“The strength of Pakistan lies beyond Pakistan.” Raja Mujtaba
By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
After the division of Pakistan in 1971, Indian hawkish analyst Subramanyam had made several fanciful predictions based on exaggerated optimism in 1972. He said, “Pakistan is down and out. It can no longer maintain such large forces and threat from the western border will be reduced”. He predicted that, “Pakistan cannot function as a counter balancing power to India within the subcontinent”. He also felt sure that Pakistan having been truncated would no longer pose any military threat to India. Likewise, he painted a grim picture of Pakistan’s economy. Similar predictions were made by some other Indian leaders as well.
Without going into political controversies, India’s fond hopes dashed when new Pakistan under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto emerged stronger than before in all the fields. All negative calculations went by the board when Pakistan surprised the world by its impressive economic uplift records. Its GDP, export earnings and per capita income showed upward growths. The GDP and the agriculture showed steady growths. Had Bhutto carried on with Ayub Khan’s economic program and desisted from faulty nationalization scheme, results would have been still better. Bhutto lifted the sagging morale of the nation and in response to Indian nuclear blast at Pokhran in 1974; he laid the foundation of our nuclear program at Kahuta under Dr. A. Q. Khan. At this time the nuclear program established by M Ayub Khan provided the foundation and the nucleus in terms of pool of scientists and engineers working in this field.
Apart from defending the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir (AK) resolutely and beating back all intrusions made by Indian security forces, Pakistan Army stood up to the challenge posed by Indian forces in Siachen in June 1984 and thwarted Indian menacing Exercise Brass-tacks in 1985-1986 which was slyly planned to be converted into full-fledged war. Indian jingoism against Azad Kashmir in 1990 was deflated through an equally aggressive response. Throughout the eighties while Indian economic graphs were down, Pakistan growth rate remained at 7%.
Despite being sidelined and put under harsh sanctions by USA in October 1990, Pakistan gave a tit for tat response to Indian nuclear tests in 1998 and carried out several successful tests of short and medium range guided missiles which deflated Indian heightened xenophobia. Pakistan refused to cow down to Indian belligerence when it’s over million forces carried out offensive deployment all along the border in December 2001 and during ten month stand off repeatedly threatened to invade and decimate Pakistan. India had gambled under the impression that Pak forces were on a weak wicket because of deployment of 70,000 troops along its western border and fluid security situation in Afghanistan. Indian forces had to ultimately beat a humiliating retreat in the face of stiff defiance.
India faced similar defiance in early 2008 when again it moved its forces after Mumbai incident on 26/11 under the impression that bulk of its forces were tied down in FATA and Swat fighting war on terror.
Notwithstanding the above, Pakistan suffers from many weaknesses and is also blessed with numerous strengths.
The societal divides we had inherited at the inception of Pakistan instead of getting bridged have widened.
Dualism in education has denied a large number of our students any access to intellectual liberation and modern ideas.
The divide between rural and urban areas and proliferating ethnic groups created mostly by the State initiated inequitable and unbalanced process of development further fragmented the society.
The vertically divided and horizontally fragmented Pakistani society organized on caste, tribal, ethnic, sectarian and religious lines have obstructed integration process.
Matters have come to current impasse owing to utter failure of our leaders to take measured steps to control disintegrative forces and cement the cracks in the society.
In 1971, the break up of Pakistan was the first major manifestation of the State’s failure in national integration. Creation of PONM (Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement) and demand for provincial autonomy by disgruntled nationalist leaders of smaller provinces and now the ongoing Baloch separatist movement in Balochistan are recent indicators that we have learnt no lesson from the debacle in 1971.
Pakistan is suffering from leadership crisis. After Quaid, unscrupulous mini-minds have ruled the country.
Politics of polemics, confrontation and regionalism has violated the cardinal principle of dialogue and accommodation and led to inter-provincial disharmony.
While almost 30% of our population live below the poverty line and are uneducated, the lower middle class finds it exceedingly difficult to put their body and soul together. The salaried class is hard pressed to earn a decent living.
The rich not only control all the resources, but also display their wealth with a sense of arrogance. Apart from denying the bare essentials to the poor, they also deny them the ends of justice.
Justice is an expensive pursuit and beyond the reach of the poor. Imperfections in legal framework have added to the frustrations of the common man.
Growing liberalism under the garb of enlightened moderation is another reason for growing religious extremism.
These dichotomies and polemics in the society have exerted negative influences and in turn opened the floodgates of intolerance, fanaticism and terrorism.
Feeling deprived, insecure and alienated, the poor are primed to explode against the rich. Fed up of the coercive stranglehold of the privileged class, the under privileged have started to drift towards religion to find solace.
The religious leaders in turn are exploiting the religiously charged youth to serve their petty interests. Even the foreign powers are taking advantage of the inflamed sectarianism and secular-Islamists divide and adding fuel to fire to keep the pot steaming.
The ranks of the anti-state elements have swelled over the last sixty-three years. They had all along nurtured chronic aversion towards the very creation of Pakistan and against Quaid-i-Azam who had created it. Exploited by vested elements and funded by external sources, they are extending a helping hand to the enemies of Pakistan to keep the country politically unstable and economically weak.
These poisonous snakes have been constantly scheming to break-up the country. To achieve their nefarious designs, they have gone to the extent of aligning with the countries working against the interest of Pakistan.
Foreign intelligence agencies that have penetrated every department of the country are making good use of the quislings and those succumbing to the worldly enticements.
In the face of Indo-US-Western-Israeli orchestrated media campaign to malign Pakistan, latter’s response on the psychological warfare plane is too weak and inept. This weakness gets compounded when our leaders follow the policy of appeasement, thereby encouraging adversaries of Pakistan to keep bashing it on various trumped up allegations.
Barring an insignificant group of liberals, Pakistani society stands glued to the concept of two-nation theory as envisaged by the founders of Pakistan
Middle class remains in the forefront to give shoulder to all the development works going on in the country.
The uranium enrichment technique which paved the way for nuclear detonation was mastered at Kahuta plant in the early eighties purely on self-help basis. In its planning, design, construction, erection, commissioning and operations no foreign assistance was sought.
Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs are indigenous and far superior to Indian programs.
Pakistanis are extremely hardworking, enterprising and creative and their generosity knows no bounds. They are hosts to three million Afghan refugees since 1979. The way people rendered help to refugees from India in 1947 and to earthquake affectees in 2005, the way the public accommodated over 80% of nearly two million displaced persons from Swat and Malakand in 2009, and the manner in which flood affectees are being rendered assistance by the people is unparalleled.
Despite series of man-made and natural calamities, Pakistanis withstand the adversities with courage and continue to live in sunlight and keep their hopes alive for a better future. They have borne the brunt of nine-year sustained Indo-US-UK-Afghan-Israeli backed covert operations against Pakistan causing huge material and human losses courageously. Almost daily bomb blasts, suicide bombings and terrorist attacks together with 2005 earthquake and ongoing unprecedented floods have not undermined their spirits.
31243 fatalities and bigger number of injuries sustained as a result of terrorism and devastation caused by floods has not diluted the high spirits of the people. Their trust in Allah remains as strong as ever and life goes on as usual.
The grit, determination and professionalism of Pakistan armed forces have kept seven times bigger and superior Indian armed forces at bay.
Pakistan Army’s brilliant performance in war on terror as well as its ability to combat natural calamities has vastly raised its image globally and has earned the respect of the nation.
The ISI has emerged as the most potent and vibrant intelligence organization and is second to none.
Although the bureaucracy has been greatly politicized and has suffered at the hands of overweening politicians, still their high-class efficiency cannot be doubted.
In the field of sports Pakistan earned laurels in squash, cricket and hockey.
Our banking sector, doctors, engineers, scientists and academicians have added many laurels to the dazzling pages of the proud history of Pakistan. Our craftsmen have also not lagged behind and indigenously produced many attractive items that are very popular in the world market.