Pakistan After Osama

Pervez Hoodbhoy in Himal South Asian:

ScreenHunter_04 Jun. 11 10.50 Why was Pakistan’s warrior class never tamed by civilian rule? The answer must be sought in the foundation of Pakistan and the state of confusion into which it was born. Beyond the simplistic notion that Hindus and Muslims were incapable of living together, the idea of Pakistan was unclear from the outset. Although he made many speeches, Mohammad Ali Jinnah left no manifesto and authored no book before his untimely death. Critical questions were thus left unanswered: Would the new state be capitalist or socialist, liberal or theocratic, modern or tradition-based? On what basis would power be distributed between its different regions? How would defence, education, science, health, etc be prioritised?

With no clear answers, and lacking a clear basis for legitimacy or direction, the state quickly aligned with the powerful landed class: the army leadership and the economic elite joined forces to claim authority in a nation without definition or cohesion. The Kashmir dispute gave reason for the military to become powerful and to make the acquisition of modern weaponry an overriding priority. The Americans happily obliged, given the burgeoning cold war. A fatal attraction for guns steadily drew Pakistan into the US orbit.

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