“Pakistan is the resilient nation.” Well it is. We proudly own the quote while describing our nation’s ability to emerge from crisis and mishaps. Renowned French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot in his book “The Paradox of Pakistan: Instability and Resilience”, detailed the challenges and problems of this nation. Despite some of his questionable arguments, his conclusion was highly relevant to the story of our crisis. And that is the resilience of our country and its people. To be a resilient nation is the hope of many patriots and patrons who could lead the nation towards a sustainable and prosperous future. But the question is: won’t the pride of the “resilient nation” become the nightmare of the incorrigible nation?
No state in this world is naturally immune to disasters, economic crises, identity crises or socio-societal challenges. Responsible societies, communities and states have various internal and external challenges and vulnerabilities. Even so, they struggle with the state model of security, survival and political-economic independence. They prefer to endure contemporary political, military, or economic crises, but with a fervor to improve the system and society in the future. Today, the world illustrated China as the country recovered from a nation in crisis in the 1970s-1980s, now leading the world economy and trade. Deng Xiaoping’s initiatives for economic reform are considered the basis of contemporary Chinese influence in world markets. In the case of Pakistan, our economic and security policies are still on probation. Our strategic community and our political elite claimed to be constantly working on emerging challenges and sustainable developments. Unfortunately, after a year or two, these strategies remained written on paper, preserved in the national archives.
The National Security Policy (2022-2026) is the best example of this argument. A security state took 75 years to launch its first documented security policy for national purposes. Well, the irony hasn’t stopped yet, thanks to the quality of being resilient yet “incorrigible” that our contemporary preference for alliances and paths of economic development still contradicts the NSP (2022-2026). Generally, our nation still strays into the pride of sitting at the geostrategic location. However, the reality is that Bangladesh and India have benefited far more than Pakistan over the past three decades. We were continually preparing to be the good boy of Western allies in South Asia, rather than anchoring ourselves on the tremendous economic opportunities surrounding our ideal location.
The last time we did a geostrategic location trade by joining the United States, the misadventure claimed 80,000 Pakistani casualties with the emergence of deadly insurgencies. In fact, sacrificing a lot with a stagnant economy, Pakistan has been continually urged to “DO MORE” by its unique strategic partner. In section vii of the NSP (2022-2026), under the subtitle of the United States, we declared that Pakistan did not subscribe to the “policy of the camps” while our ministers openly admitted that it was impossible to buy cheap Russian fuel due to angry single strategic partners. . From the regime change plot to the COAS request to the US Assistant Secretary of State for delayed IMF operations, events prove that we are getting closer to incorrigible statehood.
In modern state affairs, the growing influence of international regimes and global power politics has turned developing states into ‘poor workers’. One way or another, the notion of sovereignty and political independence has taken place under the aegis of the great powers. If a developing country tries to flee, the hail of economic sanctions, international surveillance and financial regimes overthrows them until they reunite with the major power concerned. Rationally, this reason constitutes a part in the governance of chess. But who is responsible for internal fault lines and dynastic political regimes? Our institutions take pride and are recognized for their skilled work, not in their field or area of responsibility. Being 130th out of 139th on the WJP index is not mind-boggling for ordinary citizens who have to experience state institutions on a routine basis. In short, we settle for the pride of resilience ignoring the growing inability to counter emerging challenges with sustained policies and strategies. We need strong policies for sustainable development and economic growth with effective means of implementation.
Pakistan is a democratic country. And the well-being of this nation lies in democracy rather than in a neo-autocratic or neo-feudal system. This country deserves to be the Pakistan of Jinnah rather than a political laboratory for any other entity. We are a resilient nation. We must not let mistakes happen again and again. Our strength lies in unity, faith and discipline for this homeland rather than in any institution, political party or religious entity. We have learned a lot from past experiences of being the ploys of others. Changing the world order and power politics, our realignment with the United States for one of its neo-South Asian misadventures will leave us catastrophic in the future. We need to design policies of economic cooperation rather than military cooperation in exchange for US aid or US compensation in the form of conditional IMF or FDI etc. Our most urgent need is to design a comprehensive framework for economic development, economic growth and geolocation. economic regimes and alliances. Our forces are seasoned and ready to counter any threat. The full-spectrum deterrence policy is credible against enemy aggression. At the same time, we need to focus more on the economy and trade relations, as well as effective diplomacy for the well-being of this state. This nation has suffered much; let us give hope to this nation as well as the warning in front of the incorrigible situation. PakistanZindabad
Ibrahim Azhar, independent defense and policy analyst with a central interest in strategic culture, NSPs, policy designs, non-traditional security and emerging technologies.