So what is happening to the country of my father’s birth? (Well actually, he was born in pre-partition India and his father and him saw the effects of the colonial partition of India. The mass killings and the trails of human misery who were uprooted and who moved from one country to another were the results of the lines drawn by India’s colonial masters.)
When Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the father and founder of Pakistan, put forward his vision of a modern Pakistan, he never imagined that nearly 60 years on, the country is on the verge of imploding politically and socially. Having just seen off the dictatorial ex-General Musharraf, Nawaz Shariff’s Pakistan Muslim League and Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, both have track records that are far from ideal. Mr Shariff was exiled in Saudi Arabia on corruption charges. On the other hand, Mr Zardari, the husband of murdered previous Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was previously known as Mr 10% on account of his cut in financial and political deals. Some in Pakistan now refer to him as Mr 20%! Who says crime does not pay?
Yet, this political instability is supporting the military and law and order vacuum in some parts of the country, particularly in northern tribal regions like Waziristan. The Taliban is resurgent and allied to this, bombs have been killing civilians on the scale of attacks in Iraq.
All of this is leading Pakistan into an abyss from which I believe that it will not recover from for decades to come. With covert CIA operations taking place on the ground within Pakistan and with the Taliban openly resurgent in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan is fast looking like a failed state. The real problem though is that stability in Pakistan is essential since an unstable country means that the region could be pulled into a catastrophic war. This is made worse due to the fact that Pakistan holds between 50-70 nuclear missiles, whilst India’s nuclear arsenal is in the region of 200-300 missiles. Each country can destroy the other many times over.
For a British Muslim who is proud of my country and who believes that hard work pays within the United Kingdom, I feel a sense of sadness that if my father had been alive, he would have been depressed at the state of his country of birth. Pakistan is far from the vision that Jinnah wanted. The cancer within needs to be cut out and this includes corruption, the lack of leadership, extremism and more importantly, the manipulation of political structures for the sake of personal gain. Both of the current political leaders can easily be accused of this. I just hope they do the right thing and move on! Pakistan needs a new start; in fact it deserves that.