“Pakistan is the resilient nation.” Well, it is. We proudly own the quote while portraying the ability of our nation to come out of crisis and misadventures. The famous French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot in his book “The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience,” detailed the challenges and problems of this nation. Despite some of his debatable arguments, his conclusion was very much relevant to the history of our crisis. And that is the resilience of our country and its people. Being a resilient nation is the hope of many patriots and patrons that could lead the nation to a sustained and prosperous future. But the question is: Isn’t the pride of “The Resilient nation” going to be the nightmare of the incorrigible nation?
None of a state in this world is naturally immune to disasters, economic crises, identity crises, or social-societal challenges. The responsible societies, communities, and states have various internal and external challenges and vulnerabilities. Even so, they grapple with the state model for security, survival, and Political-Economic independence. They prefer to endure contemporary political, military, or economic crises but with the fervor to ameliorate the system and society in the future. Today, the world exemplified China as the country recuperates from a crisis nation in the 1970-1980s, now leading global economy and trade. Deng Xiaoping’s initiatives for economic reforms are considered the base of contemporary Chinese influence in the world markets. In the case of Pakistan, our economic and security policies are still under probation. Our strategic community and political elite claimed to be working continuously on emerging challenges and sustainable developments. Sadly, after a year or two, these strategies remained in written words on papers, stored in national archives.
National security policy (2022-2026) is the prime example of this argument. A security state took 75 years to launch its first documented security policy for national objectives. Well, the irony didn’t stop yet, thanks to the quality of being resilient but “incorrigible” that our contemporary preference for alliances and pathways to economic development still contradicts the NSP (2022-2026). Generally, our nation still strays into the hubris of just sitting at the geo-strategic location. However, the reality is that Bangladesh and India have benefited much more than Pakistan in the last three decades. We were continuously preparing ourselves to be the good boy of western allies in South Asia, Rather than anchoring on the tremendous economic opportunities concerning our ideal location.
The last time when we made a trade of geo-strategic location by joining hands with the U.S, the misadventure resulted in 80,000 Pakistani causalities with the emergence of lethal insurgencies. In fact, by sacrificing much with a stagnant economy, Pakistan was continuously asked to “DO MORE” by its unique strategic partner. In Section vii of NSP (2022-2026), under the sub-heading of the U.S, we stated that Pakistan does not subscribe to ‘camp politics’ while our ministers openly acknowledged that buying cheap Russian fuel is impossible due to angered unique strategic partners. From regime change conspiracy to the request made by COAS to the U.S deputy state secretary for IMF delayed operations, the events are evidence that we are getting close to the status of incorrigible state.
In modern state affairs, the increasing influence of international regimes and global power politics made developing states “employees in misery.” Somehow, the notion of sovereignty and political independence has taken place under the umbrella of great powers. If some developing country tries to run away, the hailstorm of economic sanctions, international monitoring, and financial regimes knock them down till they make the reunion with the concerned great power. Rationally, this reason constitutes some extent in governing failures. But who is responsible for internal fault lines and dynastic political regimes? Our institutions have hubris and are known for their skilled work, not in their domain or area of responsibility. Being 130th out of 139th on the WJP index is not dumbfounding for ordinary citizens who have to experience state institutions on routine. In short, we are satisfied with the pride of resilience by ignoring the growing incapability of countering emerging challenges with sustained policies and strategies. We need robust policies for sustainable development and economic growth with effective ways and means for implementation.
Pakistan is a democratic country. And the well-being of this nation lies in democracy rather than any neo-autocratic or neo-feudal system. This country deserves to be Jinnah’s Pakistan rather than a political lab for any other entity. We are a resilient nation. We should not let mistakes happen again and again. Our strength lies in unity, faith, and discipline for this motherland rather than any institution, political party, or religious entity. We have learned a lot from past experiments of being others’ ploys. In changing global order and power politics, our re-alignment with the US for any of its neo- Southern Asian misadventure will leave us catastrophic in the future. We need to design policies for economic cooperation rather than military cooperation in exchange of US aids or US compensations in the form of IMF or conditioned FDIs etc. Our most urgent need is to design a comprehensive framework for economic development, economic growth, and geo-economic regimes and alliances. Our forces are battle-hardened and ready to counter any threat. The policy of full spectrum deterrence is credible against enemy’s aggression. Contemporarily, we need to focus more on economy and trade connections along with effective diplomacy for the welfare of this state. This nation has suffered a lot; let’s give this nation hope along with the admonition before the incorrigible state of affairs. Pakistan Zindabad
Ibrahim Azhar, Independent defense & policy analyst with core interest in Strategic culture, NSP, policy designs, Non-traditional security and emerging technologies.