Muhammad Arif : Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan

At a time when Pakistan’s rivers are drying up and sometime flooding when India allows excess water, the rains flooding the villages and cities like Karachi, the drought killing the crops, when the population seems beyond control and resources cannot match up to their needs, when violence and conflict stalk the land and its neighbors appear hostile, different questions crop up.

I was sitting in a government office when its head started discussion on Pakistan. His views were that Pakistan emergence cannot be justified. Apart from this certain circles calling them as liberals also hold these views.

We celebrate defense days each year with zeal and fervor and pay tribute to our Shuhadah and Ghazis but forget that in fact Pakistan became untouchable when it became a nuclear state and to achieve this target our actual heroes are ZA Bhutto, Dr Abdul Qadeer and Nawaz Saharif.

For a nation that is nuclear and has a population of over 200 million people the views that its emergence was wrong are not correct from any angle. Of course Pakistan is not well served by the infrequent and often slanted books and statements given about it.

In fact the philosophy behind its creation surrounds around the tyranny of the majority in any democracy that can negate the very fundamentals of the principles of democracy. It was precisely to fight against this tyranny that Mr. Jinnah redefined the Muslim minority in India as a nation and thereby went on to create the state of Pakistan in spite of the enormous opposition and challenges he faced.

It is worth reminding ourselves that not all of the Muslims of India migrated to the new country   of Pakistan in 1947. Those that remained in India now number almost   200 million people, which is larger than the largest European nation. They have their history, their culture, and their numbers, and yet because they are living in a democracy and are a perpetual minority suppressed by the majority they are reduced to a cipher in Indian politics. Muslims are grossly underrepresented in terms of their population in the services, the army etc.

The greatest achievement of Quaid-i-Azam was that he successfully created confidence in the Muslim masses of India that they were not a minority but a nation. He brought the Muslims from ‘minority syndrome’ to equality when he said that they are not two parties but a third party, the Muslim League, to decide the fate of British India.

No doubt Pakistan has passed through different phases with Military rule, Presidential system, One Unit of provinces and parliamentary form of governments. The performance of these phases can be seen in the appended table. In nutshell in Military rules Macro indicators like GDP growth, inflation remained better but on social side like health sector the political governments performed better. The 1971 dismemberment was the greatest crisis, but separation of west and East Pakistan resulted in two Muslim states Pakistan and Bangladesh. So philosophy of Quideazam and his struggle remains intact.

Now in 2020 Major political parties, PML (N) and PPP and of PTI exist in form of government or opposition but democracy of Pakistan rests on a triangle. On one point government exists and on the other opposition acts whereas establishment exist as on its third point. So when two points interact the political side form government. This time it is PTI in the government .Though domestically they have failed to give any solutions to the people’s problems but with establishment support they are bound to continue.

On the international front they are attempting to consolidate good relations with the Arab world to the west, China to the east, and even traditionally hostile India by giving the example of the Kartarpur border which allows Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan by opening up a land passage to their holy sites.

Looking back we should commit to the idea of Pakistan and the pursuit of democratic politics, though difficult context is in practice.

With steadfastness and conviction we all should remains absolutely optimistic about Pakistan.

Pakistan in different phases (Data from SBP)
  Real GDP growth % GDP Inflation Annual Average Trade Balance $ in million Health Exp % of GDP
  Low High Aver Low High Aver Low High Aver Low High Aver
1951-1957 political -1.8 10.2 2.50 +165.5 +3.1 +86.44 .18 .05 .11
1958-1970

Military

0.9 9.8 5.44 -3.2 7.8 3.3 -53.2 -623.2 -316.85 .46 .17 .41
1971-1977

Political

 

1.2 7.7 3.0 4.7 30.0 10.08 +21 -1154.5 -552.2 .83 .40 .56
1978-1987

Military

4.0 8.5 6.2 3.6 12.4 7.3 -1471 -3381 -2435 1.14 .67 .78
1988-1998

Political

1.7 7.7 5.1 7.8 13.0 8.5 -1418 -3522 -2265 1.19 .72 .87
1999-2008

Military

1.8 7.7 5.1 3.1 12.0 5.0 -1015 -20196 -6301 .73 .51 .65
2009-2013

PPP

2.70 2.70 2.70 11.7 20.8 16.25 -10517 -15765 -14682 .56 .54 .55
2013-2018

PML N

4.1 5.8 4.95 2.9 3.4 4.2 -16000 -31074 -110037 .49 .91 .79
2018-2020

PTI

 

-1.5 3.3 0.59 8.3 8.5 8.4 -14680 -21261 -17970 1.1 1.2 1.15

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