Pakistan – A Successful Experiment?


If the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were an era of imperialism and colonisation, then the twentieth was definitely the century of the nation-building experiment.

The world could barely count a hundred sovereign states in the year 1800, many of which have no existence today. Take, for example, the Holy Roman Empire, Europe’s theocratic experiment. By 1806 it was gone.

In 1900, the list had expanded. The South American states achieved independence, Europe was fragmented into nation-states based on linguistic and cultural cohesion. In Northern Nigeria, there existed a Sokoto Caliphate, a Muslim theocracy, which lasted for a hundred years, only to be dissolved by the British in 1903, after their conquest of Nigeria. To this date, a large number of Muslims, constituting a majority in Northern Nigeria, desire the re-establishment of such a Muslim State.

By the year 2000, the list had famously expanded to ‘190 countries and territories where you can watch CNN.’

The hundred years between 1900 and 2000 had seen two major world wars, the emergence and decline of two major nation-building concepts, Fascism and Communism, the end of Colonialism and the beginning of neo-Imperialism. It also saw the emergence of religious homelands, for Jews and for Muslims, in Israel and Pakistan, surprisingly, each drawing inspiration from the other during the tumultuous years of their formation. The epitaphs of nations in the twentieth century are brief and poignant. The Soviet Union, died 1991, internal strife. Yugoslavia, died 1991, civil war. Czechoslovakia, died 1993, peaceful dissolution. Israel and Pakistan, despite internal divisions, hold strong.

It may be early days, histories of nations run into centuries, not decades, but 67 years after its formation, and 43 years after its splitting, is it safe to say that Pakistan was a successful experiment?

In a hostile neighbourhood, with four vastly different and competing ideologies arrayed against it, the very survival of Pakistan has been a miracle, somewhat. (A CIA report in 2006 famously forecast that Pakistan would have broken up by 2015.) Take a sample: China, communism. Afghanistan, loosely based on regional nationalism. India, pseudo-secularism. Iran, Islamic and Persian nationalism. Pakistan, …?

India has made no secret of its hatred towards Pakistan. Afghanistan’s present government has the worst of terms with Pakistan, and its intelligence runs a war within Pakistan’s borders. China is an ‘all-weather’ ally. Iran’s relationship is frosty at times, but resilient mostly.

Throw in to the mix the bad hand that Pakistan was dealt in 1947, when its borders were drawn, and fate would keep large chunks of Muslim-majority land away from it. In 1947, Pakistan had famously one factory, two medical colleges, and a few mills. It had no civil service, no currency, no bank, no Army. Most of all, it had no history. Unlike the Jews, who claimed that God had promised their return to Palestine, Muslims had no religious scripture to proclaim Pakistan, no political entity, and no precedent. It was fate, at best.

Decades later, Pakistan has 88 medical colleges, a few dozen universities, is a producer of cotton, arms, motor vehicles, fighter aircraft and nuclear weapons, and has also taken a few tentative steps towards becoming a stable, vibrant, democracy. The media is questioning the country’s culture, and education has brought a large, rural population out of poverty, and into the middle-class. Despite sanctions, a military confrontation, the ‘War on Terror,’ an earthquake, a Biblical flood, and daily bombings and killings, Pakistan’s economy has managed to grow at a steady rate over the last decade. Any other country would probably have collapsed long ago.

Pakistan is not without its failings. Tax collection is poor. Corruption is rife. Public display of arms, and the easy availability of guns and bombs, has made the country a hotbed of violent strife. Cities are bursting at their seams, power supply and distribution are below par. But the country has taken the problems head on. If the returning youth from UK, USA and Canada are any indication, then the appeal of Pakistan has grown over the last few years.

Most of all, perhaps Pakistan is nearer than ever to reconciling its formation with its existence. The intolerant Islamism practised in the Arabian Peninsula has led to bloodshed everywhere. Shia theology, as a counterweight, has seen Iraq and Syria implode. Pakistan, on the other hand, seems to be searching for the middle path, watchful of the damage hatred and sectarianism can bring. If talks with the Taliban bear fruit, then Pakistan would have turned the corner, which it seems determined to do.

Pakistanis, belatedly, have embraced the reality that they are citizens of the only country ever founded ‘for Muslims and Islam,’ and as a state, Pakistan has accepted the reality that despite the evident shortcomings in their practise of Islam, the people of Pakistan live and die for Islam.

So then, was it a successful experiment?

0 Responses to "Pakistan – A Successful Experiment?"

  1. Tufail Alam   April 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    And the most important fact not to be missed, that Pakistan is a matter of worry in terms of Power for India, being a nuclear state that too with the privilege of not asking for permission from its government to use it. Therefore one may only depict his foolish character by doubting or questioning Pakistan’s existence in future!!

  2. snawaz   April 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Mr. Chyot kyom! Keep day dreaming until this ahistorical entity called endia is disinyegrated and you and your ilk are stuck in those heat burnt jhuggies of endia. Tohi gayivu ne yithe dar badar kenh!

  3. kashmiri   April 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Tickoo – this is exactly what the author is trying to say….as much as you wish and expect pakistan to vanish from the map for past decades….it is still there. they have proven you indians in particular and world in general, wrong time and again. try to ponder….dont get too emotional.
    dont forget 19th century USA was in the similar shape as pakistan is in now – and yes USA was based on christian fundamentals before the civil war.
    you kp’s have always been more loyal than the king….india is not secular and you know it very well. may you and your like stay in your beloved india…far far away from vale…for ever. amen

  4. Mohammed Joo   April 9, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Pakistan is successful from the point of view of Islam, its predominantly a Muslim nation and has just started experimenting with Greco-Roman democracy, what the stupid Indians forget is that it was a Nationalistic(Nazism) espousing Hindu India that led to the creation of Pakistan and in Narendra Modi as Indias next PM, that Nazism lives amongst the Hinus of India. If the creative spirit of Pakistan has only just begun, imagine the heights of Eemaan that Pakistan will achieve one Narendra Modi is declared the PM of India.

  5. JK   April 7, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Tickoo, I think one thing is for sure now that Pakistan and Pakistani’s has a great power to pissed people and country off, you are the best example for the people and the country u belong too…lol….. Are u taking your “Hallucination” med regularly? It seems u skipped one and start Hallucinating again…..Go and take your med……

  6. Yasir Bari   April 7, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I would say in reply to your question “Yes ! Pakistan is a country, a well deserved country for its people, a country with a history and a country with a very bright future”. No doubt there are problems of every kind, but just name one country in the world who is sailing smooth ?
    I totally agree with Dr. Omar Akthar, the twentieth century was the era of nation building, and under the circumstances in which Pakistan was created were definitely hard, this country has seen the ups and downs of time and held firm.
    Times have changed a lot since its creation, now this world is known as the so called global village, every country is the part of same hypocrisy. So giving the impression that Pakistan will not survive the coming years is naive. Pakistan is the country of its people, it was created out of scratch and build to stay on the map of this world. And God willing it would be FOREVER !

  7. zaka   April 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Pakistan is a complete failed state, how can we call ourselves muslims? is there anything Islamic about Pakistan? There is so much hatred between ethnicity, sects, castes and you name it, not to mention how are army is killing people in balochistan, Fata etc… look how many people got killed in Bangladesh? In Islam we are not suppose to have any nations, other then in Allahs name. This expermintation of states is a western non muslim concept, which unfortunately we muslims follow

  8. Ali   April 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    The whole Indian problem with not realizing Pakistan is a country… Dellusional at best

  9. Ghanni   April 6, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Pakistan is ours and we are for Pakistan.
    Long live Pakistan

  10. Tickoo   April 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    The “question” of this article itself is INHERENTLY WRONG… the question should be — “Is Pakistan a country at all?” — that would be appropriate. The fact is that Pakistan is only an artificial and temporary anomaly on the map of the world… an ephemeral entity at best. The fact is that the very basis of Pakistan’s existence (a politically separate entity for the Muslims of India and that Islam alone would be the basis of such a unified existence) was SMASHED to smithereens in Dec 1971 with the emergence of Bangladesh, and buried forever in the Bay of Bengal. And now whatever is left of it is unravelling by the day. Pakistan has no normal relations with ANY of its neighbors, and even China (with whom Pakistan has a so-called border only by virtue of its military aggresion in 1947-48) has realized that Pakistan is bad trouble for it by its harboring militants of the East-Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Uighyur and Xinjiang militants. Therefore it is only a matter of time before the joke that is Pakistan will cease to exist, and with the only thing that is holding it together is the Army with its nuclear bomb… likely only decorated with bangles and necklaces! Comedy.. at best.