Outsider's Disturbing Report on Ground Situation Inside
Dr. Maqbool Halepota, MD
Special to the South Asia Tribune
USA, July 14: I recently visited Pakistan, the country of my birth,
a country which has been under the spotlight for the last few
years. Here are my impressions of the current situation in Pakistan,
as seen from the inside through the eyes of a common person on
the street and what he thinks about the future of the country.
student of history will tell us that dictatorships are like games
of Russian Roulette, with each ending either in the demise of
the country, or the dictator. Pakistan’s short history is
filled with such examples. Ayub/Yahya’s
rule ended with the demise of Pakistan, as it was created by its
founding fathers. Zia’s regime ended in his own death in
mid air. Musharraf's dictatorship came close to following the
Zia example many times but he survived.
phenomenon is not unique to Pakistan. History is filled with similar
examples. The most recent being that of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia,
along with countless military dictators, all over the Third World,
who have been used and then disposed off, since the end of the
the next logical question would be: Who is going to be the victim
of next round of this perennial Russian Roulette being played
between Pakistan and its army?
Unless there is a drastic change in the international geo-political
conditions, as had happened in the case of Zia, it seems very
unlikely that the powers that be will want to eliminate General
Musharraf in the near future because he has time and again proven
to be more loyal than his masters and has been quite willing to
do all of their dirty work whenever asked or told.
the odds are that the loser at the end of the next round, in all
probability, will be the country itself, early signs of which
are already visible in what is happening in Balochistan. An extension
of the current setup will only further increase the deep sense
of deprivation prevalent among the smaller provinces and ethnic
minorities of the country.
before predicting about the future of the country, one needs to
look at the ethnic make-up of the country to better predict how
each of these groups is likely to react to the continuation of
current autocratic setup, and in case of a flare-up of ethnic
rioting in the country.
consists of many ethnic groups, many of these actually meet the
criteria for being recognized as nations, as defined by the UN.
These nationalities share nothing other than religion with each
other. This was the basis of the two nation theory, behind the
carving out of Pakistan in the mid 20th century.
nations had been in existence thousands of years before the very
idea of Pakistan was conjured up by the British bureaucracy. These
nationalities include Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochs, Seraikis,
Kashmiris and Mohajirs. One can easily predict how each one of
them will behave by evaluating the kind of relationship they have
enjoyed with the Pakistan Army over the last 50 years.
Balochs and Sindhis have always been treated by the Army as nothing
more than conquered and enslaved aborigines, with no rights or
privileges. Thus they are already completely alienated, making
both of these provinces volcanoes which are ready to erupt any
time. This is where the trouble is most likely to start in the
next few years. When this happens it will lead to further unrest
among the Seraikis, who have been relatively calm, but still totally
dissatisfied with the situation.
relations with Pashtuns and Kashmiris have also soured completely
over the last few years, due to General Musharraf's U-turns on
Afghanistan and Kashmir. Although in the past they were the favorite
blue eyed boys of the establishment.
present Musharraf’s strongest support base is among the
Mohajirs, because he himself is a Mohajir. This is the name given
to individuals who had migrated from India at the time of creation
of Pakistan and their descendents. As a matter of fact General
Musharraf himself was born in India and migrated with his family
when he was a young child. He has never made any secret of his
affection for his place of birth and desire to go back to his
his last visit to his motherland he had openly expressed a desire
to come back and settle in his ancestral house - the Neharwali
Haveli in Old Delhi, India. He has thus been called a proud son
of the soil by some Indian think tanks. This also explains Indian
Governments love affair with Musharraf and his regime, as he is
considered one of their own, and rightly so. After all, he single
handedly has achieved for India what their whole army could not
do in last 50 years, conquer Pakistan.
the million dollar question still is: Will he continue to enjoy
the same level of support when things reach the boiling point
in Balochistan and Sindh. I personally do not think so, I believe
that at that time the Mohajirs of the urban areas of the Sindh
will also be left with no choice but to abandon him.
Signs of which are visible even today by MQM’s radically
changed rhetoric. MQM is the organization which represents 99
per cent of mohajirs all over the world. Altaf Hussain the dynamic
and able leader of MQM has openly started asking for a United
States of Pakistan, because he can clearly see the writing on
any dictatorial government the current economic policies are primarily
being framed to appease and buy the loyalties of the few who can
provide support to this artificially erected system. Therefore
although benefiting a few fat cats, mostly Army Generals at the
top, the current economy has failed to trickle down to the masses
whose lives are getting more miserable by the day, due to the
skyrocketing prices of daily commodities, giving rise to a sense
of resignation and helplessness among the masses, even in Punjab
and urban Sindh.
if and when, there is turmoil in the country, even these traditionally
pro army areas are not likely to support the Musharraf set up.
when there is widespread unrest, which is most likely to start
in either Balochistan or Sindh and then spread to the Seraiki
belt, the General will use his army’s overwhelming power
to crush it. This will only result in further hatred against the
army and create further disharmony among the provinces because
the Army and bureaucracy in Pakistan is composed almost solely
of Punjabis at lower ranks and Mohajirs at the top. It has almost
no representation of other nationalities and is actually perceived
as an occupying force by most them.
When can we expect all of the above to start? Keeping all of the
above facts and figures in mind, one can safely predict that this
modern day Bonaparte of Pakistan will continue with his autocratic
rule for a little while longer. He will do so with the full blessing,
backing and support of the champions of democracy and freedom
of the world.
But like all dictators he will outlive his utility in the next
few years. This will be the time when things will be reaching
a point of no return internally also. Thus one does not have to
be a visionary to foresee some definite changes in the setup over
the next five to ten years.
should be of grave concern to the people of Pakistan, United States
and the whole free world. If left unchecked this dictatorship
is going to breed genuine anger against the General and the Pakistan
Army. Resulting in further chaos in an already unstable country,
which as it is, has already lost all internal cohesiveness and
is only being kept together by external forces and favorable geo-political
conditions! And when these conditions change it is most likely
to crash like a house of cards.
I sincerely believe that the time has come for the country of
my birth to take stock of the gathering dark clouds and realize
that unadulterated democracy is the only way of salvation for
them. Because continuing to rely on self proclaimed and military
appointed saviors will bring nothing except more death and destruction
to the country.
is time the inhabitants of this “Mumlikate-Khudadad”,
name given to Pakistan by its well wishers, which translated into
English means “Country Granted by God”, end their
perennial wait for divine intervention and start relying on their
God given talents.
is time for Pakistanis, as a nation to get their heads out of
the sand and face the harsh realities of the 21st century. The
need of the hour is for Pakistanis to bring true democracy to
their country before it is brought to them by someone else, as
is being currently done in Iraq.
writer is a Pakistani Oncologist currently working in Arizona,