- What’s really wrong with Pakistan?
What’s wrong with Pakistan? A very pertinent question to ask but is there a ready answer? Apparently not. And even Babar Ayaz’s recent book on the subject, while attempting to find an answer, fails to do so.
Pakistan is a country gone seriously wrong. It must have done something right though or why does it still manage to survive on the world map as a sovereign state 66 years after its birth? It is only a pity that the original state of Pakistan was dismembered just 34 years down the line and what we have today is only half of what we originally started with.
So what’s wrong with Pakistan? Lots, to say the least. To begin with, the country is still finding its bearings while other much younger states have moved on in the race to progress and prosperity and are now basking in the sunlight of success. It is highly appreciable that Babar Ayaz, a journalist-turned-PR man, has picked up his pen to make an effort and answer the million-dollar question. But like many others before him, who may not have given a similar title to their efforts, he too finds himself bogged down in a mire of confusion and chaos because he also concludes the book with a question.
It is, in fact, all a matter of questions. Through 347 pages and 34 chapters, a long and limbering argument attempts to analyse what is wrong with Pakistan, what is the genesis of these wrongs and how these wrongs can be righted. And, at the end of it all, the original question still remains unanswered.
From what ails Pakistan genetically to Zia’s controversial laws and then the question “Has democracy delivered in Pakistan?”, the Babar Ayaz quest covers the whole spectrum but there is no easy answer in sight. He seems to be going round in circles and coming every time to the same question: Is Pakistan a failed country? In replying to the question, he does come up with a muddle of answers but there is no coherence and the confusion continues.
The book is quite a labour of love and, despite his other professional obligations, both as a journalist and as a PR professional, Babar Ayaz must be lauded for taking out the time to write the book in the first place and for touching on so many aspects of this troubled land. He treats some key issues rather derisively but is quite incisive in the analysis of other ills that plague the country. He also opens new windows on old realities. His take on the Pakistan Army, for example, is that it is connected with several of the jihadi organizations which still comply with the norms set by it but he goes on to state further on that the very purpose of supporting the Taliban by the Pakistani military establishment was its perennial desire to counter the Indian influence in Afghanistan.
The account is a good read anytime because, in six cogently conceived parts, it takes you through the metamorphosis of Pakistan as an evolving state that has continued to fight its own inner battles and has come out victorious despite all its faults.
As to the question, “What’s wrong with Pakistan?” - no one really knows!
Title: Author: Publisher: Pages: Price: ISBN: What’s wrong with Pakistan? Babar Ayaz Hay House India 347, Hardback PKR 995 9789381431597