Pakistan's Politico-Strategic Reorientation

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Pakistan's Politico Strategic Reorientation

Pakistan's Politico Strategic Reorientation

First, under the question “Who will save Pakistan? Najam Sethi commented on the “state of nation” and concluded: “Therefore, we must try and fix the system incrementally, without derailing it.” Two core institutions would need to reform themselves if Pakistan were to get going. Second, in the aftermath of Salman Taseer's tragic assassination on 4 January 2011 Moeed Yusuf under the title “The future trend” commented that this barbarian act and its reasons “remind us of the level of degeneration to which Pakistani society has sunk”. He argued that “eliminating intolerance demands eradicating the militant industry in all its aspects, not just tackling certain groups”. Third, in his analysis of the role and purpose of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, Pervez Hoodhboy asks: “Even if our nuclear weapons are safe, can they really guarantee Pakistan's safety?”. He comes to the firm conclusion: “No”. His argumentation is worth quoting in full as it exemplifies both the awareness of the scope of the problems Pakistan faces as well as the magnitude of solutions needed: “An extremist takeover of Pakistan is probably no further than 5 to 10 years away (Eberhart 2011, 1-43).

These three voices clearly highlight that in recent years Pakistan has suffered from systemic weaknesses of its polity and an infection of violent disorder, extremism and militancy. The former is mainly a consequence of the national security doctrine anchored in the threat perception from India and in the fear that Pakistan would lose control over India-centred national security policy to the civilians. The latter is mainly pursued in the name of a politicised brand of religion which many Muslims, including the great majority of Pakistanis, do not recognise as their own. However, I do not think that Pakistan is a fully lost cause, still or again close “to the brink”, or “literally standing on a precipice”, ungovernable, a failed state, or a “decaying nation”. Fortunately, the situation with regards to militancy has improved, but the conclusion voiced for “strategic reorientation” is to date relevant (Eberhart 2011, 1-43).

The difficulties of its nation- and state-building cannot be brought to mind enough. From the outset, the Pakistani people have had difficulties subsuming their particular ethnic identities, dialects and customs into a single national narrative and forming country-wide solidarity. Islam, the stated basis for Pakistan's separation from India was and still is, in its national interest, but which is not enough to create a solid, durable national identity. While Pakistan is the only country to have been created on the basis of a common Muslim identity, Pakistani Muslims have been and are in practice deeply divided about the nature and role of their religion in state politics. Unable to furnish a basis for a common national identity, religion proved insufficient and even detrimental (in its violent sectarian mutation) to hold the state together in its original form - despite the efforts of the governing elites including the Military. Furthermore, in accordance with Farrukh Saleem, I think ...
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