Wednesday, 28 May 2008

From 34 to 9th position

From 34 to 9th position
Dr Shabir Choudhry 6 May 2006

Even before Pakistan emerged as an independent State on 14th August 1947, millions of people rushed to become part of that state hoping for a better future. They thought this is a ‘promised land’- land of ‘pure’ where they will have peace and tranquility, where they will have justice and dignity.

Dreams of many were shattered soon, but some still lived in hope for a better` future; and situation now is so bad that if people of Pakistan are given a choice to settle in any country of their choice, commentators believe that within weeks it will be difficult to find Pakistanis in this land of ‘pure’.

This, by any one’s standard, is a remarkable turn around. People talk of Pakistan being a ‘failed state’, where there is no peace and security; and in view of some there is no future. Pakistani people are very good people, they are intelligent, hard working and very friendly, and they love their country and are prepared to sacrifice anything for its defence and future.

Then question is what went wrong? Why we find Pakistan in this predicament? There is no simple answer to this. In view of some, Pakistanis got geographical entity in name of an independent Pakistan, but they were never independent and sovereign; and those who were behind the partition of Indian Sub Continent wanted Pakistan and South Asia to suffer the way it is suffering today.

Predictions were made about Pakistan’s ultimate demise soon after its creation, and through bad government, injustice and conspiracies Pakistan lost its other half, East Pakistan, hence we saw emergence of a ‘new Pakistan’. Many hoped that Pakistani ruling elite has learnt its lesson, and they would ensure that the remaining Pakistan survives as a democratic, stable and prosperous country.

This dream was also shattered when communal and undemocratic forces got their act together and took over reins of power. And these forces have ‘sincerely’ and systematically ensured that there is no peace in the country and that there is no appraisal of their misdeeds; and anyone who dared to point out faults of this ‘elite group’ had to pay very heavy price.

Critics of the governments and well wishers of Pakistan were called ‘agents’ of the ‘enemy’, and either eliminated or sidelined that people look down at them as ‘traitors’. A number of agencies mushroomed to protect this system of government and they set up groups and sub groups who had a task of harassing and ‘labelling’ critics of the government.

I am among those who love Pakistan and its people, but I would not dare to live there permanently, in fact in 1991, I said good- bye to England and went to live in Islamabad with wife and children to settle there, but after 11 months of hard struggle, sacrifice and humiliation I finally returned to England to start a ‘new life’.

When Pakistani army surrendered in East Pakistan and Pakistan lost its one wing, my father, being a retired army man himself felt the disgrace and humiliation and he cried, with him I also cried as I didn’t want Pakistan to suffer such humiliation. Second time I cried for Pakistan, trivial it may look to some, was when Pakistan lost cricket world cup in 1988.

What this demonstrated was my love for Pakistan, even though I was labelled as ‘anti Pakistan’ at the tender age of eighteen when I wrote my first article making criticism on Pakistan government’s Kashmir policy. And since that whenever I wrote to point out wrongs in the Pakistani policy, be it with regard to Kashmir or their domestic matters a group of people, perhaps specially set up for this purpose has targeted me with criticism, threats, and many email with virus.

Thank God that this has not deterred me to change my course- I did what I thought was right, and kept my chin high in my fight against injustice, oppression and democratic values. As long as, like many other ‘nationalists’, I only targeted India with regard to Kashmir dispute I was a ‘good boy’ who was a ‘talented, scholar and dedicated leader of JKLF’; and as soon as I shifted my focus and also started criticising Pakistan for its wrong policies, I have been projected as ‘anti movement, pro India and anti JKLF’.

Pakistan has a nuclear bomb and missile system as well, but does not have the respect and dignity other nuclear states enjoy in comity of nations. Despite close ‘friendship’ with America and its role in war against terrorism, Pakistan is fast losing its prestige and reputation.

To shock of most Pakistanis and Kashmiris, Pakistan has nose -dived from 34th position to 9th, as being the most ‘failed state’; and what adds salt to wounds is that this report is prepared by a well respected magazine, ‘Foreign Policy’ and think tank ‘Fund for Peace’ of a ‘friendly country’, America. Readers don’t need to be reminded that Pakistani governments have gone out of way to help and support America in America’s was against Soviet Russia and ‘War on terrorism’.

Not a long ago, in another table, prepared by Transparency International, Pakistan was declared as number two most ‘corrupt state’ in the entire world, no matter what Pakistan government says in defence of these ‘standings’ in the comity of nations, the fact remains that no civilized nation or community with dignity and honour could be proud of this ‘negative achievement’.
As was expected, Pakistan government out rightly rejected this report and Information Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani said the report was the "joke of the year" and factually incorrect. "The compilers made no effort to find out about what was actually happening in Pakistan. I do not understand the parameters they adopted to declare Pakistan as a failed state," he told the BBC. He further said, "The country's law and order situation and its human rights record are better than many other countries."
The authors of the report, however, insist that their findings are correct. The second annual "failed states index" ranked 146 nations according to their viability, and this report was based on "tens of thousands of articles" gathered from different sources in 2005, and reviewed by experts. These experts prepared the report according to 12 point criteria, which included human flight, violence, economic decline etc.
What has hurt pride of many Pakistanis is that their country now ranks among countries like Somalia (no 7) and Haiti (no 9); and countries like Bangladesh (19), Uganda (21), Sri Lanka (25), Angola (37), Nigeria (21) and India (93) have better standing than their beloved country.

This report suggests that Pakistan is getting deeper in to problems, and we Kashmiris are upset about this, because apart from Pakistanis our fate is also ‘attached’ with the progress, stability and prosperity of Pakistan. We believe a stable, democratic and prosper Pakistan is must for the peace, stability and prosperity of South Asia.

Fate of Kashmiris was ‘attached’ to the fate of Pakistan in October 1947, when Pakistan violated terms of the Standstill Agreement and manoeuvred a ‘Tribal invasion’. Pakistan failed in its objective of getting whole of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, but Pakistani rulers never gave up their dream of getting Kashmir. They lost East Pakistan and have forgotten it as well, but they claim that they cannot forget Kashmir, as without Kashmir they are not ‘complete’. It is ironic that they feel themselves complete even after losing East Pakistan

It is amazing that majority of Pakistanis and especially their elites still believe that people of Jammu and Kashmir are desperate to join Pakistan. It is good to have dreams but one has to be realistic when dealing with matters related to real life.

People of Jammu and Kashmir, because of centuries of oppression and subjugation, have developed many problems which have become part of their psyche, but they are not fools; and people of Pakistan are not fools either. We can see what Pakistanis have done to Qaaide Azam’s Pakistan, we can see what is the quality of life there, and what security and future we might have were we to join Pakistan; and yet they expect us to become part of them.

Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at: drshabirchoudhry@hotmail.com

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