Pakistani nationalism is the need of the hour. Even though Pakistan was born in 1947, its roots lay much earlier. Still Pakistani nationalism has developed slowly over the decades. This was on account of host of factors. Today the nation state of Pakistan faces numerous internal and external challenges. Despite confusion galore, one thing is quite evident that Pakistani nationalism is the solution and salvation for the people of Pakistan. Two great rising nations China and Turkey, with fast growing economies have clearly one common trait. Both nations are highly nationalistic! Even EU which is facing cracks may revert to good old nationalism of key states like UK, Germany, France and others.
Pakistani nationalism is also Islamic and Muslim nationalism. Simply because Islam – the religion and Two Nation Theory are the basis of Pakistan. It is even more valid today than in yester years. Considering the plight of Palestine and Kashmir, an independent homeland becomes a heaven. Pakistani nationalism needs to be understood in depth and preached widely at home and abroad. Muslims of subcontinent were not merely converts. They had strong roots, influences, ethos, cultural, linguistic and religious links with West Asia and Central Asia, comprising Persia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Arabia and Central Asian States.
Pakistan was created due to the just struggle of Muslims in British India, to attain an independent homeland. That much is conventional history. The Indian Mantra Myth “We were one People” is historically faulty. Pakistan was created because Muslims (later Pakistanis) and Hindus (Indians) were two different people and not only two religions. The Second Myth, Indians lament is that India was divided. The fact is that British India was divided in 1947.The British Indian Empire had in fact usurped from the Mughal Empire founded by Babur (The Tiger) in 1526 after winning first Battle of Panipat. By 1707 after death of last powerful Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire was in rapid decline. In 1761, a massive Hindu Marhatta Army which wanted to establish an Indian Empire was destroyed in Third Battle of Panipat by Ahmed Shah Abdali from Afghanistan. Later, the British India followed which was formalized in 1857.The point of all this history is that people have a right to decide once Empires are gone and Republics emerge. Pakistan’s history is of a vision for a separate Muslim homeland, great sacrifices to reach and fortitude to elevate this Muslim State.
Pakistan was created astride the Mighty Indus River. Yet it was born moth eaten and deprived of its natural borders. Kashmir and other regions which were legitimate parts of Pakistan were forcibly denied to it. This unfair partition resulted in Pakistan-India confrontation which continues till date. This baggage of history and truncated geography has created the Security minded Nation State of Pakistan. Constant Indian threats and wars (with Pakistan’s vulnerable major population centers near Eastern border) created a siege mentality and Anti India bias of its nationalism.
Two foreign misadventures in Pakistan’s North Western border by Super Powers in Afghanistan further influenced Pakistani political geography. First the Soviets and later Americans occupied, but waged unwinnable wars in Afghanistan. These protracted wars and their fallout have had a major impact on Pakistani national thinking. Freedom loving Pakistanis feel insecure with foreign armies occupying Afghanistan and meddling in Pakistani National Affairs. The extremism and militancy also received a fillup due to these foreign wars in the overlapping neighbourhood. India’s 1971 attack on East Pakistan to convert it into Bangladesh was also part of the Pakistani mindset. Further reminded by efforts of foreign hostile players to support separatists in Baluchistan today.
The threat to Pakistan’s Geography influences Pakistani nationalism. Recent US – Indian attempts to project an existential threat from Pakistan’s North West and image of a pacifist India runs counter to ground realities. Geographically, Pakistan separated from its East which is India and sought solace to its west in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and of course Saudi Arabia. This thousand year old historical plus geographical narrative cannot be negated by foreign propagandists. For Pakistani nationalism the clear and present danger to Pakistan is from the East. Yet peace efforts with India continue, to resolve issues amicably. In any event, nuclear armed nations have no choice but peace. Peace is required not only by Pakistan but also by India. Kashmir resolution can make peace permanent.
Pakistan’s Geo-Economics potential holds great promise for future integratation with nearby regions. Pakistan’s multiregional linked geography can contribute to its economic growth. As trade, transit, storage land for Central Asia, Russia China and linking with the Arabian Sea plus Gulf. The concept of Bridge State after resolving national and neighbourhood’s issues are also sinking in. The Gwadar Concept is part of the Pakistani national inspiration amply highlighted in my book, Gwadar on the Global Chessboard. China, Central Asia and even Russia are now friendly aspirations. The masses of Pakistan deserve a better environment, where the basics of life are available to all the people.
Ideology and Religion
Pakistan’s ideology and religion Islam blend with and augment the concept of Pakistani nationalism. There is no clash between religion Islam and Pakistani nationalism. One complements and supplements the other. Today the modern states of Iran, Turkey and Egypt in the revolutionary Middle East display that Islam and nationalism are completely compatible. In fact Islamic nationalism is the theme and Pakistan is no different. Afghanistan’s war of GWOT fame besides mayhem projected an extremist version of Islam. Over all the people of Pakistan are moderates Muslims, patriots and nationalistic who deserve peace and prosperity. Pakistan’s ideology is blending finely into its nationalism overtime.
Culture and Language
Pakistani nationalism draws inspiration from its varied cultures such as of Baluchistan, Sindh Punjab, Pakhtoon khuwa and Kashmir. The Muhajirs from deeper parts of India brought their rich traditions. This melting point environment is further unified by the Urdu Language. Urdu is spoken or understood in some form in almost every part of Pakistan. The centrally flowing Indus River and its saga with all provinces around or astride it. Pakistan has more natural affinity than other parts of the world. The food eaten in almost all parts of Pakistan is alike and so is the dress. Customs are similar and the media plus communication revolution are interconnecting Pakistan. By contrast Indian disunity is natural because of its sheer variety and size.
Pakistani Nationalism has to be increasingly based upon respecting Baluch traditions, Pakhtoon values and cultures, rights of Mahajirs and Sindhis, Punjabi contribution, Kashmiri flair for freedom. Pakistani nationalism is for all and from all parts of Pakistan.
Pakistani nationalism draws inspiration from the great people of Pakistan. People of Pakistan demand national security against local terrorists and foreign threats. The nationalism narrative aims to support the Armed Forces of Pakistan for defending Pakistan internally and externally. The Nuclear Programme and quest for deterrence against adventurous aggression enjoys full support of masses. Similarly ISI is highly respected in its efforts for national security and the nation supports this fine institution.
Bane and Hurdles to Nationalism
Pakistan’s self serving elite and foreign sponsored (or on foreign dole) liberal puppets still conspire against Pakistani National Interests. They aim to divide the nation for their own petty ends. Still the tide of the era is changing, Pakistan will unite and its nationalism will triumph.
Youth and Future
The Pakistani Youth is its real asset. This Youth bulge holds promise of taking Pakistani nationalism to new heights. Despite vacillating and inept elite, foreign sponsored disinformation and frustration, the youth is overall steadfast. The concept of nationalism appeals to bulk of the younger generation. A unified Pakistan, a reformed society for peace and prosperity. A unified Nation State of Pakistan where caste, sectarianism, ethnic, class and other divisive trends abate. Pakistani nationalism is determined to defend Pakistan against all odds. This is the future of Pakistan
Unite Pakistan – Defend Pakistan