During an occasion celebrating the legacy of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, a Turkish scribe recalled the Maulana’s role in opposing the balkanisation of Ottoman Turkey’s domain almost 100 years back. The Maulana comprehended the perils of provincialism.
The challenge to unity doesn’t have to be met with more disunity.
Chopping into ethno-national parts remains a threat to nationhood. It doesn’t matter if it is done in the name of administrative efficacy. The impact nonetheless shall be divisive.
Tribalism and sectarianism are a far more deadly foe than an external threat. States that survive foreign invasions are not known to survive internal strife. The USSR, for example, survived the Nazi onslaught of 1941 - albeit with horrendous costs - but it could not surmount the domino effect when Lithuania broke away from its orbit 50 years later in 1991.
Similarly, Yugoslavia under Tito was a respected player on the non-aligned stage and his name was mentioned in the same breath as other luminaries of the era, like Nehru, Nasser, Nkrumah, and Sukarno. Tito’s death broke Yugoslavia into several smaller parts. Mayhem and bloodshed followed. Genocidal massacre of Muslims at the hands of Serbs occurred in Europe in full view of Western bystanders.
The repercussions of the shattering of Yugoslavia was neither fully weighed, nor vetted. In its wake, it radicalised Muslim youth in the West and inflamed anti-Western sentiments in the Muslim world.
When the Argentinian junta seized the remote Falklands Islands in 1982, Britain, under Margaret Thatcher, despatched a force 8,000 miles away to thrash and oust the Argentines from what Britons felt was their own territory.
When the last Muslim stronghold of Granada in Spain fell in 1492, the weeping Muslim ruler, Boabdil, was admonished by his mother, who said to him: “Don’t cry like a woman for something you could not defend like a man.”
Comes now this dummy Parliament - an assembly of the upstart rich and the inherited plutocrats - who feel they have the licence to toy with and divide Pakistan. What they did not have the guts to safeguard, they have chosen to gladly surrender.
A silly example is given: The United States has 50 States. What is not mentioned is that Abraham Lincoln fought a four-year civil war to prevent the American South from seceding from the USA, ultimately losing his life in 1865 to save the Union. Today, the American identity is cohesive enough that the US flag flutters across households in all 50 States.
Better to come under the big tent of Pakistan, then trying to stray away from it. Ask the Stateless Palestinians, Kurds, and Chechens what it means not to have a State of their own. These parliamentarians received Pakistan - with all its perks and privileges - on a platter.
Fresh is the example of Africa’s biggest nation-State, Sudan, from which South Sudan has been severed. Dafur could be next in line.
More provinces will open a Pandora’s Box of unexpected consequences.
This insane and asinine move for more provinces has to be stopped and blocked. Not for the sake of any province, but for the sake of Pakistan and its founding ideology.
The writer is an attorney-at-law and policy analyst based in Washington DC. He is the first Pakistani American member admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar.