Monday, March 5, 2012

The Ongoing History of Pakistan

From the time of her independence, Pakistan has gone through a process of interpretation. The prime problem had always been about choosing the guardians of history. From the early days, an incessant fight is going on in trying to find out the real history of the country. Unfortunately, the answer is not just obscure, but is muddling with the passage of time.

The Crisis of Interpretation
The fight is not just between a secular identity versus religious identity; it is also on the very idea of Pakistan. People have different - and diametrical - views on how this country should be governed.
        Some people declare Pakistan to be a Nation-State, and hence it has it's own national interests. These interests do not necessarily coincide with the interests of the Ummah. Pakistan as a nation-state should sought a policy which would help her citizen to increase their quality of life regardless of what is happening around the world. Pakistan should foster relations only on the basis of her national interest. If a deal with India is good for Pakistan's economy, then nothing should stop the politicians from doing this.
        On the other hand, a group of people call Pakistan to be a global movement of self-determination. This group doesn't consider 1947 as the starting point of Pakistan, rather they go back to 712 when Muhammed bin Qasim conquered Sindh and set up his own government in Multan. People with this line of thought consider Pakistan to be a political movement with few traits of a modern Nation-State. Pakistan being a global movement should support people fighting for self-determination, even on the cost of risking her own future. These idealist imagine a world where people either are Pakistanis or non-Pakistanis. These sort of Utopian ideas are no different from the writing of the early utopian socialists, e.g. Saint Simon and Thomas More. 

The future of Pakistan seems to me as an ongoing historical process where fight will go on between these two paradigms. A synthesis of ideas isn't around the corner.The notion of constitutionalism and nation-state are only feasible in a liberal political order. A failure of such an order means turning Pakistan into an uncontrolled political movement which will have dire consequences on the region and on the world.

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