Art Credit: Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library.
“A blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to your disadvantage” The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
The False Start
The premise of Pakistan’s independence and existence is based on a false notion, overconfidence, and misplaced priorities. The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, separated from India on the basis of religion. However soon after separation, in his desire to be a world-class statesman he declared that Pakistan would be a country for all religions. In the Presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, on 11 August 1947, Jinnah perorated: “Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. In any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.” That false dream came crashing down within no time. Pakistan was a dictatorship by 1958 and within 30 years of the creation of it was following Sharia Law and Wahabi Islam. General Mohammad Ziaul Haq, military dictator of Pakistan, in his speech to the nation on taking over power on July 5, 1977, on the hoof, stated “Pakistan, which was created in the name of Islam, will continue to survive only if it stays with Islam. That is why I consider the introduction of an Islamic system as an essential prerequisite for the country.” With this, an unstable and volatile country was out of the frying pan and into the fire. In short period of 72 years of Pakistan’s history, it has seen four dictators namely Muhammed Ayub Khan(1958-1969), Yahya Khan(1969-1971), Muhamed Zia-ul-Haq(1978-1988), and Pervez Musharraf(2001-2008) and remains a military controlled sham democracy till to date. Let us analyze why Pakistan is what it is.
Stockholm Syndrome or a Country in Denial
“The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history” – Will Durant, American Historian
The very area where Pakistan is today is known as the cradle of civilization. This has a deep, long cultural history. Hinduism began there around 2,300 BC. As per Koenraad Elst, a Belgian orientalist and Indologist, this culture had evolved impressive intellectual, religious and artistic pursuits. Pre and post the early days of Islam, Indian scholars took their works in science, maths (zero, algebra, geometry, the decimal system), medicine, philosophy etc to the courts of others nations. Students from other countries came to study in India’s established universities. Indian children (boys and girls) were educated in the relatively widespread education system in a wide variety of subjects eg science, medicine and philosophy. India’s art and architecture were magnificent. They were a prosperous people. Then came Islam – slaughter, slavery, rape, violence, pillage; destruction of religious sites, art and architecture; poverty, exploitation, humiliation, famine, forced conversion, the decline in intellectual pursuits, social destruction and a worsening of social ills.
The 16th Century Persian traveler Ferishta lists that the biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (1000); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526). Well-known Indian historian and Prof. K.S. Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under Delhi Sultanate. However, why we are discussing this here. What this has to do with Pakistan? The answer lies with the location of present-day Pakistan since the brunt of this genocide was borne by this very area. Mahmud of Ghazni, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, Balban, Mohammed bin Qasim, and Sultan Mohammad Tughlak affected the psyche of this whole area so badly that they started identifying themselves with the very perpetrators who had killed, plundered, raped and forcibly converted their ancestors to Islam. Such was the effect of those illiterate and uncivilized savages on the people who were forced to convert to Islam that they started revering them as their heroes and mistook their brutality as bravado. The psychological impact has been so grave that Pakistan has named most of their missiles after these savage bandits i.e. Ghauri, Ghaznavi and Babur etc. The desire to emulate those barbarians continues in today’s Pakistan.
In its desire to be identified with Arabs and Turks, the Pakistani establishment continues to pollute the minds of its younger generation with completely cooked up history. A Textbook of Pakistan Studies by M. D. Zafar states following about Pakistan: “Pakistan came to be established for the first time when the Arabs led by Muhammad bin Qasim occupied Sindh and Multan in 711AD. Pakistan under the Arabs comprised the Lower Indus Valley. During the 11th century, the Ghaznavid Empire comprised what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. During the 12th century, the Ghaznavids lost Afghanistan and their rule came to be confined to Pakistan. By the 13th century, Pakistan had spread to include the whole of Northern India and Bengal. Under the Khiljis Pakistan moved further South to include a greater part of Central India and the Deccan. During the 16th century, ‘Hindustan’ disappeared and was completely absorbed in Pakistan”. The country doesn’t allow any discussion on Moenjodaro and the Indus Valley civilization, Aryan civilization, Mahabharata in which Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa play important roles, the Brahmin religion, a thousand years of Buddhism with its universities and the Gandharan civilization which was spread throughout present-day Pakistan.
Similar blatant lies in Pakistani history textbooks continue about the events that are still in the whole world’s living memory. Among the many examples which stand out are the events of defeats of Pakistan having been glorified as victories in the wars of 1965 and 1971 with India and demonization of Hindus and Sikhs for the partition carnage of 1947. These fraudulent facts are ridiculed by Pakistan’s own intelligentsia.
In Harms Way
“A fools Paradise is a wise man’s Hell” – Thomas Fuller, English Historian
Pakistan started showing its malevolent intent on its own populace, especially on the people of Eastern Pakistan(present-day Bangladesh) Sindh, and Balochistan soon after their inclusion in the Union. Declaration of Urdu as national language resulted in the ‘Bengali Language Movement’. Bengalis also felt under-defended during the Indo-Pak war of 1965. They saw Pakistan favoring Kashmir over East Pakistan(Bangladesh). Bengalis were abhorred to see amble pace of help after the Supercyclone of late 1970 from central government. The schism was building up and came to the fore when Paki dictator Yahya Khan nullified the December 1970 general election won by Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. The abomination of Western Pakistanis was intense for Bengalis. TWest Pakistan considered the people of the East to be second-class citizens. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, who served as head of the Pakistani Forces in East Pakistan in 1971, referred to the region as a “low-lying land of low-lying people”.
The most controversial president of the United States, Richard Nixon, had created many Frankensteins during his tenure and Asia is still paying the price for them. Pakistan is one of that preeminent example amongst many. Nixon’s fondness for Pakistani Generals and hatred for Indians and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in particular, resulted in the loss of lives of 3,000,000 Bengali people and rape of 400,000 Bengali women by the Western Pakistani troops.
Bangla Genocide: Massacre at Dhaka University by Pak Army, 1971
A similar feeling was amongst Baloch nationals, of being left out, slighted and insulted by Punjabi dominated Pakistani political system. Balochistan is a mineral-rich province, and has nearly $1 trillion worth of iron, copper and cobalt deposits. Despite that Balochistan remains most backward and impoverished in the region. There have been five uprisings by Baloch nationals, ever since Balochistan consented to join Pakistan. Over 18,000 Balochs have gone missing or killed by the Pakistani army in the recent past.
The Sindhi and Muhajir(Urdu speaking migrants) narratives also go on similar lines. They never got their full due, were treated badly, and were made to feel lesser martial race than Punjabi race. Muhajir student leader Altaf Hussain started Muttahida Qaumi Movement(MQM) in 1978, to get Muhajirs their rightful place in Pakistan. After an attempt on his life, Hussain fled to London in 1992 and applied for political asylum. He continues his political struggle from London till to date. Over 6,000 Muhajirs have lost their lives at the hands of the security forces of their own country.
Grandiosity in Afghanistan
“A bully hides his fear with fake bravado. This is the opposite of self-assertiveness” Nathaniel Branden – Canadian–American psychotherapist
Photo credit – rferl.org – Mass Grave: Afghanistan 1990
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 to prop up the Marxist regime that had come to power the previous year but which appeared to be on the verge of collapse. Unlike the Soviet invasions of Eastern Europe, their forces encountered prolonged resistance in Afghanistan. This gave Pakistan the opportunity to counter the notion of a greater Pashtunistan and Indian and Soviet influences in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s role was very significant in the provision of guerrilla training, weapons, and funds to the mujahideen. Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency, the ISI, operated training camps in the country’s tribal areas in collaboration with the CIA. The recruitment of fighters was not an issue as the ideological campaign for jihad launched by the Zia regime in partnership with religious political parties served this purpose. Finally, Gorbachev realized the futility of the presence of Soviet forces in Afghanistan terming it ‘bleeding wound’. The Soviet forces withdrew and left Afghanistan by February 1989.
The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan created a few misconceptions in the Pakistani establishment’s mind. They assumed that USSR suffered a massive defeat at the hands of mujahideen trained by Pak army and CIA. The reality is, the Afghan mujahideen did not defeat the Soviets on the battlefield. They won some important encounters, but lost others. In sum, neither side defeated the other. The Soviets could have remained in Afghanistan for several more years but they decided to leave when Gorbachev calculated that the war had become a stalemate. Pakistan started taking unnecessary pride that they have defeated a superpower. They are selling the same misconception to their populace till to date.
In the brutal nine-year conflict, an estimated one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. Over one million Afghan civilians lost their lives in the war they never asked for.
Sapt-Sindhava – Punjab
The Richard Nixon administration in the US had initiated a “covert action plan” in collusion with General Yahya Khan’s government in Pakistan in 1971 to encourage a separatist movement in Punjab, India. By providing military support and modern sophisticated weapons to the Sikh extremists, the Pakistani ISI caused a large number of casualties in Punjab. AK-47 provided by ISI was primarily used by the militants as an ideal weapon in their guerilla warfare. The extremist violence had started with targeting of the Nirankaris and followed by an attack on the government machinery and the Hindus. Ultimately the Sikh terrorists also targeted other Sikhs with opposing viewpoints. This led to the loss of public support and the militants were eventually brought under control of law enforcement agencies by 1993. Over 30,000 Indians lost their lives in this separatist movement on behest of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Lost Paradise – Jammu and Kashmir
“A brother who can be a great support frequently turns an enemy to his brother” An ancient Kashmiri proverb
Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) has been ruled by many Indian dynasties from time immemorial. Maurya Empire, Gupta Empire, Mughal Empire, Kushan Empire, Karkota Empire, and Sikh Empire are some of the recent examples of Indian kings ruling Kashmir. After the breakup of the British Raj in the subcontinent, the Maharaja of J&K executed an ‘Instrument of Accession’ on 26 October 1947 to be part of India. It is the similar move what Balochistan had done while joining Pakistan. For some strange reason Pakistan has not been able to accept this. The self-proclaimed demagogue of the Muslims world’s misbegotten idea of Kashmir has a dual nature. At the time of Independence Pakistan added letter K to the acronym PAKISTAN, claiming it to be part of its dominion. However, when it is questioned about its involvement in the insurgency in J&K, the Pakistani government refutes the claim, stating that it is an endogenous freedom struggle, which they support morally. Pakistan knows it well that it cannot take J&K by force or by the involvement of a third-party nation. Therefore they have opted to employ the same techniques of guerrilla warfare, what it had employed in Afghanistan. The end result of Pakistan’s misadventures is the loss of over 47,000 lives in the last 30 years. Pakistan sponsored terrorism also displaced over 300,000 Pundits(the original sons of the soil) from their ancestral domain to various refugee camps all over North India.
A Manichean Generation
“Human are greedy creatures who only feign civility. Given the slightest chance they will steal plunder and bully” – ‘Leviathan’ by Thomas Hobbes
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, architect of the country’s atomic programme in an interview with the Manchester Guardian in 1965 stated “if India built the nuclear bomb, we will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own”. Pakistan is on the brink of eating grass. It’s economy is in shambles, foreign reserves are down to abysmal levels and businesses are shutting down at breakneck speed. Pakistan’s ‘bleed India with a thousand cuts’ policy—while denying that such a policy exists—is in shambles. It has forced its generations onto a vengeful cul-de-sac.
Pakistan has long been a difficult and disruptive neighbor to Afghanistan, India, and Iran. It hopes to limit India’s influence in Afghanistan. It cultivates radical groups within Afghanistan as proxies and treats it as Pakistan’s own backyard. It has augmented Afghanistan’s instability by providing intelligence, weapons, and protection to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Pakistan is also afraid of a strong Afghan government aligned with India, potentially helping to encircle Pakistan.
The Taliban with the blessings of ISI is a harder target than al-Qaida, because it often operates in major Pakistani cities like Quetta and Karachi. Today ISI has become the biggest drug trafficker in the world. Drugs earnings from the western countries in addition to counterfeit products, and charities spread all across Pakistan are the main source of terror funding.
General Hideki Tojo, of Japan, was tried and awarded life sentence for war crimes of World War II, wherein Japanese forces slaughter 3 million Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, and Indochinese. Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator was accused of only 3095 deaths, but still, he was put under house arrest at London on “Universal Jurisdiction”. Depraved Pakistani Generals and politicians have the blood of over 5 million human beings on their hands. Time has come to choke the source of terror funding and bringing these Pakistanis to the books. Bringing them to the international court of justice is the only hope to save the region and getting peace to millions of souls.
1. The China-Pakistan Axis – Andrew Small
2. Blood Telegram – Gary J. Bass
3. Anushay Malik and Rubina Saigol of Dawn, Pakistan
9. Negationism in India: Concealing the record of Islam – Koenraad Elst
10. The legacy of Muslim Rule in India – Prof K. S. Lal