephants to maintain. In nut shell military dominated political system is the biggest threat and the civil government’s slighting attitude to the bicameral federal system and powerless federal house are the next. A powerless upper house is the threatening the integrity of the federation. The breaches between the provinces is widening. Deprivation in small federates can’t find the solution of their problem in present setup. And it is in these breaches that foreign spy work. But the question arise what is the duty of our agencies. In the new scenario, will it not be fair that the Quetta carnage was not only the failure of military establishment but the deal was struck with the shadows of death before election, wiping out one full generation of intelligentsia of a most backward province. Where liberation war is going for last 15 years.

The federal government is in no way a representative of the federation. It is a dynasty rule. Foreign policy and budget has been taken over by the army. Even appointment to sensitive ministries have been taken over by the boys, the latest is the appointment of defense secretary.

In the name of Zarb-e-Azab FATA was erased to the ground. Political Ping-Pong has started with their destiny. Neither the people nor their elected representatives or KPK assembly have representation to shape their destiny. The military is startled not to lose this strategically important strip which can be used for border mechanism or friendship gate which is one way, terrorist can be sent across the border but only those can come in who will not target Punjab, what a callousness?

The country has no foreign policy. It is person to person dealing like Zia and Regan, Musharraf and Bush. Since the portfolio has been taken over by army, the country stands isolated. The cretin is celebrating Chinese friendship, one belt one road, sound more like a strategic corridor. Hope we are not dragged in to Sino-US conflict in south China Sea.

In every sense we are dependent country, to celebrate independence is a self-insult.

Can Pakistan survive????

Writer: Prof.(Dr) Khurshid Alam

The writer is a columnist with THE PASHTUN TIMES. He can be reached at



About The Pashtun Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Check Also

The ISI is the enemy of reconciliation between Pashtuns and the West

Benjamin Gilmour’s feature film Jirga remedies maladies of guilt with bravery and redemption. ...