National security is the ability to preserve a nation’s physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to preserve its nature, institutions and governance from disruption from outside and to control its borders. National integration is the core element of national security.
However, after attaining the status of an independent state in 1947, there remained a crisis of national integration in Pakistan, which has severely affected its political stability, social integration and economic stability. In the absence of national unity and integration, there remained challenges for national security of Pakistan because both are directly linked. Distributive justice and inclusive economic and political development are conducive to national unity, whereas inequality and economic disparity undermine it. Unfortunately, Pakistani society is fragmented along ethnic, religious and linguistic lines. The cohesiveness of these entities is crucial to build an integrated nation. An absence of this process may threaten the very existence of the state.
Pakistan has been subverted from within and the nation is struggling for a unified identity to mark its political culture. Pakistan is an Islamic ideological state and it should safeguard its ideology overtly. The history of Pakistan is full of irrational decisions; like relying too much on the US for meeting the country’s domestic political, economic and defence needs; joining Afghan War and War on Terrorism without doing cost-benefit analysis; and resorting to elitists model of economy which never allowed the process of making an integrated nation.
The wholesome behaviour of Pakistan in the domestic affairs and international arena is the mixture of its economic, political, social and security paradoxes. Along with domestic issues, some foreign elements are also creating political instability and try to divide the nation based on ethnic and sectarian fault lines. Pakistan has regional importance in Central Asia and some elements want to stop the development process of the country.
In this back drop, question arises as to how Pakistan can preserve and strengthen its national integration? Firstly, Pakistan needs to plan the remedial measures so that its national security can be ensured through national integration. True democracy with the involvement of people of Pakistan is the binding force for national security and integration of this nation. There is a need for cultural co-existence resulting from cultural confluence and interaction. Any programme for national integration would pre-suppose the fact that Pakistan is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-sectarian and multi-ethnic nation-state and society. Its ethnicity can be transformed into a positive asset.
Furthermore, education produces enlightened and informed leaders, advisors, think-tanks and policymakers, capable of taking the country out of crisis. The element of good governance is another constituent component of making a proud and prosperous nation. A state’s machinery is required to provide good governance, ensuring the optimum functioning of the state’s institutions especially those linked with provision of public services. A state’s internal peace and stability is the most important ingredient for nation building. A safe and secure country will provide a platform to all state’s institutions to flourish and perform their functions to their optimum capacity. All the institutions of Pakistan should have close linkage, especially political, economic and security, and complement each other through their internal institutional performance.
The current dominant discourse on national security in Pakistan is based not only upon regional and international realities but also on the issues of identity, democracy and issues related to the social transformation of the society. Pakistan is beset with numerous challenges, yet it offers many reasons to be optimistic about its future. The need for maintaining national unity is paramount as a number of elements are working to destabilize Pakistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), economic recovery, and the military’s successful fight against militancy are a ray of hope for national unity.
To conclude, it is commendable that despite its diversity, Pakistan is a united nation, which has always stood together in the face of many odds. However, national unity should not be taken for granted. It has to be nurtured with care and with continuous efforts. The factors which could serve as catalysts in the recipe of nation building are good governance, elimination of terrorism, provision of basic facilities and the technological advancement through education. Today Pakistan needs these more than ever before. National unity is the only panacea for all problems. National unity is paramount at the time when the state is facing a variety of internal and external challenges.
— The writer works for Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think tank based in Islamabad
Next articleFuture of Pak-US Relations
09:32 AM (GMT +5)
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Important Essay: National Integration
Present Murky Scenario: The fault Lines of nuisance and coercion
Factors fuelling the provoked situation
Effects enervating the National Unity
Pragmatic Procedures to strengthen Patriotism
Sallust, a great philosopher argues, By union the smallest states thrive, by discord the greatest destroyed. The fall of Soviet Empire with piles of nuclear arsenals but frail national sentiments, while miraculous victory of organized-Hizbollah, are manifestations of Sallests claim. Hamza Amir in his book Pakistan- an overdeveloped state has revealed the fact that after independence, the governing class was highly educated, on the pattern of the British mind set, while on the contrary the masses were miserably illiterate. This huge gap created management crisis.
National integration is a process of achieving national cohesion, stability, prosperity, strength, and feelings of being united as a nation. Pakistan has faced varying degrees of religious, ethnic, linguistic, and political problems that are often in conflict with our national interest. To guard against all external as well as internal challenges to the solidarity and security of Pakistan, a well knitted and integrated nation is a must. Lack of confidence and faith in the future of Pakistan speaks volume of our failings. All the turmoil and unrest in the country cannot be entirely placed on the external forces and our enemies. The brute and the savage force in an individual, which is basically harnessed by positive aspects of education, tends to get unleashed in different directions and causes serious disruptions within society.
Factors fuelling the aggravated situation:
Feudal consider enlightenment as a challenge to their age old oppressive hold over their surfs and have a greater stake in the status quo. Due to large holding and wealth, is always politically active in decision making regarding the common masses. Thus the power continues to flow from feudalistic order of the society rather than a broad based popular public support. The Urban leadership, mainly industrialists, is also following the footsteps of feudal lords.
Sectarianism: with the introduction of religious parties and exploration of religion by various governments to legitimate their rule created hell on this Land of the Pure. Different sects manipulated by external actors, are engage in alienating the simpleton Muslims from the true spirit of Islam and are weakening the Muslim brotherhood, which is the real basis of Pakistan.
Pakistan has been divided between Enlightened and Conservative Muslims, particularly after 9/11.these opposing forces are putting all their energies to falsify the other at the cost of national image and stability. Corruption is so deeply rooted in our public and private life that it is threatening the very fabric of our society. An individual finds no fair way to get his legitimate rights and he feels frustrated against this set up of looting and cheating. Caste/ Tribal system: Centuries old cast and tribal system prevailing in all provinces is very decisive in nature. It has fragmented the society and put the people in the watertight compartments. The tribal chieftain, making full use of their terrible ignorance and economic dependence, are pushing them into the swamp of poverty and frustration. Bearded war Lords: Lust for money and power with a robust desire to govern the country, some of the religious leaders have turned Deeni Madresas into terrorists organizations by attracting the poor youth to their free education program. The few violent hands can dismantle the whole state structure, as is frequently envisaged in suicide bombings. Higher and costlier Educating is only providing the chosen elite control the policy making process, thus excluding the majority of deserving and passionate youth turning them into frustrated souls. Absence of quick and cheap justice has minimized the role of Law and order agencies, forced the victims to take vengeance by the dint of their own power and introduced a culture of intolerance and violence. The Colonial Masters integration of the society was detrimental to the vested interested.
Since the independence, the ruling elite with the same colonial mind set segregated the Pakistani society on ethnic, linguistic, sectarian issues and kept them in the abeyance of poverty and illiteracy. Inequitable Distribution of wealth fueled by the feudal, profit oriented industrialists, biased policy makers aggravated the situation. The concentration of wealth, contrary to the Islamic code, by 22 families in 1960s and 500 groups at present, has alienated the majority from assuming positive role in nation building process.
Unsatisfied Federating Units. Strong Center, first operated under the provisions of the British made 1935 Act alienated the small provinces, generated sentiments of separatism, violence, distrust. Frequent failure of Counsel of Common Interest, National Finance Commission, disputed water distribution and energy resources, the right of royalty, inequitable job distribution, have endangered the security and prosperity of the country. Attempts to keep unity under bayonet bring short relief but unending unrest and brutalities. Insurgency in Wazirstan and Balochistan, aided by Foreign Elements, are alarming indicators to the national Army. Controlled Media in Pakistan has been projecting flowery image of the state while the demon of corruption, hatred, injustice, violence, and deprivation kept on infecting its foundations.
Effects enervating the National Unity:
The crisis of management has created an air of uncertainty, disloyalty, frustration, and insurgency. The Pakistan Army is at war with its own people in Balochistan and FATA. The fragmented Pakistan with internal weakness and external threats is unable to refuse the Americans Orders, to get its legitimate right of Kashmir, to secure its borders with Afghanistan. Foreign investors, especially the overseas Pakistanis are examining the fear factors in opening new ventures due to corrupt financial institutions and violent groups. Consequently the vicious circle of poverty expands aggravating the already inflamed situation. The secret agencies of enemy countries find local terrorists to disrupt the system. Under the thick air of jealousy, non construction of Big dams is pushing the country into dark ages. A common citizen, suffers worst type of corruption and thus is uninterested in paying taxes. Social values, crime rate, and national patriotism, religious satisfaction are fast disappearing with growing poverty. Disengage of a citizen in election process is a clear indication of general masses hatred against the political, religious and military leadership. Individuals are becoming self oriented, preferring their self interest to the national interest.
Effective Measures to strengthen Patriotism:
To create physical asset by educating the masses, proper allocating the land, credit, Zakat and Usher. ensuring cost effective provisions of basic needs. Improved efficiency in the public and Corporate sectors to provide rule of Law. Independence of Judiciary will strengthen democracy, restore trust between Center and Provinces, and facilitate quick dispensation of justice. Depoliticizing of Public departments to avoid unjust political pressures. Peace inside and outside the borders will provide sufficient resources, skills and opportunities to focus on the national prosperity. Media with its magical power can unite the warring factions by minimizing the differences through open debates. Stable democratic system to work for welfare state. Patriot intellectuals writing to bring harmony. Accountability at all levels. Autonomy to the Provinces. Awakening of Islamic ideology.
In a nutshell, sincerity of approach will emerge as the main factor. We need to strengthen our political system and institutions, develop a dynamic and sustainable growth, eradicate corruption, provide timely justice, enhance employment, undertake steps for population control, seek consensus based political solutions, and resolve ethnic, sectarian and religious fault lines. With time running out, the failure to resolve the crises mean that there will be no escape from the eventual dark reality of disintegration. Verily will never Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.
(By Prof. Mohammad Saleem)
Last edited by Princess Royal; Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 06:45 AM.
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