Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Today in Pakistan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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After the dust has settled, gunfire sounds abated and bodies buried following the siege of the Red Mosque in Pakistan, it might be useful to contemplate deeply the conditions of this large Islamic country and how it has transformed into a hotbed of corruption and extremism.

Pakistan was just a project of a country for the Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. But firstly, this idea was founded upon secular and economic bases, which soon evaporated and vanished vis-à-vis the military coup d’états and corrupt regimes. The most dangerous era of Pakistan’s contemporary history, however, is that between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohammed Zia ul Haq, when state institutions, which Bhutto sought to establish, were destroyed at the hands of Zia ul Haq, as he allowed the extremist ideology to proliferate and penetrate, and further strengthened the military institution at the expense of civil institutions, creating a favorable climate for corruption. Subsequently, Pakistan transformed into a breeding ground for nepotism and was cited as an example of corruption and included on the lists of corrupt states. Without doubt, the successive governments, which came to power after Zia ul Haq, fell into this quagmire.

What has happened in Pakistan may be full of lessons for what could afflict more than one Arab state, particularly in view of the abominable extremism of Islamist groups, a large number of which have become hard-line, and the judiciary that collapsed before the exacerbation of corruption and despotism of military rulers. Meanwhile, we cannot overlook drawing comparisons between India and Pakistan, whereby India created a dazzling political system and reaped the fruits of stability that was boosted by an economic growth approximating a miracle.

Pakistan should have followed a development approach to concern itself with internal issues rather than devote itself to the Kashmir cause for example, in which millions of dollars were spent and scores of people were killed. This cause is not of great significance because Indian Muslims themselves enjoy good and safe conditions. For instance, the Indian president and India’s richest businessman [Azim Premji] are Muslims amongst others. Therefore, if stability and security were maintained in Kashmir without foreign intervention, it would become an active player in the homeland.

In fact, the tremendous collapse that afflicted Pakistan and turned its provinces into disputing statelets, some of which are out of control, should be taken into consideration and its consequences should be deliberated upon. Therefore, if the Pakistani disease becomes worse, it will lead to the collapse of the Pakistani government and army that is being penetrated by radical fundamentalism and Pakistan will be transformed into a lifeless jungle.