Pakistan: a disintegrated nation

Jawad Ali examines how a lack of national unity can neutralize any positive economic measures taken in Pakistan.

The Chinese president’s recent visit is yet another example of the strong China-Pakistan friendship. The $46 billion economic corridor is the first time the economic aspect of the friendship has come into the spotlight. Both China and Pakistan have security problems: ETIM is a separatist group in Xin Kiang province which is thought to be operating from the tribal belt (FATA) of Pakistan; while in Pakistan, different kinds of terrorists under the umbrella of TTP, Jamat ul Ahrah, Uzbeks and many other anti-state groups pose grave security problems.

In 1901, the British government implemented the FCR to rein in the tribal people. But after more than a century, the same law persists, this time with a legal cover under article 247 of the constitution. The social and civilizational development of the people depends upon the law governing them. FCR resulted in the deprivation and alienation of the tribal people, that in turn resulted in mistrust and feeling of insecurity between the state and the people of the tribal belt. This led to the creation of many splinter groups for the vested interests of the deep state and some foreigners, who never missed a chance to fish in the troubled water.

China is going through a historic phase of economic development. It wants peace in its region, especially in the south, the only reliable neighbour. That is the reason it is going to invest $46 billion in the construction of roads, railway lines, pipelines and energy related project in Pakistan. The purpose for this is two prong: to get the shortest way into the warm waters of the Arabian Sea and to help the people from where it feels indirect threats. In the latter case, it wants to help the people who have been deprived of their due rights, who joined hands with terrorists.

China is interested in bridging the security gap through the construction of basic infrastructure. But the absence of three chief ministers of the federation during the recent agreement indicates the existence of mistrust and lack of consensus on the investment plan. This is where the state failed to learn from the past by denying the rights of the federating units and burying its head in the sand on some basic issues that require immediate attention. No nation can grow in the modern world without the presence of national integrity; where one unit of a federation keeps the lion’s share of all developmental schemes.

No nation, that cannot treat its citizens equally, can ever be worthy of its existence. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a good chance for Pakistan to eliminate the menace of terrorism for once and all, by bringing the backward, deprived and alienated parts of the country into a national line. But here national integration seems to be a failure, once again. The responsibility of this failure will lie not only on the federal government, and on the single most developed administrative unit, but on the lack of a positive opposition in the centre, weak provincial governments who failed to present their case, nationalists who are capable of nothing but getting votes in the name of their iconic forefathers, the absence of a vibrant civil society, and the good-for-nothing educated youth.

Jawad Ali is a freelance writer

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