NationalVOLUME 17 ISSUE # 39

Pakistan after 75 years

After 75 years of its creation, Pakistan is still in search of political stability, economic prosperity, religious moderation, scientific progress, enlightenment, egalitarianism, social welfare, real democracy, rule of law, free media, strong institutions and a class-free society.

Unfortunately, all factors, like economic disparity, provincialism, ignorance, poverty, undemocratic attitude of political and religious leaders, the corrupt and unpatriotic ruling elite, misuse of religion, anti-people policies, exploitation, prejudice, intolerance, internal and external conspiracies, etc which proved instrumental in dismembering the country in 1971 are still prevalent in Pakistan.

Militants have come back to Swat and launched their activities again. Around 80,000 innocent Pakistanis have already lost their lives in the terror war. Balochistan is in turmoil. Many educated persons, like Shari Baloch, the first woman suicide bomber used by militants, have joined the anti-Pakistan Baloch Liberation Army. The state has failed to solve the problems of the people of Balochistan. The media, including print, electronic and social, is in chains. Nobody is allowed to criticise the government. The no-objection certificate (NOC) of a private channel has been cancelled by the government. Arshad Sharif, a famous journalist, has left the country to avoid his arrest. The PTI government has been replaced with the PDM regime. The PML-N’s Shahbaz Sharif, who is facing many cases in courts, has been made the prime minister of Pakistan. Earlier, Nawaz Sharif was allowed to leave the country after being convicted by court. Maryam Nawaz, another convicted person, is on bail and doing politics freely. The PPP’s Asif Ali Zardrai, his sister Faryal Talpur, Sharjeel Memon and many other convicted leaders are free and ruling the Sindh province.

All these leaders have changed NAB laws just to protect themselves. There is no one who can stop them from their activities. Rather Pakistan’s checkered political history manifests that state institutions, including judiciary and civilian bureaucracy, have supported and protected the ruling elite.

Ghulam Muhammad, a former bureaucrat, removed Nazimuddin’s administration after a language movement in Dacca and religious riots in Lahore. He also dismissed Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra on the pretext of restoring law and order in the country in 1954. The Apex Court’s former Chief Justice Muhammad Munir protected Ghulam Muhammad’s actions by coining “the doctrine of necessity”.

Iskander Ali Mirza, a military officer who was transferred to the civil service, removed Malik Ghulam and became the first President of Pakistan in 1956. He dismissed four prime ministers in two years and imposed martial law on October 7, 1958. General Ayub Khan took over the presidency from Mirza on October 27, 1958. He termed Fatima Jinnah a “traitor” for winning elections. He supported the corrupt wealthy class and played his part in the creation of Bangladesh by introducing bad policies. He invited Army Chief Yahya Khan to impose martial law for a second time on the nation in 1969 before resigning from his position. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto assumed control of Pakistan following the separation of East Pakistan. He directed an army operation in Balochistan in 1973 that resulted in the death of thousands of civilians. In 1977, he won the election. The opposition, however, accused him of rigging. Protests against him were also initiated by religious organisations and figures. In 1977, Army Chief General Zia-ul-Haq declared martial law. In 1979, Bhutto was found guilty of encouraging the murder of a political rival and sentenced to death. Here, the judiciary once more played a contentious role by endorsing martial law and hanging a political figure.

General Zia-ul-Haq created the MQM which killed thousands of innocent people in Karachi. He embraced Islamic Jihad following the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. He discouraged scientific education and encouraged extremism. He also supported Nawaz Sharif to create the PML-N against the PPP in Punjab. After the death of General Zia, the establishment supported Nawaz Sharif against Benazir Bhutto. The Apex Court’s decision in the Asghar Khan case fully endorses the fact. Now, the establishment and judiciary have supported the PDM in ousting the PTI government. However, due to these policies, Pakistan is again on the verge of economic collapse.

Shedding light on the poor economy, Juvaria Jafri writes: “In April, a litre of petrol cost about 150 rupees (£0.60), but by July 1 the price had risen to nearly 250 rupees. And the price of cooking oil increased by 40% just between May and June. At present the country has only enough foreign currency to pay for five weeks of imports. Power outages are not uncommon in the country. Over the past few weeks, residents of major cities have had to go without electricity in their homes for as much as 10 hours a day – in rural areas for even more. The discomfort of the public is compounded by an intense heatwave in many parts of South Asia that has caused temperatures in some places to hit 51℃. Foreign exchange reserves with the Pakistan central bank currently stand at US$10.3 billion, (£8.4 billion). This is a sharp drop from US$16.6 billion in January 2022. To avert bankruptcy – and to continue buying food and fuel – Pakistan is now awaiting assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Unless exports drastically increase in the coming years, Pakistan’s economy will remain precarious and high prices will remain a threat”.

In short, after 75 years, Pakistan still needs the monetary help of the IMF, World Bank and countries like China, Saudi Arabia, etc.