Some thoughts on Pakistan’s present predicament

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Prof Dr Shahida Wizarat
We live in a world order designed and implemented by major world powers, which post 9/11 means a sole super power, aided and abetted by its surrogates in the European Union. In order to understand the present world situation it is important to understand the Western mindset. In these countries there are strong networks between academics, think tanks and policy makers. Policy recommendations derived from studies are used to formulate policies not only for the countries, but since these countries happen to formulate international world order, they are used for that purpose as well.
Jeffry Sachs a leading US economist with links to policy makers in Washington explores whether global development is sustainable if developed countries continue to grow at their long-term per capita rate of 1.6% per year, while countries in Asia and other parts of the world grow at their spectacular rates resulting in four to six- fold increase in world GNP. He says world energy supplies are already stressed out, with very alarming consequences on the climate and the environment. Sachs says that the world will run out of oil and gas and might have to switch to coal. He says Australia, United States, China, India, etc have enough coal reserves and energy, which will not limit growth in the present century at least. But such large scale consumption of coal will destroy the climate and the ecosystems. He, therefore, concludes that DCs and countries in Asia and other parts of the world cannot continue to grow at their present rates.
The limits to growth analysis has given rise to the policy recommendation that the trade off between the rates of growth of the DCs and LDCs can be settled by sacrificing the rates of growth of the latter. For, if there is a trade off between the present rates of growth of the advanced western economies and emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere, the best way to stampede the rates of growth of the emerging economies is to engage them in conflicts.
Moreover, the Rand Corporation advised the US government to resolve the Great Recession in 2008 by starting a global war. At that time the US was engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Rand Corporation recommended that US engagements in these two countries alone will not be enough to get the global economy out of the deep recession. Empirical evidence in my studies shows that the effect of conflict on rich western economies are on account of expansion of GDP in armament producing economies and reduction in GDP in the developing countries as a result of death and destruction, instability, flight of capital, etc. and facilitating the loot and plunder of resources of developing countries that do not have the capability to protect them. In another study I find that the high performing countries during the last three decades were not afflicted by the ‘resource curse’, till such time that they got involved in conflict.
While western economies are the major beneficiaries of global conflict, ground realities point the finger at their covert involvements in acts of terror in LDCs. Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Watch stated that the FBI created terrorists out of law abiding citizens by encouraging people to commit acts of terror. Andrea Prasow, the rights group deputy director for Washington stated ” many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressurising and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”
Several CIA and FBI operatives arrested in Pakistan had links with militants engaged in terrorist acts. Raymond Davis, a CIA operative was arrested in Pakistan in January 2011 for killing two Pakistanis. Investigations revealed that his laptop had links with 119 militants. An FBI operative was arrested in Karachi in May 2014 from Quaid-e-Azam International airport. A British national James Alexander Mclintock was first arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and handed over to the British authorities. He returned to Pakistan again in 2004. One fails to understand how some one charged with terrorism could get out of Britain and return to Pakistan to start his activities without the knowledge of the British government. In India an American by the name of Kenneth Haywood, was arrested in connection with the Ahmadabad blasts as his laptop had links to the blasts, but was allowed to leave India in spite of the fact that Indian IB was investigating the matter. In his place some Muslims were arrested.
The involvement of a hidden hand has been found in other countries also. In Mandalay, Myanmar the alleged rape of a Buddhist woman by two Muslim men that triggered large scale rioting leaving 280 dead and 140,000 homeless was later found to be fabricated. The woman confessed that she was paid $1 million for making the false claim. The intensity of the crises and the causes vary, but the entire developing world, societies are being polarised on ethnic, sectarian, religious versus liberal, democratic versus dictatorial, etc, grounds. The basis of the division doesn’t matter as long as it leads to conflict. In Afghanistan it was Al Qaeda, in Iraq it was Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) which were never found. In many Arab countries the emphasis is on removal of cruel dictators, but only if they are not acceptable to Western powers. In many African countries the divisions are on ideological grounds, while Iran is being divided on conservative versus liberal lines.
The present politico social system prevalent in Pakistan installs US selectees to government positions in Pakistan. Public sector institutions have become dysfunctional on account of lack of merit in appointments, absence of the rule of law and the use of vested interest for personal gains and most academics elevated to leadership position have strong links with the US. There is no pressure on them to perform as their performance is not evaluated on the basis of merit. The ruling clique uses its clout in the public sector to get its selectees appointed on leadership positions is doing the same in the private sector as well. This has resulted in the private sector performing only marginally better than the public sector. There is, therefore great need to establish quality institutions in Pakistan.
The research institutes in are also not doing research that is relevant to the present situation prevailing in Pakistan or at the global level. Although there has been an increase in the number of such institutes, but these are again controlled by the US lobby in Pakistan. They mostly work on issues of interest to western governments and their research is funded by these governments and the international agencies and researchers lend their inputs to earn more money, rather than trying to offer solutions to the multifarious problems now afflicting Pakistan. The present government instead of trying to free the country of this decadent system is reinforcing it.
While those agitating against the government are slogan mongering change and revolution, but their actions are strengthening the present politico-socio system. This can be observed by their demand for the installation of a technocratic government, which in the past has consisted of economists with links to western intelligence agencies. Moreover, political parties involved in Dharnas have stopped their agitations against drone attacks in which many innocent Pakistanis are getting killed. The Dharma has resulted in the postponement of the visit of the Chinese President to Pakistan and the signing of important investment agreements between the two countries.
Chinese investments in an infrastructure starved country like Pakistan will not only provide the infrastructure which is so vital for all sectors of the economy, generate incomes, bring prosperity which can help to stabilise the country. But the USA is feeling quite uncomfortable with increasing ties between Pakistan and China on two accounts.
First, Chinese access to Gwadar is something the US is not very comfortable with. Moreover, the vision the USA formulated for Pakistan in Global Trends 2015 is a truncated, fragmented and destabilised Pakistan is bound to get negated by Chinese investments coming into Pakistan. That is why the American lobby in Pakistan is trying to scuttle these investments.
There have been irresponsible statements from these quarters that Chinese investments will increase Pakistan’s debts. A newly established think tank PRIME and the Business Recorder have convened a conference on 21 October 2014 to raise awareness about Pakistan’s rising debts. When the PPP government signed an agreement with the IMF in 2008 no concern was expressed about increase in foreign debts in Pakistan. And when the present government signed an agreement with the IMF in 2013 the same quarters who are now expressing a lot of concern stated that there was no option but to borrow from the IMF. Although Chinese investments are based on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) and public-private partnership which does not raise debt as reported in the Financial Times 7 May 2014 a lot of hue and cry is being raised.
As 2015 is approaching Pakistan’s crises are being taken to a climax. The Dharnas are paralysing life in Pakistan, preventing further development of relations with our strategic partners. As I can see efforts are being intensified to take us towards the truncated and fragmented Pakistan predicted in Global Trends 2015, in which KPK and Baluchistan are predicted to be severed from the rest of the country. And the demands emanating from the Dharna politicians are that a technocratic government (composed of Pakistanis with doubtful credibility) is installed in Pakistan.
If conflict intensifies with technocrats in power in Pakistan it will be conducive to the attainment of US agendas in Pakistan. These agendas are being successfully implemented in other countries behind the smokescreen of fights against Al Qaeda, Taliban, sectarian or ethnic conflicts. For example, in Afghanistan behind the smokescreen of the fight against Taliban Americans are looting lithium from that country.
In Iraq while different factions are fighting, the US is quietly transporting Iraqi oil and storing it along the Los Angeles San Francisco coastline. So what is it that the US would be most interested to take out of Pakistan. Pakistan is also rich in many natural resources, and these might be susceptible to loot and plunder. But what the US is most likely to go for first are Pakistan’s nuclear assets, with the loot and plunder of minerals and resources bound to follow.
How can we change the present grim situation to our advantage? First and foremost we have to preempt the chaos and slide of the country into the scenario envisaged for us by big powers. This can be best achieved by trying to reduce the polarisation now at its peak. We need to smooth out the difference and try to prevent the differences from boiling over. And we have to go beyond that and try to turn the situation around to our advantage. The situation prevailing in Pakistan is both a pre revolutionary as well as a pre chaos situation, whether it leads to chaos or a revolutionised system depends on whether we are able to turn the tide to our advantage. We should try to discard the decadent politico-social system imposed on this country for the last 65 years. For if we can not get rid of the system now, we will never be able to do so. The elevation of people on leader ship positions only after a nod from the US has to be discarded and replaced by a merit based system in which leadership positions are filled by competent, honest and patriotic Pakistanis.
Second, the back door for the entry of “foreign sponsored” technocrats as caretaker ministers and prime minister should not be opened. This will be very dangerous bearing in view Pakistan’s present predicament and the threats we are facing. All the candidates for ministerial positions whether regular or care taker should be thoroughly vetted for their links with foreign intelligence agencies.
Third, as stated earlier, Adverse Path Dependant model states that countries that disbanded the institutions developed by colonial masters and established new institutions were able to progress and bring prosperity to their countries. The same applies to our present institutions which are both dysfunctional and incapable of developing links with Chinese institutions. Moreover, the funding of educational institutions, electronic and print media by US aid have rendered these institutions useless. It is, therefore, important to establish new educational, research, print and electronic media institutions that will promote greater educational and social interaction between Pakistan and China. There is a large number of well educated and trained Pakistani professionals who are willing to invest in educational instructions, and can be strengthened with some support. A public (Chinese) and private (Pakistani) partnership and private-private partnership between the two countries will bring the two peoples closer.
While we are trying to thwart the propaganda of the US funded research institutes in Pakistan, we are doing so on the basis of limited information we gather from newspapers, etc. It is therefore important that the agreements between China and Pakistan should be available to all, which will bring transparency to these agreements. And finally, a few words about Pakistan’s policy against terror. In my view the policy is rather racist, and as stated earlier Western terrorists arrested in Pakistan are let off the hook and their accomplices are killed. The targets of these western sponsors of terror never get investigated as they are immediately whisked out of the country and their local counterparts killed. It is important that anyone engaged in acts of terror should be held, investigated and grilled to discover facts about their aims, objectives and targets in Pakistan and elsewhere.

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