Pakistans Age of Strategic Anarchy A.
H Amin 1978 Revolution ,Pakistan and Strategic Anarchy-Pakistans uncertain future Agha H Amin The April 1978 Saur Revolution was a historic event in modern history.
While the revolution merits a whole book or many volumes , we will just very briefly discuss its salient parts. Afghanistan status as a buffer state was irrevocably transformed into a state where super powers fought proxy wars.Thus some 98 years of Afghan history of being a buffer state was changed.
Power shifted in Afghanistan from a Durrani-Persianised feudal elite into a more broad based multi ethnic state.The new leftist regime had Tajiks ,Hazaras and Uzbeks previously regarded as second and third rate citizens ! Although the coups major leaders were Pashtuns from Paktia and Khost like the indomitable Aslam Watanjar the PDPA was essentially a mix of Persian speaking urbanised intellectuals organised as Parchamis and a more radiacal Pashtun section from Paghman Khost and Paktia known as Khalqis.The Khalqis were rash , bold , impetuous and radiacal , while the Parchamis were more moderate. The Saur revolution proved a gold mine for Pakistans illegitimate military junta of Zia which till April 1978 was politically an illegitimate bastard child regime.This regime used the Afghan revolution as a pretext to get dollars from USA and Saudi Arabia.Power shifted in Pakistan from a more progressive PPP regime to a more Punjabised regime dominated by refugees from Jullundhur and Batala etc .
Since this new clique was fatherless and illegitimate it used religion as well as caste as a political tool.Thus it outlawed political parties and Pakistani politics became more ethnic andsub ethnic with Punjab divided into castes as political forces and Sindh divided into urban and rural ! The division of Sindh into urban and rural was a planned reaction by the Pakistani illegal military regime as a counter to the MRD Movement of 1983 which had its roots in rural Sindh ! Pashtuns were used as cannon fodder by the military junta as proxies in Afghan war and thus the seeds of religious extremism were planted in Pakistan . Foreign policy and all security and defence matters in Pakistan became the preserve of Pakistani military which continues till to date !
All civilian governments which came into power after 1988 elections in Pakistan were remote controlled by the Pakistani military and when Nawaz Sharif tried to assert civilian control in 1997-99 he was removed by a military coup. It would not be wrong to call Pakistan an army with a country and not a country with an army since 5th July 1977, with a short stint of full civilian control by the second PML N Government from February 1997 to October 1999 !
There is no doubt that Pakistan is a state with dual controls since 5th July 1977 with a civilian co pilot who in reality is a flight steward and a hidden real piolt who controls major financial and security issues ! The imbalance in this situation are three new factors i.e (1) religious extremism which is now on a reverse boomerang course against the Pakistani elite (2) regional centrifugal forces in Balochistan (3) an increased foreign interest in Pakistan where foreign powers led by USA see Pakistan as an anachroninistic and adventurist state .
Five cardinal fact stand out in this scenario , (1) The USA severely lacks long term strategic insight and US policy is run on short term objectives which is well proven from how it behaved after USSR withdrew from Afghanistan and till 9/11 (2) Pakistan alone will not be able to restore strategic stability in Afghanistan or even Pakistan itself .Its military which controls major part of Pakistans financial and security policy is not intellectually capable of understanding the immense complexity of strategy andgeopolitics (3) The Pakistani state will not be able to control Islamic extremism (4) The multiplicity of state and non state actors can lead to severe strategic stability culminating in an India Pakistan nuclear stand off.
The Islamists are far more powerful than they seem ! The Pakistani military is not as clever as it thinks it is ! The Americans are strategically pathetic ! Thus the issue will be decided by random and unforeseeable forces ! Certainly what mean mortals who are in charge of affairs in this whole complex drama want may not happen ! Thus the relative less visible forces will take over ! The scene is thus set for strategic anarchy ! The real danger is that Pakistan cannot afford it but it is heading straight into a diasaster course because it has no able navigator at the highest level !