The Great Unraveling in Pakistan
A new prime minister was elected last year in the Islamic Republic. The former cricket star, playboy and hospital builder took the oath of office last August amidst much fanfare. He swore to create an Islamic Welfare State.
The full moon shone bright and brilliant. Life was good.
The Begging Bowl, the most essential tool in the panoply of tools in the Government’s possession, would be put away in a time capsule he promised. The Begging Bowl would no longer accompany the Head of Government when he called on the brotherly Gulf States. It would not accompany him to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The only trips he would make there would be to perform the pilgrimage to the two Holy Places. There would be no trips to the USA. Pakistan wanted friends, not masters. And there would absolutely be no trips to the IMF.
Corruption, totally at odds with the moral precepts of the land, would become a thing of the past. The corrupt civilian rulers who had governed Pakistan would be locked up. $200 billion of looted wealth would be recovered on Day 1.
Dams would be built through crowd sourcing. Power shortages would be banished to the past along with water shortages.\
Lilies will bloom in the pond.
Roses will boom in the bushes and fire up the garden.
Expectations soared to amazing levels. The world looked different.
And then the ugly reality began to emerge. The Begging Bowl was pulled out of the Time Capsule to which it had been confined. It traveled to Saudi Arabia and then to the UAE and then back to Saudi Arabia. It also traveled to China.
- Was that the beginning to the Great Unraveling?
And then he did something he would never do. He begged for an IMF loan.
- Has that killed his dream of the Islamic Welfare State?
- Is it possible to cut the defense budget without sacrificing national security?
- Is Pakistan still a garrison state?
- Does the army control democracy in Pakistan?
- How did Pakistan become a Praetorian State?
- What are the costs and benefits of being a Praetorian State?
- When all is said and done, and the present generation has passed on, and the year 2050 arrives, will Pakistan emerge as an Asian Tiger?
Ahmad Faruqui is a defense analyst and economist. He has taught at the Universities of Karachi, California at Davis, and San Jose State. He has also given guest lectures at MIT, Stanford and other universities. He has authored “Rethinking the National Security of Pakistan, Ashgate, 2003.” He can be reached @AhmadFaruqui