The current civilian Govt in Pakistan is a sham, a pseudo-elected body without any spine
August 5, 2019, was, in more ways than one a Historic Day towards the full integration of the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India. This has not just rattled Pakistan’s civilian Govt which is nothing more than a mere mouthpiece for their Military but now has questioned the very core founding principles of the Pakistani Military.
The Pakistani Military derives its relevance & sustainability from only one element – Anti-India sentiment or the 2 Nation theory. With India’s assertive stand on Kashmir on August 5, 2019, it exposed Pakistani Military’s trump card which gives it importance & supremacy in their country.
What India has done, to put it simply, is to shift the discussion on Kashmir as a whole to just ‘Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’. And, the Pakistani military understands it’s ‘now or never’ to raise this issue. If the Pakistanis miss the bus on Kashmir this time, they would have lost the narrative on Kashmir forever. They understand this and hence the flurry of events in Pakistan to make this into an international issue.
Imran Khan (read Army) has lately been talking about Indian leadership being facist & anti-minority. But, a look at data exposes their secularism bluff. If there’s a country that’s persecuted minorities the most, it has to be Pakistan
Pakistani Government, Media, Civil Society & more importantly their Military have lost their way. On one hand, Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan wants to internationalize the issue through diplomacy, while on the other hand – he is blackmailing the same international community with Nuclear War in the sub-continent. To the lay observer of the Indian sub-continent politics – this reeks of desperation.
#KashmirAtDecisionPoint is trending on Twitter as I write this article, while in reality #PakMilitaryAtDecisionPoint should be the hashtag. If we were to imagine a hypothetical India-Pakistan scenario where the Kashmir issue is resolved, done & dusted. In this scenario, the focus of Pakistanis would be more on development rather than the army & the military would lose its current relevance in Pakistan (and take a backseat, like it is in genuine democratic nations like USA, Japan, India, etc). Kashmir for the Pakistani Army is more about maintaining their own power & control than about the Kashmiri people.
A look at the data, which one cannot dispute, makes my case. In 2018, Pakistan spent 4% of their GDP on Defence while India spent a mere 2.4%. In 2018, Military expenditure as a percentage of general Govt. expenditure for Pakistan was as high as 18% while for India, a country far larger than Pakistan was just 8.7%. This clearly indicates the strong control Pakistani Military has over day-to-day events in Pakistan. Instead of meaningless defence funding, they should focus on their economy, which is in deep crisis. The Pakistani Army has its hands in the Real estate industry, Banking Sector, Infrastructure industry etc. As things exist today, it is just not possible to imagine a Pakistan where the Civilian government is in-charge & the Army is firmly under the leadership of the elected Government. Unless this changes, Pakistan & by extension it’s army will continue to rake up the issue of Kashmir & incite violence in the area.
The current civilian Govt in Pakistan is a sham, a pseudo-elected body without any spine. It does what it’s been asked to do by the Military, which became crystal clear when PM Imran Khan went against his own words (in the past) and extended General Bajwa’s term by 3 more years. It almost seems like Gen. Bajwa extended his own term.
Imran Khan (read Army) has lately been talking about Indian leadership being facist & anti-minority. But, a look at data exposes their secularism bluff. If there’s a country that’s persecuted minorities the most, it has to be Pakistan. A former member of Pakistani Parliament Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani wrote a telling article in July 2013 on ‘Cleansing Pakistan of Minorities’.
She says – “At the time of partition in 1947, almost 23 per cent of Pakistan’s population was comprised of non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately 3 per cent. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also become far more accentuated over the years. Muslim groups such as the Shias who account for approximately 20-25 percent of Pakistan’s Muslim population, Ahmadis who have been declared non-Muslim by the writ of the state, and non-Muslim minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been the targets of suicide bomb attacks on their neighborhoods, had community members converted to Islam against their will, and had their houses of worship attacked and bombed even while they were inhabited by worshipers
Even the graveyards of Christians and Ahmadis have not been spared. Regular reports of graves being excavated and vandalized appear in the press and via community reports. In Sindh and Balochistan provinces, well-to-do Hindus have been the primary targets of the ransom kidnappings. The numbers of minority Muslims and non-Muslims subjected to these purposeful attacks have increased significantly and the crimes committed have become more heinous. Those accused of “blasphemy” have sometimes been burnt alive outside police stations with no culprits identified or punished.”
A country where the law could not even protect the graveyards of minorities is now lecturing the world on ‘Rights of Minorities’. PM Imran Khan, who jails his opposition (Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Ali Zardari, etc) should not lecture anyone else on ‘Right to expression & freedom’. It is incumbent on Liberals, World Media & Peace-loving democratic countries to call Pakistan’s bluff on peace, tolerance & secularism. Policymakers in the UN, US, Afghanistan, India & all democratic nations should take cognizance of this. Even Arabic nations like UAE (which recently bailed out Pakistan), Bahrain stand with India on this debate.
India does not have a pathological hatred for Pakistani citizens. ‘Live & Let Live’ is the mantra by which the average Indian goes by. Pakistan has nothing to gain by ratcheting up Kashmir unnecessarily. Instead, if their establishment focuses on Development, Literacy, Socio-Economic health of their society – they’ll be exaggeratedly better off than what they are today. Pakistan’s continuous deep hatred for India has doomed their today.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
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