Pakistan faces a multitude of problems because of the monolithic structure of the state. Adventurism and adhoc-ism of the past define the country we live in today. Unconstitutional acts like military takeovers, hangings and assassinations of political leaders, rigging of elections and militants brought from across the world bore all the hallmarks of an irresponsible state.
Crises in FATA and Balochistan and the threats posed by religious extremism and terrorism are not the only challenges facing the country.
We’re living in a world which is in the midst of a tsunami-like economic crisis. Pakistan is part of the UN system and Britton Woods Institutions - The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country is signatory to several UN protocols and bilateral investment treaties with 47 countries, including the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and National of Other States. One such treaty is pending with the United States, the largest economy in the world. The US intends to get a sovereign guarantee i.e. the country must takes over all of its assets if Pakistan is declared a failed state. It seems the rulers are not ready to understand the mood of the time. The country faces perilous outlook.
Some utopian Pakistani writers are still suggesting development models of China, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Switzerland to develop Pakistan. They ignore the fact that above mentioned countries do not take dictation from the IMF.
Monolithic communist China developed when they welcomed investment from the Chinese Diaspora, including Christians and capitalists. It’s very simple to understand that Pakistan can not bring in much-required investment from the world-class Sindhi Hindu Diaspora because of it’s not ready to diversify the economy. The current disorder and the wars in different parts of the country can be defined between those who want a Pakistani state responsible to its people and fulfilling its international obligations and those who do not want change.
Pakistan is not ready to break with the past and change from the closed society to a dynamic democratic state giving people social and political freedom. The roots of irresponsible behavior can be traced back to early phase of Pakistan when some rulers saw the dreams of foisting Pakistani flag on the Red Fort of Delhi and conquering Kashmir. They argued that we are the followers of one religion (Islam), live in one country (Pakistan) and belong to one nation (Pakistani); therefore, we should have one national language (Urdu). This so-called oneness did not work. The country lost the eastern wing and weakness of the current state. Actually, Pakistan was never to be a monolithic state. The autonomy for federating units was envisaged in the landmark Pakistan Resolution in 1940, democracy was promised by Quiad-i-Azam in 1947 and the control of resources by abolishing the Concurrent List in 1973. But this did not happen. Even concepts put forward before the creation of Pakistan seem to be a huge drag and the country descending in chaos day by day. Under the Islamized policy, Gen Zia dragged the country into the Afghan imbroglio. Pakistan’s Constitution never allowed armed groups other than the Pakistan Army but we saw mushrooming of jihadi militias. The single-minded policy of Zia brought weapons, drugs and sectarianism in the country.
The jihadi thinking caused wrapping up of post-Zia civilian governments and now shaking the foundation of the country. Sindh contributes 70 per cent cash to the federation, 71 per cent gas, 56 per cent oil and 90 per cent coal. Yet Sindhis are the poorest of the poor in Pakistan. There are millions of aliens living in Sindh. They had migrated from different countries of South Asia and abandoned their passports immediately after arrival. They are staying in Sindh in violation of the Liaquat-Nehru Pact and Pakistan
Control and Entry Act 1951.They keep demanding that more and more Urdu-speaking people from India and Bangladesh be brought into Sindh to increase their numbers.
These so-called "stranded Pakistanis" are to be brought to Pakistan because they stood for some 'ideology' and helped Pakistani military in the Bengali genocide in the former East Pakistan. First of all, there are no 'Pakistanis' in Bangladesh because after Dec 16, 1971, all East Pakistanis, including the Urdu-speaking people, had automatically become Bangladeshis, the citizens of a new country.
If we accept for a while that the repatriation of the Urdu-speaking people of the then East Pakistan is required under an ideology, then what if the entire population of Bangladesh, unfortunately, decides to be “stranded” and demands the repatriation to Pakistan. Will they be given Pakistani nationality? After all the Bengalese had founded the Muslim League in 1906 and scarified a lot for the creation of Pakistan. Those favoring more migration are particularly insensitive that the settlement of the outsiders would convert Sindhis into a minority who already had been marginalized in all walks of life.
The fact is that there was no mention of any ideology-related migration on the agenda of partition because the All-India Muslim League had worked for the achievement of two objectives. One was the creation of Pakistan, comprising Muslim majority areas, and the other was security of the Muslims in India. “That in other parts of India where the Mussalmans are in a minority, adequate, effective, and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provide in the constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them,” demanded the Muslim League in its Madras meeting in 1941.
The Congress and the Muslim League had also guaranteed to the British government before partition that there would be a complete equality to their entire citizen, regardless of their religion, cast and colour. There is not a single Muslim League resolution, demanding accommodation of Muslims living in minority provinces in new home land. If there was, Sindh had not joined Pakistan.
If there was any ideology-inspired migration on the agenda of partition, than why it was banned under the Liaquat-Nehru Pact? The two premiers Jawahar Lal Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan had signed an accord on March 8, 1950 that in future there would be no cross-border migration and people from the two countries would be permitted to cross the borders only after issuing of visa.
Thus those entered Pakistan, either its western and eastern wing, are illegal immigrants and their stay is punishable under the Pakistan (Control and Entry) Act.
It was unfortunate that March 23, 1940 resolution was not enforced in Pakistan which clearly mentions that there would be “sovereign” and “autonomous” federating units in the country. Because of there were anti-Muslim riots which compelled the Muslims to migrate Pakistan in 1947, therefore, the right to return of the Indian Muslims displaced at the time of partition could also be utilized.
The Biharis could be sent to their land of origin. Prime Minister Morarji Desai is on record to have confirmed the above position formally offering all such Indians Muslims freedom to return to India from Pakistan if they so wished. The dispossessed people around the world, especially Palestinians, are fighting for their right to return to their land. No one points out how the Quaid-i-Azam’s decision “Urdu and Urdu alone will be the state language of Pakistan” had not been enforced by the then government of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan. Mr. Khan had not only declared Urdu as official but national language of Pakistan. His government virtually ignored other languages of Pakistan.
The Quaid-i-Azam had never said that Bengali, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto and Seraiki can not become official or national language of the country. The fact is that Urdu-speaking people of Bangladesh were opposed to Benagli as a national language and Bengali empowerment. Therefore, they sided with the army. If they had supported the Bengalese perhaps they would not have been landed in trouble.
In retrospect, the policy of one language and two-nations not only caused break-up of the country but also promoted obscurantism and extremism. When Pakistan came into being on the basis of the two nation theory, it was pretended that the one language policy would also keep binding the one Muslim nation. The priviligentsia based its historical knowledge on textbooks mainly written by paid historians who borrowed nebulous concepts and euphoric doctrinaire. They undermined culture, language and society of areas comprising Pakistan. Soon after the promotion of one language and suppression of others created rivalries and hatred among the people. The situation took ugly turn when the Biharis collaborated with the army to forestall the Bengali renaissance. Making of Pakistan did not mean the destruction of languages, culture and society of any group of people.
There are fears among the Sindhis that coming of more aliens would increase problems of already volatile Sindh. In Sindh, the Sindhi-Mohajir rift originated in the far-off days when Karachi was put under federal control despite the unanimous resolution of the Sindhi Assembly opposing the move.
It is time to learn from the East Pakistan tragedy and review the untruths of history. We must see that two theories in post-partition South Asia have left far-reaching consequences. The policy of following one language caused break-up of Pakistan in 1971 and backing of the two-nation theory promoted obscurantism and extremism. When this country came into being it was pretended that one language policy will bind people. But this myth was broken in 1971. Cultural manipulation and the policy of promoting one language and suppression of others created rivalries among people. The successive governments ignored the fact that the country was home to religious minorities who were given guarantee by the Qauid-i-Azam in these words: "You are free; you are free to go your mosques and to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or cast and creed that have nothing to do with the business of the state....."The establishment under one-religion policy supported each and every Muslim movement across the globe. When the concepts of fluidity and hybridity were being promoted the world over the government here actively engaged the country in Afghanistan and Kashmir only to get out of the frying pan into the fire.
It was this policy under which the rulers disassociated themselves from the rich past of the country which inherited the Indus valley civilization. They started tracing their roots to the Middle East and Central Asia.While not a single country from the region supported Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. No Arab country condemned the pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat. The historian dignified Muslim League leaders who were referred by the Quaid-i-Azam as "fake coins in his pocket".
Misguided by the untruths of history that it is okay to go to Pakistan and settle in Sindh. The government even breached the promises made by the Muslim League to Sindhi Muslims that they would be empowered after Pakistan had come into being. Alienation of Sindhis began at this juncture, which provides a ready ground for Sindhi nationalism.
It was stipulated later by the vested interests as pointed out by Dawn’s former editor, Mr Altaf Gauhar. He says: "The Mohajirs had taken over the whole of Karachi, the Punjab officials had acquired large tracts of barrage lands and the Pathans had acquired a monopoly of all transport and construction business. Choudhry Mohammad Ali (the then prime minister) thought these worries were all unnecessary because his government in the 1950s had foreseen the problem and had planned the inductions of Mohajirs into Karachi and other major towns of Sindh to forestall Sindhi nationalism". (Ayub Khan: Pakistan’s First Military Ruler, pp-466-467) Some nationalist groups see Sindh’s volatile nature in this notion. They say if the migration had not been engineered by the Punjab-dominated establishment, perhaps there would have been no conflict and violence. The fact is that in the future there would be a Bangladesh-like conflict in the country particularly in Sindh where most of the Urdu-speaking people live. Only a prudent handling of the conflict could save Sindh.
About the author: Manzoor Chandio works for Daily Dawn, leading English newspaper in Pakistan. His basic credo is to help the poor and the down trodden to remove a sense of alienation like powerlessness, hopelessness and voicelessness from them. He believes that no country can make progress if there is no role for each and every individual to play in society. Manzoor Chandio’s dedication to become an established journalist enabled him to continue growing writing abilities while engaged at the same time in a full-time job. Besides, being a working journalist, he has written articles for various English dailies, including Dawn, and vernacular dailies.