Pakistani trouble

EuropeNews October 7 2007

Here’s the BBC reaction to Musharraf being re-elected. He hopes for ‘national unity’, yet prays to Allah. This s a troublesome combination.

National Geographic in its September issue has an article, which with skill and courage goes to the roots of the problems (except the ‘Excellent idea’ mentioned below, though). Pakistan is originally founded in 1947, with the intention of having a secular state – with Islamic culture but basically secular. A genuine democracy where religion would not be a political factor. Kindof like Turkey, right? Just Pakistan has over twice the population of Turkey, and nuclear weapons, too.

Today, if you tell ordinary Pakistani that their country was founded as a secular state, you’ll be accused of lying. Now, where did it go wrong? Wikipedia has a word on it:

Under the military rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan began a marked shift from the British-era secular politics and policies, to the adoption of Shariat and other laws based on Islam. During the 1980s, the anti- feudal, pro-Muhajir Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was started by unorthodox and educated urban dwellers of Sindh and particularly Karachi. The 1990s were characterized by coalition politics dominated by the PPP and a rejuvenated Muslim League.

Zia-ul-Haq sought to strengthen his rule by permitting Islam back into politics, from 1979 onwards. The religious leaders accepted it with glee, and the situation has been sliding from there, fostering the Taliban and other nice fellows.

1979 .. what else went wrong? Well, Carter, through his ‘human rights’ campaign, had managed to destroy the ‘Island of stability’ in the region, enabling Khomeini to seize power, plunging Iran into a dark theocracy which still exists. Not so good. Also, CIA, based on the “Excellent idea” by Zbigniew Brzezinski, started funding the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, probably through bordering Pakistan, in order to provoke a Soviet invasion of the country. Provocation accomplished, the ‘innocent’ USA took the opportunity to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Dirty, ain’t it?

Pakistan as a country is split between the rugged mountains to the northwest and the fertile lowlands of the southeast. Government rule is discredited by heavy corruption, and in some of he mountain areas largely failed. The army is a self-sustaining industry, making money from industry and other activities, and plays a heavy role in politics.

I really understand why Musharraf calls for unity. But without a unifying philosophy, under heavy Islamist influence, and with the last memories of the secular founding fading, this is going to get worse before it gets better.

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