Wednesday, May 18, 2022

PURANA PAKISTAN IN A PURANI BOTTLE

In 1849 the noted French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” which when translated in English means “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. In 2004 Hassan Abbas in his book “Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism” wrote that 3 As dictate the politics in Pakistan – […]

In 1849 the noted French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” which when translated in English means “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

In 2004 Hassan Abbas in his book “Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism” wrote that 3 As dictate the politics in Pakistan – Allah, America & Army.

The quote of Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr holds great relevance for Pakistan today more than 173 years after it was spoken and the book of Hassan Abbas is still relevant 18 years after being written.

Imran Khan who at the age of 18 years made his debut for Pakistan in international cricket was a world-famous bowler well known for his reverse swing. He soon became a cricket sensation and a global heart throb with his cricketing career peaking with him winning the World Cup Cricket in 1992. Six months after winning the World Cup, Imran Khan retired from cricket.

In 1996 Imran Khan plunged into Pakistani politics by forming a political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Till then Pakistani politics was dominated by two political parties – Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N0 led by Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto.

In the first general elections held in 1997 after PTI was formed, it won no seats in the National Assembly. In the 2002 general elections, it won just one seat and that too of Imran Khan himself.

In 2008 PTI boycotted the general elections on grounds of it being conducted with fraudulent procedures. In 2013 it won 35 seats and since then, PTI has had a meteoric rise.

In the 2018 general elections it won 155 seats in the 342-member National Assembly. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistan Army, General Qamar Bajwa helped cobble up support from few smaller political parties like Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) for Imran Khan, as 171 seats were needed by PTI to form the government in Pakistan.

Imran Khan was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan on 18 August 2018. Soon after the swearing in, Imran Khan announced a Naya (new) Pakistan in making.

But the turn of events in the next four years leading to the dissolution of the National Assembly on 03 April 2022 would prove that Pakistan remained a Purana (old) Pakistan in a Purani (vintage) Bottle.

For a nation to be a reckonable force to reckon with in this world, there are three important parameters. The foremost is economical strength, followed by military strength and nuclear weapons. USA, Russia, India and China are apt examples of this paradigm.

And Pakistan is exactly the opposite of this paradigm.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the Pakistan Foreign Minister in 1965, who later on went to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan remarked in an interview with Manchester Garden that “We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one (atom bomb) of our own”.

Pakistan has only focussed on its military and nuclear capabilities, totally ignoring the basic foundation of economical strength, the foundation on which any country’s military and nuclear capabilities rests.

The Pakistan Army who is all powerful in Pakistan controls the three key issues in Pakistan – economic affairs, defence and external affairs and exercises full control over Pakistan politics – covertly or overtly.

A strong network of powerful “foundations” by the Pakistani Armed Forces controls the salt to steel production in Pakistan. The largest three of these foundations are the Fauji, Shahheen and the Bahria foundations run under the aegis of its army, air force and the navy respectively.

With these opaque foundations in full control and the role of the Pakistan Army in everything and anything in Pakistan, the Pakistani economy is slipping from bad to worse.

When Imran Khan took over as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018, the Pakistani debt was US$ 50.5 billion and 01 US Dollar traded at 123 Pakistani Rupees (PKR).

In the end of 2021, the Pakistani debt stood at US$ 85.6 billion and 01 USD traded at 177 PKR.

None of the past 22 Prime Ministers of Pakistan and none of the future 22 Prime Ministers of Pakistan can bring a change in the economy of Pakistan till the basics in Pakistan are set right.

Ironically the same Imran Khan whom Gen Qamar Bajwa ensured becoming the Prime Minister and whom Imran Khan gave a three-year extension as the COAS, has been unseated by Gen Qamar Bajwa after Imran Khan sat on a proposal of Gen Bajwa to nominate Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the DG ISI for nearly a month in October 2021.

The clock for Imran Khan’s ouster as the Pakistani Prime Minister had started ticking since then.

And to add further speed to his ouster was Imran Khan’s visit to Russia on 24 February 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Clearly the second of the 3 As ie America or USA too had fallen out with Imran Khan.

With two out of the 3 As ie America and the Army against Imran Khan, the events of the notice of the no-confidence motion being tabled in the National Assembly on 08 March 2022 by Shahbaz Shareef to the resignation of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the dissolving of the National Assembly by its Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri on April 03, 2022.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on 07 April 2022 held the decision of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly to dissolve the National Assembly on 03 April 2022 as unconstitutional and directed a vote of no-confidence on 09 April 2022 in the reinstated National Assembly.

This reverse swing of Imran Khan has failed miserably.

Pakistan remains a Purana Pakistan in a Purani Bottle.

Photo-Social Media

 

About the Writer –

Lt Col JS Sodhi (Retd)

The writer who retired from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army is an alumnus of NDA, Khadakwasla and IIT Kanpur. He is a M.Tech in Structures has also done MBA and LLB and is a prolific writer and a public speaker. He Tweets and Koos at @JassiSodhi24. The views expressed are personal.  

 


Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Name *