Is this the prob­lem?

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL -

be in ter­mi­nal de­cline.

No one would quar­rel with the writer’s anal­y­sis, how­ever bit­ter the truth may be. The fact is that we have failed mis­er­ably in pro­duc­ing lead­er­ship that can pull the coun­try out of its present morass. This is ba­si­cally our job.

But will we be left alone to do it? Mr Hath­away’s ob­ser­va­tion be­trays a lack of his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive. The fact of the mat­ter is that Pak­ista­nis have not been al­lowed a free hand in ex­er­cis­ing their po­lit­i­cal choices. We have our­selves to blame for invit­ing for­eign med­dling. But that does not ab­solve the US of its re­spon­si­bil­ity ei­ther in help­ing us cre­ate a mess.

Hath­away aptly de­scribes de­cay as a “cu­mu­la­tive process”. It is also a long­drawn process. He ob­serves, “Amer­ica’s in­flu­ence in Pak­istan, for rea­sons good and bad, is vastly ex­ag­ger­ated. As Pak­istan con­fronts its chal­lenges, for­eign­ers can make a dif­fer­ence only at the mar­gins.”

How­ever, a look at the his­tory of USPak­istan re­la­tions tells us an­other story. It is re­plete with in­stances of how Amer­ica has used its power to in­flu­ence Pak­istan’s ‘es­tab­lish­ment’ to its own ad­van­tage. This first be­came man­i­fest in for­eign pol­icy mat­ters. But as has been in­evitable such con­trol has pen­e­trated domestic af­fairs. This trend be­gan in the 1950s and it was not just a co­in­ci­dence that gov­ern­ments that came into power af­ter their pre­de­ces­sors had failed to toe the Amer­i­can line, proved to be more pli­able vis-à-vis Washington.

How we joined the mil­i­tary pacts and be­came re­cip­i­ents of eco­nomic aid which came with strings at­tached and de­stroyed Pak­ista­nis’ — both the rulers and the ruled — spirit of self-re­liance is a long story. For­eign tech­nol­ogy in­ducted in­dis­crim­i­nately into the na­tional econ­omy de­stroyed the strength of our in­dige­nous sys­tems. The em­pha­sis was on aid and not trade, as the former helped the aid-givers con­trol those they aided. The role of the mil­i­tary in our pol­i­tics is a con­tin­u­ing saga — at times overt and at other times covert — and this has en­joyed Amer­ica’s bless­ings. How for­eign pol­icy is­sues seep into the ev­ery­day life of a peo­ple is best il­lus­trated in the case of the rise of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism and mil­i­tancy in Pak­istan.

No one would deny that el­e­ments with a fun­da­men­tal­ist ap­proach have al­ways op­er­ated in our so­ci­ety. But they re­mained on the fringes while the ma­jor­ity dis­played more ra­tio­nal­ity. Afghanistan, es­pe­cially the ‘ji­had’ fought by the Mu­jahideen with

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