PAKISTAN AT 61
IMTIAZ RAFI BUTT
Aug 18 - 24, 2008
August 14; The anniversary of the day the Quaid-e-Azams dream of an independent Islamic Republic that would serve as a homeland for the Muslims of India was realized. We have come a long way since 1947,
At inception Pakistan was a pitiable, bankrupt, refugee stricken country sharing a border with an enemy manifolds our size determined to destroy the infant nation. Skipping past the wars with India, The Civil war in Bangladesh, the systematic elimination of any leadership deemed popular or reformist, involvement in the Afghan war against the soviets(the aftermath of which we are still reaping), sanctions and the array of coup d'etets. Our survival is an accomplishment in its own right. The Primary reason I conclude for our extraordinarily colorful political history is our overwhelmingly important geopolitical location. Pakistan is no ordinary country for it is situated on the cross roads of civilizations.
India to the Southeast, the oil rich Iran and Arab world to the West; China to the Northeast and the energy rich land locked Central Asian states along with Afghanistan to the north. If this region was ever stabilized Pakistan would become an energy corridor, a conduit through which energy would flow from its original sources to large global Markets. Pakistan possessing a stable economy and sustainable democracy would become an example for the muslim world. However if Pakistan fails as a state then the consequences can include complete regional destabilization, the spread of terrorism on an unprecedented scale, proliferation of Nuclear assets, a refugee crisis causing a human catastrophe.
Therefore it is in the interest of all global power players such as the US and China to stabilize Pakistan in order to avoid the alternative.
A significant portion of our history(since 1947) has been influenced by the interests of foreign powers especially the United States of America.
Historically Pakistan has had a very turbulent political life and today it isn't any different.
Pakistan is plagued by Many a crises simultaneously; The Political crisis within the coalition which has brought change and reform to a halt, The energy crisis behind load shedding, unemployment, economic recession, terrorism and full scale war in the North.
In the media; both Print and electronic disappointment with the government can clearly be felt. The people in the face of all these crises are also losing confidence as time passes. However in all fairness the government is not to blame for the troubles the country is facing. The Government inherited the expectations of the Pakistani people, The great core of these issues were to be handled by a greater statesmen Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Her whole life was a preparation for this moment, she was forged in political fire, she had been exposed to politics and all its trappings from a very early age.
In retrospect the expectations of the people were not meant for the current government but on the immense political abilities and acumen of The Mohtarma. Benazir Bhutto came to deliver, she came with a plan, using her immense international relationships, credibility and abilities she came to stabilize Pakistan with the agreement and support of the United States and other great powers. The Mohtarma aimed to work with Musharraf, the US and General Kiyani in order to achieve political, economic and military progress to counter terrorism. Had she survived her assassination and gone on to participate in the elections, Surely the Peoples Party would have won an even greater victory, probably enough to secure the mandate of the people. Benazir would have brought with her political stability and foreign economic aid. She was the only one who could have fully exploited the international desire to stabilize Pakistan fully to our advantage.
With her sudden death, the rescue plan for Pakistan started falling apart, Sindh was up in arms, half the county( including myself) was in mourning. The depression only got deeper. And worst of all there was no one with the experience, stature or political following that could fill the massive power vacuum left in the aftermath.
Her husband Mr. Asif Zardari had to jump into the fray to fill the gap left by the Mohtarma. Zardari showed great initiative in the way he introduced Benazir Bhutto's son and heir Billawal as co-chairman in an attempt to heal and calm the country down, bringing Sindh back from the Abyss; Giving hope to millions of grief stricken compatriots. The three days following the Assassination of the Mohtarma were perhaps the gravest threat to the Nations Integrity since 1971. Mr. Zardari and Billawal deserve full credit for rescuing the nation at that critical juncture.
The second unexpected outcome was the increased surge in popularity of Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz became widely popular in the Punjab and took the lions share of the Anti-Musharraf vote. which arguably would have gone to the Mohtarma had she lived. Nawaz Sharif has taken a moral stance on the judges issue and the removal of the President and has become uncompromising in that endevour.
No entity was in greater shock then the Pakistan Peoples Party because for decades it was structured around the Mohtarma and a hand picked few, with new leadership came new restructuring and confusion.
With the absence of the Mohtarma the plan to rescue Pakistan had to change according to changing circumstances and political realities. The Government is trying to do its best for the country in hard times, however they have to settle issues between the coalition first. we have come along way, we have a long way to go. This country will survive as it always has, for the consequences of destabilization are too grave to contemplate.
This Independence day let us not be overwhelmed by problems; instead let us be grateful and remember the reasons why this nation exists and let us honor the heroes who died trying to make it a better place.