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Pakistan: Where Reason Is Defeated By Pique Obduracy

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Pakistan is a classic example of a state relying on tactical moves without a coherent strategy to consolidate the gains from tactics into some workable formula of a stable government, writes Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed.

I am asked daily what can be done to retrieve Pakistan from going down the hill sinking into a bottomless quagmire. My answer has been that our priorities have lacked proper rational calculation of what is in our national best interest.

We can forget the past and just concentrate on the current government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

I, for example, wrongly thought that the establishment wanted to make a break with the past and has promoted Imran Khan to end the massive corruption, establish a good and clean government, and the rule of law but within the narrow framework of an ideological state based on Islamism.

Yes, I think Pakistan cannot short of a socialist revolution be a secular state, but the chances of a socialist revolution led by Marxists is as likely as us riding a horse to Mars from Islamabad.

Nevertheless, even ideological states based on religion have to be functional within the overall framework of international law and the rights of states.

Therefore, some amount of rational calculation about what is in our national best interest is possible.

Thus for example Pakistan is technically very close to financial bankruptcy and international organizations have given reports warning about that.

In such circumstances, I would open trade with India and ensure that the state treasury is filled with levies on India’s transit trade with the whole world. That means 100% profit or benefit for Pakistan and zero costs.

I would buy medicines and other products from India which otherwise cost many, many times more if imported from the West.

After all, India did grant Pakistan the Most Favoured Nation status as required under the WHO rules but such a relationship is expected to be based on reciprocity and we did not reciprocate.

We are now involved with China through CPEC and as far as I know, the actual agreements are not known to the Pakistani public and legislators. A narrow and myopic power elite has kept all those deals a secret.

We have the 18th Amendment agreed and passed by the Pakistan Parliament but it seems all efforts are being made to subvert it or whittle it down in favour of a centre which itself has failed to give leadership in either political or economic development.

Other scandals about incompetent advisers of the government and some very strange ministers make a mockery of the original claim to establish a good government on the Model of the State of Medina.

Honestly, even the State of Medina had some coherent policies based on 7th-century experiences and wisdom of a rudimentary tribal society striving to attain a higher level of organization and implementation.

What we find happening in Pakistan is notoriously ad hoc-ism, about-turns upon about-turns, and so on as if no strategic thinking is going on in the corridors of power in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Pakistan is a classic example of a state relying on tactical moves without a coherent strategy to consolidate the gains from tactics into some workable formula of a stable government.

The Pakistan military has enough national wealth under its control ranging from industries, banks, and insurance companies and indeed real estate everywhere in Pakistan.

Nothing convincing is being done to establish industry or to modernize agriculture. Health and education are in an appalling situation.

Unemployment has caused immense suffering, businesses are at a standstill and people are in a desperate situation driven to the wall.

In such a dire and dismal situation our rulers are obsessed with Kashmir and Jihad and Ghazwa-e-Hind.

I can predict with certainty that all these are self-destructive fixations. A culture of fear has been whipped up, which I have described as the typical manifestation of a garrison state. Pakistan’s political science is descriptive and lacks conceptual stringency and theoretical sophistication.

My conviction remains firm that the key or magic lamp out of the chronic woes of Pakistan is to seriously negotiate the normalization of relations with India and Afghanistan and with China, too, establish mutually respectful relations.

Trade with all and war with none. More spending on education and health and less on defence because we are well-protected and we need protection from our parasitical power elite than from external enemies.

Regional cooperation based on the SAARC Charter is the way forward.

Please read my book, Pakistan: The Garrison State – Origins, Evolution, Consequences 1947 – 2011.

Since 2011 my concept and theory have been tested successfully and confirm that my position on the Pakistan state is scientifically verifiable.



  1. Ahmed July 22, 2020

    The article forcibly tried to include Islam in this but failed.

    What you have said about the flaws of the PTI government have nothing to do with Islamism or Ghzwa-i-Hind. Strawman all the way.

  2. Sarosh July 23, 2020

    Religion has very much to do with PTI. It is the nexus of military – religious, being hand in hand,nthat has brought PTI to power. And it is this nexus that has prevented true democracy taking roots in Pakistan. So much has been lost because of religion and military, half the country, remaining backward, poor, indiciplined, weak and corrupt. Both have no place in running the affairs of the country.

  3. Khan July 25, 2020


    Nothing like a Hindu hypocrite to complain of backwardness, poverty, corruption and lack of discipline. Been to India lately?


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