Civil War in Pakistan : is this the beginning of the end of Pakistan??

Pakistan has been facing a terrible economic crisis since past 2 years, the Russia-Ukraine war has sent oil prices over the roof. Food inflation is Pakistan has already crossed 15% and after Imran khan got shot the nation saw multiple protest all across the country. What is even more astounding to know is that when India and Pakistan got independence in 1947, Pakistan literally had all the advantage in the world as compared to India. They did not have the extraordinary diversity of India to deal with, they had a far smaller portion of land to govern and had some of the most fertile lands in the world, they even had more per capital GDP than India.

But even then India has gone on to become a $3 trillion economy, while Pakistan has been struggling with the same economic political and terrorisms based problems since the past 75 years.

So the question is what is so terribly wrong about Pakistan’s political model that they have been in turmoil since 75 years? Secondly, apart from the Chinese debt trap what are the most critical problems in Pakistan that is stunting the growth of its economy? If you are a Pakistani citizen this is what your main stream media does not tell you.

Let’s start from the basics.

India and Pakistan both got independence in the same year but even then India has had a democracy for 75 years with one emergency in between but in Pakistan, there have been 23 prime ministers since 1947 and none of them have completed their full term. The question is why??
Well, firstly time and again the military has ousted the PM and taken control of the country. Infact more than 1/3rd  of its years of independence, Pakistan has been ruled by its military rather than the govt.

So the bigger question here is why does this happen so often in Pakistan and what is the fundamental problem with their government model?

Well this is because of something called the Doctrine of Necessity. In simple words it’s a principle in the governance that gives extra constitutional powers to certain people to do unlawful things in a lawful manner. Basically dictatorship powers. This came into existence because in 1954 the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s supreme court named Muhammad Munir, he reversed the decision of the Sindh high court and in a way gave the power to the governor general of Pakistan Mr. Malik Ghulam Muhammad and this dissolved the first constituent assembly of Pakistan after their independence, and guess what after that the Pakistani army chiefs have used this doctrine of necessity again and again to justify the military takeover from the democratically elected govt. So in 1958 general Muhammad Ayub Khan khan did it, then in 1977 General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and in 1999 General Pervez Musharraf. So in every 20 odd years the doctrine of necessity was being used to overthrow the government and because of this extreme instability and unprecedented power of the army, the foundation of Pakistan’s development were never laid properly.

3 Major problems which shook the foundation of Pakistan’s Development

  1. The important govt and military officers were more concerned about protecting their power from each other and making money for themselves, rather than taking long term risk to grow the economy as a result corruption and crony capitalism have grown stronger and stronger in Pakistan.

    For example Asim Saleem Bajwa, he is a retired 3 star general who served as the chairman of China-Pakistan economic corridor authority from November 2019 to August 2021. He was also Imran Khan’s special assistant on information and broadcasting when Imran Khan was the Prime Minister of Pakistan and in June 2020 he signed an official declaration form disclosing all his assets and liabilities as special assistant to PM Imran khan. In this form general Bajwa declared an investment of only 3.1 million Pakistani rupees and that too in his wife’s name. Apart from this he declared no immobile property held outside of Pakistan and no business capital outside of Pakistan. But as it turns out General Saleem Bajwa actually own 175 franchise of papa johns pizza that too in the United states. He started this business in 2004 which is coincidentally the same year when he was appointed as a Lt Colonel under Pervez Musharraf who was the dictator of Pakistan during that time and starting with one franchise he expanded to 3, then opened 20 more in 2006-2007 and another 28 in 2008 and according to the report by Fact Focus this five year investment cost alone amounted to almost $52.2 million. This is the level of corruption that too from a lt. Colonel and assistant to the PM and btw while he was assistant to Imran khan, Imran khan was appealing to the rich Pakistanis to invest in Pakistan. Now you tell me if you are a rich Pakistani businessman and you see your own military and government official engaged in corruption and investing outside of Pakistan, why would you invest in Pakistani market? Similarly the former Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and has been fined $10.6 million for his unaccounted fortune in the form of offshore companies.
  2. With such an unstable government and such short term development plans obviously very few investors were willing to bet their money in Pakistan. If you look at the numbers you’ll see that. While Pakistan’s maximum FDI stood at $5.6 Billion. India’s Maharashtra alone (which is half the size of Pakistan both in land and population) saw FDI of $18 billion this year – which is 9 times more than Pakistan’s current FDI inflow.
  3. This extreme unstable government and no prime minister having completed the term, none of the parties were fully able to execute their plans for the development, in fact they were more focused on keeping the power by pleasing the people than actually developing the economy. A classic example of the same is the petrol subsidy in Pakistan. Did you know as of 14th of may 2022, the govt of Pakistan was providing a subs of 31 rupees per liter on petrol , 73 rupees per liter on diesel and subsidy of rupees 5 per unit on electricity and the reason was obviously to curb inflation so that the common-man does not suffer. In short to give the common man an illusion that the economy was in control so that the party could remain in power. By the way this was the case both with Imran khan and Shehbaz Sharif government . So again because of this 3 terrible things happened to Pakistan’s economy
    ~ Govt was selling oil in loss, the government was losing billions of dollars in just oil subsidies.
    ~ Their forex reserves were depleting very very fast.
    ~ When they approached IMF for a bail out, IMF told them if you are a poor country why are you giving out oil subsidies. You should first make money for yourself and then approach us. So get rid of oil subsidies first. So guess what , in order to secure IMF loans the government of Pakistan suddenly started cutting down on the subsidies, as a result the petrol prices sky rocketed .
petrol price in pakistan
The cost of subsidized petrol itself rose by 38% due to Russia Ukraine war and other factors and then after the Pakistani govt removed the subsidies the price of petrol sky rocketed from 150 rupees per liter to 234 rupees per liter in just 20 days. As a result inflation obviously shot up and the country went into an even deeper economic mess.

Recent Developments in Pakistan Starting from Imran Khan

Imran khan started a political party in 1996 called PTI. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – means movement for justice and after 22 years in politics finally in 2018 Imran khan became the Prime Minister. But then even Imran khans party members didn’t support him and he lost the no confidence motion. This is how Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif became the PM of Pakistan. So now, he will be able to hold power until October 2023 when the next election is due to be held. But this is where Imran khan’s speeches started a chaos in Pakistan. In these speeches he blamed the army, accused the government and even spoke of corruption and collusion with foreign powers.  But the fun fact is this is nothing new to Pakistan, even for Imran khans own ministers but these speeches such an impact on the Pakistani people that Pakistani media announced a BAN on the live airing of Imran khans speeches and this was because of his extreme criticism of the army. Then the election commission barred him from contesting elections or holding public office for 5 years.

This is where the protests started catching fire. This is when on 25th of Oct 2022, Imran khan called his supporters to join the largest long march in Pakistan’s history from the eastern city of Lahore to Islamabad. And this was to demand early elections and just one and a half week later hell broke loose in Punjab when Imran khan was shot and immediately after this the support for Imran khan increased by large extent and protest clearly showed how much power Imran khan posses in Pakistan and you knw what the worst part about the shooting is no body really know who exactly was behind this shooting. Infact even for two other prime minster who had been assassinated in Pakistan. Nobody knows till date who exactly got them killed. This is how messed up Pakistan security forces are.
So as you can see if the security forces of Pakistan could not investigate the shooting of a former PM. How on earth would they investigate the crimes of the ordinary people and how would they ensure the security of the industries for which the foreign investors would pump in money.

So this is a black spot not just on the politics but also on the security services of Pakistan and when the entire nation and the world were focused on the political turmoil of Pakistan, something even more crazy was happening in the exact same country and they were the floods in Pakistan.

Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan floods
Just to give you an idea about how bad these floods were. Take a look at this map

You see almost 1/3rd of the entire Pakistan was under water and these floods have been so bad that in just 4 months they ended up killing 1350 people, 9,00,000 livestock, washed away 1 million households, breached 40 reservoirs, collapsed 220 bridges and costed the economy $10 dollars and displaced 50 million people, which is almost 25% of the entire country’s population and again this lead to shortage in grains, poverty and economic slowdown. Now how Pakistan is going to recover in spite of the political and economic turmoil and in spite of corruption only god knows.

And this is what brings us to the last part of Pakistan’s challenge which is internal separatist movement and their external conflict with Taliban

External and Internal Conflicts of Pakistan

Balochistan providence of Pakistan is located in Afghanistan’s southwest corner surrounded by Iran on went, Punjab and Sindh on the east , Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the north and Arabian sea on the south. Why this region is extremely important to Pakistan is because it is said to have over 1 trillion dollar worth of natural resources in the form of Gold, Copper, Black pearl, Oil, precious stones, coal, chromite and natural gas. On top of that it also has an oceanic coastline that stretched along with one of the most important shipping routes called the strait of Hormuz. But in spite of extracting a lot of resources out of Balochistan the separatist group claim that Pakistan has never paid attention of the people of Balochistan and if you look at the numbers they do seem to be true.

If you look at the literacy rate of states in Pakistan you will see that while Punjab led all other states with 64% literacy rate, Sindh stood at 57%, Khyber stood at 55% where as Balochistan stood at just 40%. Similarly while Sindh halved its poverty from 2001 to 2015 Balochistan by 2015 had by far the highest poverty rate at 42.2% which was twice as high as Punjab and Khyber. Some sources also claim that the actual poverty rate is above 50%.
So the separatists believe that it is because Pakistan government only wants Balochistan’s resources but does not care about its people. So they want their own country and want to use their own resources and sea routes to build their economy to support themselves. Now I don’t know if this is right or wrong. Smart or not but as the economic crises of Pakistan is worsening, the separatists movement in Balochistan is gaining more and more momentum and this has been happening rapidly over the past 15 years. So this is yet another threat to Pakistan.

Balochistan vs other Pakistani states

And lastly we have Pakistan’s conflict with Afghanistan which is another external conflict. Now this is already another information overload. So lets not get into finer details, in short the govt and army of Pakistan is sinking in corruption, the former PM being shot has already triggered a sense of insecurity in the country. The people pleasing subsidies are now causing inflation and forex depletion. China’s debt trap is already taking away their money. The face one of the worst floods in their history and then there is an internal conflict with Balochistan and an external conflict with Taliban in Afghanistan. This is the history, root cause, conflicts and tragedies of Pakistan.

And this brings us to the most important part of the study.

Lessons we need to learn from Pakistan’s Downfall

The 1st thing we need to learn is that – Every scandal revealed, every scam revealed is a black spot on the system of a country. In case of Pakistan we clearly saw how the cases of corruption destroyed the faith both the people and investors. In our case whether its the Nirav Modi scam, ABG shipyard scam or the 2G scan each one of them state a critical vulnerability of our system and we should not take them lightly. So if we raise our voices and make the govt feel the cost of these scams automatically even they will feel the heat to fix it.

Secondly there are policies that are meant for the growth of our countries and there are policies meant to consolidate power and please people like you and me.. In case of Pakistan, the oil subsidy was clearly a people pleasing policy. Incase of India it is the pension scheme and freebee politics that is right now happening in India and we the people need to keep a check on our politicians such that they work for the long term growth and not for the short term pleasures of our people.

Third just like Pakistan is ignoring Balochistan, we Indians have ignored the north eastern states for a very very long time and just like the people of Balochistan are tired and frustrated, it won’t be long when the seven sisters of India would be in the same state. So we need to push our govt to give equal importance to very single state in India. So that all the Indians from all across the country regardless of the state they belong to witness development and growth in their life.

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