It is said that we have little choice in selecting our neighbours. Accordingly, India and Pakistan became geographical neighbours in 1947 due to partition after independence. The basic objective for independence and planning for concrete all round development of Pakistan as a nation has never been crystallized or implemented seriously since 1947.
Areas such as health, education, water & electricity supply, infrastructure, agriculture development, industrial and technological advancement etc. are and should be the primary functions of any responsible Government. Unfortunately, it is observed that since 1947 the only priority has been defence and military investment to try to counter the growth of India in the subcontinent. Up until now, there has been, other than the routine terrorist infiltration under the cover of firing and non-observation of cease fire, Pakistan on its own has initiated, 4 wars against India, including the last one of Kargil. In all the wars Pakistan has faced a dire defeat. The most insulting to the sovereignty of Pakistan, with heavy casualties and loss was the war of 1971 with India, liberating the then East Pakistan as a new nation – Bangladesh.
Since formation of Pakistan 73 years ago, the democracy in Pakistan has never evolved, matured, stabilized and has not been allowed to operate freely as a truly elected Government. Military coups in Pakistan began in 1958. There have been numerous such attempts since then.
Since its creation in 1947, Pakistan has spent several decades under military rule (1958 – 1971, 1977 – 1988 and 1999 – 2008).
The major part of 32 years were under the dictatorship of martial military law, creating military as a power centre, claiming the major part of government budget, influencing the diplomatic policy and all government decisions. The military centric system has always ensured that the elected government leaders remain as puppets and the moment they start operating independently, a military mutiny is engineered to dethrone the ruling government with bloody or blood less revolution.
To retain the importance of defence forces and their secret service, I.S.I., the India envy card is continuously played, by supporting various anti India narratives & activities. The common activities are Infiltration of sponsored terrorists into India by giving them a cover of firing and shelling on civil population in border areas. Another mischief includes destabilization efforts by engineering bomb explosions and religious riots in India to cause civil causalities. Being a nuclear state, Pakistan continues to threaten the sovereignty of India by interference in internal matters of India. Though Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, bringing the Kashmir issue on international platforms is a regular failed but habitual tactic of Pakistan.
There are various reasons for such continuous futile efforts of Pakistan establishment and defence forces. The unanimous resolution passed by Indian Parliament for abrogation of Article 370, made Jammu & Kashmir a full-fledged state of India, by removing its special status. India continues to nurture the dream to free Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) which is illegally captured by Pakistan. Pakistan continues to maintain the deep and still bleeding wound of losing East Pakistan in the form of Bangladesh with unconditional surrender of Pakistan army at Dhaka in 1971. By the way, it is interesting to know that the economy of Bangladesh, G.D.P., exports, their currency are stronger as compared to Pakistan.
To white wash its own failures, the rulers of Pakistan, have been trying to divert and distract the attention of common public in Pakistan from basic development issues like very high level of inflation, price rise of essential commodities, poor urban sanitation, poor water supply, low level of educational standards, lack of industrial and technological development.
Incidentally, as per the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, India is giving the basic minimum agreed water through its rivers flowing into Pakistan, which is also a cause of unrest due to inadequacy of water for catering growing requirement for agriculture and urban population. The condition of Pakistan economy is deteriorating every year and Pakistan Rupee is far devalued as compared to US $. The present exchange rate is around 1 US$ is equal to 165 Pakistan Rupees.
Other triggering factors for Pakistan’s worry are inclusion of Pakistan in the grey list by F.A.T.F. (Financial Action Task Force) of I.M.F., on account of non-compliance of financial discipline in the matters like money laundering and supporting and financing terrorism. Pakistan is a debt drowned nation with heavy unpaid international loans and incapacity to repay interest on loans, thus making it difficult to obtain fresh loans. The present international loans & debt amount is US$ 270 Billion which is 106% of total G.D.P. of Pakistan.
The very slow progress of CPEC, the Belt and Road Initiative in partnership with China, of which the work has recently stopped is proving to be a costly affair for the state. For last few years, India and Afghanistan have increased the cooperation to strengthen their mutual ties. Similarly, India is increasing diplomatic and trade relations with other Muslim & Arab countries. India had also an invitation for representation at OIC, an Organization of Islamic Countries. In the Asia Pacific region India, USA, Australia and Japan through the QUAD have come together against expansionist China. The way in which India had a firm and strong stand off at Doklam & Ladakh border with China, which is a strategic partner of Pakistan, has been a matter of concern for Pakistan. Time and again USA has been openly supporting India on these border issues. The other internal bothering issues of Pakistan are insurgency for freedom in provinces of Baluchistan & Sindh, on the background of all-time domination by Punjabi Muslim lobby.
Some of the alarming parameters and facts show that Pakistan is a failed state and not in a position to revive its position. The Islamic fanatism, very low level of education, high level of unemployment, inequality between male & female population, increasing prices of basic food items, high level of corruption, very poor quality but very costly medical facilities and lack of medicines are some of additional factors which add to the difficulties of Pakistan. Increase in imports and very low exports have been instrumental in worsening the overall situation of Pakistan. One of the responsible Cabinet Minister of Pakistan government recently officially accepted that the licenses of many pilots of Pakistan International Airlines are fake, as a result of which many countries have banned flights of Pakistan’s official air carrier P.I.A. Similarly, Pakistan’s passport is considered to be the lowest honoured passport the world over and a very limited quota of USA visas is allotted to Pakistani nationals. Just few days back U.A.E. has also put restrictions on grant of Visa to Pakistani nationals.
Recently the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his speech called, Osama Bin Laden as martyr. Even he went on to publicly accept, during his visit to USA, that Pakistan Army & I.S.I. trained the militants in Afghanistan. By the end of October 2020, another responsible cabinet Minister of Pakistan accepted in their Parliament, that it was Pakistan who engineered the attack at Pulwama in Kashmir, causing heavy casualties of Indian troops.
The other causes of anxiety of Pakistan are that their defence budget is only about 4% of total government budget as compared to India’s defence budget allocation of nearly 15%, which is far more than Pakistan. The total Indian defence forces are practically 3 times more than of Pakistan. Under the circumstances, Pakistan knows that, it cannot win over India and hence tries to hurt India by a proxy war through non state factors. However, the Indian forces and intelligence agencies are fully prepared and equipped to handle all types of situations successfully, with minimum response time.
The foreign investments, both financial & technological are practically absent except from China. The basic medicines and life-saving drugs are not manufactured in Pakistan and patients requiring major surgeries and treatment are required to depend upon Indian expert doctors and state of the art hospitals in India.
Once up on a time, Pakistan was dreaming to be the leader of Muslim world, by having the Islamic Atom Bomb. Even Pakistan enjoyed the position of a buffer state and got financial aid from U.S.A.in the days of conflict and cold war between USA and erstwhile USSSR. However, over a period of time this dream has been shattered by the insolvent condition of Pakistan. Poverty and unrest in its citizens are increasing day by day, ultimately making it difficult to borrow money from international institutions and other countries. Islamic countries like U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have preferred to distance them from Pakistan both on financial and diplomatic fronts, isolating Pakistan, except for a few friends like Malaysia, China & Turkey. India as a big brother would be happy to have a peace loving and progressive Pakistan as a neighbour with a democratically elected leadership having vision for development. The genuine efforts of Pakistan in this direction are always welcome and would help both the nations to reduce the defence expenditure and use that money instead for developmental projects. For this India expects a positive initiative backed by concrete efforts of Pakistan on all fronts including diplomatic and trade relations, to enable further dialogue.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.