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Pakistan Crisis - Seven Problem, Seven Solutions

Pakistan Crisis - Seven Problem, Seven Solutions

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Published by Aamir Hussain

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Published by: Aamir Hussain on Jun 12, 2010
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06/13/2010

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Pakistan Crisis - Seven Problem, SevenSolutions
Pakistan is experiencing a major existential crisis. But crises are mixed blessings which can leadto regression or progression. They can cause a breakdown or become a fertile ground for a breakthrough. Some Pakistanis are worried that Pakistan, like Iraq, is heading towards a civil war where thousandsOf innocent men, women and children will be killed because of the violentconfrontation between different ethnic and religious groups. It is so sad that, even in the21st century, millions of innocent Pakistanis are caught between religiousfundamentalism and Western imperialism while the Pakistani military and governmentare unable to provide safety and security to their citizens. Since September 11, 2001,Pakistanis have been pushed into international religious, economic and political wars. Inthe eyes of many foreign powers Pakistan, a nuclear power, has become a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any time.Pakistan has taken the centre stage in world politics not only because of its geographical position but also its historical love/hate relationship with the four other nuclear powersin the world - India, Israel, England and America. Pakistan is experiencing a major  political crisis.Many Pakistanis are concerned that over the next few years their mother land mightagain be divided into religious and secular states similar to the events in 1971, whenEast Pakistan became Bangladesh. ³Can Pakistan survive?´ has become once more, amillion dollar question, as maintaining independence this time might be as difficult, if not more difficult, than gaining it half a century ago. Abul Kalam Azad had predicted in1947 that if Pakistan separated from India on religious basis, it would further dividefifty years after its birth. It is ironic that Pakistanis, as a nation, even today, have not been able to find satisfactory solutions to the following problems.1. SOCIOECONOMIC PROBLEMS Even after decades of existence there is no equal distribution of wealth and resources.Pakistan remains a feudal society where 90% of its wealth is owned by 10% of people.Industrialization has suffered because of the unpredictable economy and politics. Noneof the governments, military or civil, had any effective plan of action to decrease thegap between the rich and the poor. Military not only uses most of the national budget, but many army officers have been running many civilian organizations. ThosePakistanis who went to work in the Middle East in 1970s and 80s, and brought back foreign currency, have also created an economic imbalance and uneven social growth inthe country.2. EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS Rather than increasing, in the last sixty years, the literacy rate has decreased as the
 
schools have not kept up with the population explosion. Sadly, most people in thevillages cannot read or write. There is no national standardized educational system.Because of the large number of children, many poor parents, who do not practice family planning, send their children to madrassas, religious schools, as they get free food andshelter in those institutions. It is ironic that many of these madrassas are funded bySaudi Arabia to promote their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam and literalinterpretation of Quran. For children to accept blind faith rather than learn critical andcreative thinking can be a serious concern for any nation.Pakistan is the only country I know where many children do not get their primaryeducation in their native language. Rather than studying in Punjabi, Pushto, Balochi andSindhi, many children are taught in Urdu, English and Arabic which are not their mother tongues.3. HEALTH CARE PROBLEMS While many Pakistanis suffer from physical and emotional problems, there is noadequate health care system in place. Many pregnant women remain anemic and there isa high infant mortality rate. Children still suffer from malnutrition because of pervasive poverty. Many patients with emotional problems only see a psychiatrist when they getviolent and have a nervous breakdown. Mental illness is still surrounded by visiblestigma. Because of lack of health education there is less emphasis on prevention. WhenI was working in Zanana Hospital in Peshawar I met many infertile couples who wentto holy shrines rather than consulting infertility clinics.4. RELIGIOUS PROBLEMS Because of religious teachings in the families, schools andcommunities, many Pakistanis have grown with a religious rather than a secular worldview. This trend intensified when Pakistan transformed into Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Ironically in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto¶s time Ahmedis were declared non-Muslims.The process of Islamization of Pakistan accelerated during Zia-ul-Haq period whenreligion was introduced to all aspects of life. The more religion entered politics and theseparation of mosque and state became blurred, the more Pakistan traveled on the pathof becoming a theocratic state.5. IDENTITY PROBLEM There was a time when some of my Pukhtoon friends used tosay that they have been Pathans for 5000 years, Muslims for 1500 years and Pakistanisfor 50 years, but the identity of Pakistanis has changed over the decades. There aremany Pakistanis who identify with Arab and Muslim culture far more than their ownethnic and native culture. Their names are Arabic and they greet now with ³AllahHafiz´ rather than ³Khuda Hafiz´. They know more about Mohammad of Arabia thanBuddha, Bullay Shaha and Guru Nanak of India. Many Pakistanis do not realize that theland and culture of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa existed far before 1947, when Pakistanwas born. The issue of identity for many Pakistanis is still a major unresolved issue.
 
 6. POLITICAL PROBLEMS It is unfortunate that after all these years an autocratic political system prevails inPakistan. People are more familiar with army generals and dictators than democraticminded political leaders. Democracy has not thrived in Pakistan since many religiousleaders consider it a Western and un-Islamic system. Social, political and religiousintolerance has increased over the decades. It is also sad that popular political leaderslike Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto did not die natural deaths, one was hangedand the other assassinated. Many Muslims still dream of a Khilafat where one religiousleader will be the life long leader. In 1500 years of history Muslims have not developedany unique political system that can be considered democratic. There are many Muslimswho dream of converting others by preaching their brand of religion and there are otherswho support holy wars.7. HUMAN RIGHTS PROBLEMS Pakistanis have suffered for decades because their human rights have not been protectedin the communities as well the courts. Whether they are women or children, Ahmedis or Christians, Shiites or atheists, the rights of minorities are always threatened. ThePakistani Constitution does not ensure equal rights and privileges to all citizens.Pakistan still struggles between the secular British and religious Arabic laws andtraditions. Pakistan has not resolved political conflicts between different provinces.FUTURE OF PAKISTAN In the next few years Pakistanis need to make many significant choices otherwiseinternational powers might dictate certain decisions as they see Pakistan as a failed statethat exports ³terrorists´ and having nuclear weapons, has become a threat to world peace. If the British Empire can lose her colonies, the Berlin wall can come down andthe Communist World can disintegrate, Pakistan can also divide further and the map of the Middle East can change in the next decade.POSSIBLE SOLUTIONSWhile I am discussing the unresolved problems of Pakistan, I am also reflecting uponthe possible solutions. In this introductory article I can only enlist the solutions as eachof them is deserving of a detailed discussion. For Pakistanis to make sure that Pakistannot only survives but also grows and thrives and joins the modern world by becoming a progressive and democratic state, they need to take following steps:1. The gap between the rich and the poor has to decrease.2. The curriculum of schools need to be reviewed so that children can receive scientificand secular education in their mother tongue. In addition, they need to develop criticaland creative thinking.

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