The status quo
Never in the HISTORY of Pakistan have the people of Pakistan felt as disillusioned, let down and cheated as they do today, by all institutions of Pakistan, whichever face, race, ethnicity, even the ruling PTI supporters are disgruntled. Hopelessness is in the air and there is no savior in sight. Every passing day brings newer and higher taxes, increasing prices, closing businesses, decreasing income, newer and more innovative global shame, and the abject helplessness in helping those all Pakistani civil, religious and military leaders always called the aorta of Pakistan: Kashmir.
The tip of the iceberg
Take a look at Twitter, an open letter to our PM Imran Khan by a Christian Indian or the barrage of negative comments by Indian’s on Imran Khan’s twitter account. Fine India is Enemy Numero Uno how does one justify the absolute rejection of Pakistan’s call for help by the world community in general including Muslim countries? The UNSC resolution was nothing short of a joke that our politicians pounced on as a “victory” for it neither restored Article 370 in Kashmir nor improved Pakistan’s standing anywhere in practical terms, all our leaders have are theories, while the people day by day are getting more and more angry and frustrated at an apparent failure of governance at all possible levels, internal or external.
Two neighbors, both got freedom at the same time, India’s economy is 9 times bigger than Pakistan’s. This is where the discussion should start. The world, you and I inclusive, respect the rich and despise the poor. The term “bhikari” (beggar) on google returns images of Imran Khan. Now, the fact of the matter is that Imran is a fairly well-off and self-respecting man but he stooped to the lowest possible level to save his dying under debt nation by going to all he could.
But Imran couldn’t possibly solve even 1% of Pakistan’s problems, let alone Kashmir!
Why so? Quite simply, he came in too late, through an electoral process that literally gets the SCUM of the land and shovels them to the corridors of power. He had no choice but to wheel and deal his way. That’s just ONE weakness, he inherited the baggage of goof ups mostly under ‘democratic’ thieves of Pakistan (whom he’s ungainfully locked up for now, Nawaz and Zardari) and some from military leaders as well.
The problem was quite simple, politicians belonged to feudal or technocrat families with a clear intent to loot as much as they could in the shortest possible time. The only balancing act was the powerful Army which would come here and there to fix things up, last formal attempt with a lot of unmet promises was by Gen Pervez Musharaff in October 1999. His colorful life and colorless blunders scared the hell out of his successors in tying the military power knot again and hence became an era of “selection” which has again, at the risk of repetition, gave an “ungainful” candidate with a moronic team which is more like a circus if anything at all, sans entertainment worth your money.
Politicians are bad in Pakistan, no doubt, but who propped them up? Bhutto grew up in Ayub Khan’s lap (who also hurled abuses at the founder’s sister Fatima Jinnah), Gen Zia groomed the witless clueless brainless idiot Nawaz and the thug Altaf Hussain to corridors of power, yes the 1987 (post Zia death) to 1999 period can be attributed to “foreign efforts” of both Bhutto and Nawaz, later in 2007 legend and rumor has it Gen Kyani, the man Musharaf entrusted with power, played the power game first with Zardari and then Nawaz, hurling Pakistan into a finale of loot the likes of which an impoverished 98% of 250 million people as I outlined in GadhaParty could never EVER have imagined. Kyani as I am told by those who know what the ordinary people know not, was influential in the killer final terms of Zardari and Nawaz that have broken the economic back of Pakistan. Which is why the people are angry on one side, and India is stronger in disputed J&K/IOK on the other.
Hell is what Imran Khan inherited!
And a hostile neighbor which pounced at the opportunity of a weak Pakistan by legitimizing it’s abuse over the disputed Kashmir territory.
And the “wrong” faith for world leaders and opinion makers: Islam
Now bad luck or whatever, since Kashmiris are Muslims and no one in power today of any faith (including Muslims!) likes Muslims their fate was sealed from the very inception, just like Palestinians or Rohingyas. Had these three been Christians or Jewish or Hindus all hell would have broken loose, wars would have been fought and they’d have got “homelands” by now. But nay, “Muslims are troublemakers, Sharia induced and terrorists” say the KKK, right wingers every where on a killing spree in mosques or wherever they find this “diseased version of humanity” – an ethnic cleansing similar to what Hitler did to Jews as is being done to Muslims today, overtly in Kashmir and covertly elsewhere. Imran and Pakistan’s Kashmir cause was and is a non starter in this back drop.
The GCC Arab nations are wiser, they have walked the line of “tolerance” atleast overtly and won over just about every one in the comity of nations Pakistan has lost.
Ironically, with more Muslims living in India then Pakistan one would have assumed a positive foreign policy, similar language and culture, but nay for decades we hated them (and vice versa) while they built stronger and stronger ties with our “Muslim brethren” to the point that India boasts their support! Neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, both predominantly Muslim nations vow allegiance to India anyday and everyday. Afghanistan we counted on but like East Pakistan couldn’t retain as a friend. May I mention here that while many Pakistanis speak of Indian Army raping Muslim Kashmiri women and killing, torturing and abusing their men that back in 71 it was our Army engaged in the same with fellow Muslim East Pakistanis to the extent that Indians were called for help by the Bengalis and our troops made a huge demoralizing surrender.
History has an uncanny way of repeating itself, it seems Pakistan and Pakistanis have learnt nothing if anything at all from their 7 decades of existence besides the familiar slogans of “Long Live Imran Khan” and “Long Live Pak Army and ISI” there is nothing concrete or tangible to talk about except recognizing failure after failure.
We went wrong everywhere, internally and externally, time to speak, write and DO the truthful of things that lead to improvement.
Amateurism is how Imran tackled inherited hell
Fine, things were bad, very bad, internally. What did King Khan do? Raised taxes to make IMF happy which in the same vein broke the back of an impoverished people AND killed whatever hope there was of reviving the economy, next he went on all possible tangents that backfired from austerity drives to loud statements and war of words with Indian Premier whom he later tried to appease and “wished he win so Kashmir is resolved” and the EXACT OPPOSITE happened! Wisdom and Imran Khan don’t go together, top it off with an incompetent team key members often selected by lenders and you have a recipe for disaster. Sealing the fate of Pakistan.
So the way out?
Indian Kashmir is not even remotely the key problem Pakistan faces, as they say in the airlines “place your oxygen mask over your face before you help others” is precisely what our situation is with Indian Kashmiris. We need to stay alive before we can let another soul to life!
Long ago, Stephen Covey who published the bestseller “7 habits of highly effective people” (which applies to nations too) spoke of “circle of concern” and “circle of influence”, the former referring to people who spend their time worrying about what they cannot change and the latter to those who work on areas that bring direct improvement in their lives. The same holds true for nations. Pakistan has been blabbering about issues it has NO control over and doing little on those it should to change the status quo. And Mr Khan now the roving Ambassador of Kashmir is doing the opposite. His lack of understanding of key issues facing Pakistan and their antidotes is only complicating and compounding our problems.
Economy and Justice
The magic words for Pakistan. But the exact opposite is happening since the s/election of the harbinger of change, Imran Khan! Economy is literally dying bending over backwards for the sins of previous “democracies” and justice what to speak of it, suffice to say a pipe dream for most Pakistanis. We have the most corrupt and horrible legal and police systems in the world. Imran has done little to change that. Because he doesn’t even understand WHY it is so and WHAT will change it for the better! Because of his incompetence today we suffer a terrible legal and justice system, a worse economy and a shameful face in the world.
The only people who can bring justice to Pakistan as I wrote in ChangePakistan is the Army, I wrote it back in 2007! 12 years, toiled and met politicians, Army Generals and you name Who is Who of Pakistan. Everyone acknowledged and appreciated my efforts but DID NOTHING tangible to make it happen.
Second, the economy, we need to incentivize people to invest in Pakistan and create jobs, that can only be done by reducing taxes to bare minimum of 10% that too VAT (value added) and no income taxes so people invest! create jobs and revive our dying economy.
We need to, in the same breath reduce expenses by cutting out all government ministries and departments and merging them as CALL CENTRES and APPs in NADRA which should also focus on tax collection using retired army officers and personnel giving exemplary punishment to thieves of the 10% low taxes. Also the Army need to cut down all admin expenses using IT and focus on combat mode needs only. Thus our reduced expenses will be met by a lower tax regime.
This cannot be done without negotiating an “interest and principal” break from IMF and other lenders for atleast 2-5 years so the economy comes back on track.
Extremism is still very much a part of Pakistan and it’s constitution, we need to go secular, allow nightclubs and bars openly to attract tourism, if the Middle East with hot arid deserts can get 200 billion dollars a year from tourism why can’t we?
Foreign relations need to be positive and low key, we need to take a passive then aggressive tone with India and extend a hand of real friendship to them like the rest of our Muslim brothers and sisters, in the interest of our survival and that of 300 million Muslims living in India besides the moderates that are aplenty. Pakistan must not kindle the fire but try its best to douse it. For decades we watched their movies and they loved our dramas, our dressing, jokes, language are far more similar than others, I see every reason to envision an EU like alliance between India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
As for Kashmir we should support the Kashmiri people by funding their Government in exile in the US, France, UK, China, Russia, Singapore, Brussels and Australia independently and where not as extension of Pakistan Missions abroad. We should ask for an INDEPENDENT KASHMIR free of Pakistani or Indian influence with NATO and UN troops to protect them. This is the RIGHT THING to do, it’s ethical and it’s correct. We should woo Kashmiris living outside India in US, UK, EU etc including Muslims, Christians and Hindus in it. This alone will save the subcontinent from the fire of extremism RSS and Modi are stoking.
So in short, life is all about survival of the fittest. India is not the fittest, but is far more fit then we are. Remember that, and chalk out your first goal: survival.