Pakistan courting the abyss
By I. Ramamohan Rao
New Delhi [India], Feb.11 (ANI): Since when has Pakistan been trying to court the abyss? Is it from recent times or right from the time it became independent?
To start with, Pakistan was created due to the insecurity that prevailed among Muslims in the then un-partitioned Indian subcontinent prior to 1947. What the country's founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, promised during his Independence Day speech was that Pakistan would remain a 'home' to all living in Pakistan, but it never came true.
The Pakistan movement became essentially a movement of the Muslim minority elite living in Muslim minority provinces.
Divisions in Pakistan society started taking place soon after its birth as a nation, with Amediyyas being declared non-Muslims, as also Shias and Sufis.
Over the years, the Pakistan Army instead of remaining an arm of the executive, became identified with the state itself. It has been stated that today the army has a 'nation' in Pakistan
General Ayub Khan assumed power in October 1958 and imposed martial law. He used the power he had to fight India in the Rann of Kutch, and followed it up by with a military engagement with India in Chamb Jaurian and other border areas to cut of Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of India, but failed. He was invited to Tashkent by the Soviets and came to a settlement with Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Pakistan had it major trouble when national elections were held in 1970. The majority was won by Mujibur Rehman who should have been the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The military rulers of Pakistan instead cracked down on East Pakistan, killing millions of inhabitants in that area. This started an influx of Bengali refugees that turned into an exodus into India in 1971. The Indian government waited patiently till the northern passes were closed and when Pakistan provoked her into aggression by attacking some airfields in the western sector.
In the two-week war that followed, Pakistani forces were defeated by the Indian Army and the Mukti Bahini.
On demand from the Indian Army, over 93, 000 Pakistani troops in East Pakistan surrendered. East Pakistan became Bangladesh, a free nation.
As the author says, "Islamization has clearly neither created nor strengthened a unique Pakistan identity or unity. If anything, successive doses of Islamization have led to greater intolerance and insecurity. The result has been that since the Munir Commission Report, there is division between Shia, the Barelvis and Debandis, who have been denouncing each other. Both Barelvis and Deobandis have denounced the Shias. The Barelvis have called the Ahl-e-Hadis infidels and pure devils, while the Ahl-e-Hadis have denounced all Hanafi sects to be against the teachings of Quran."
Pakistan was pulled into the Afghan War, virtually forced by its allies in the West, which also indirectly remained silent during its nuclearisation. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the man who declared that Pakistanis would rather eat grass than wait to become a nuclear power was involved in a rivalry for power, entered jail and eventually lost his life.
Former ISI chief late Lt. Gen Hamid Gul boasted how he had organised Islamists from a large number of Muslims countries. In recent times, Pakistan is being sucked to play a terrorist role in the areas adjacent to it.
The author has given us the role played by the rulers–political and military –in the history of Pakistan. The author has described how Pakistan has step by step walked into an abyss, deeper and deeper.
A comprehensive assessment of Pakistan, right from its creation, and the various powers that played. Virtually everyone used Pakistan, and will continue to do so.
Book Review, Pakistan Courting the Abyss, by Tilak Devesher, pages 450, Harper Collins, Rs. 599
Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao is former Principle Information Officer of the Government of India. He can be reached on his e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (ANI)