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Can Pakistan survive? - The Observer

Dina Nath Mishra ()
November 12, 1998

Title: Can Pakistan survive?
Author: Dina Nath Mishra
Publication: The Observer
Date: November 12, 1998

It is no secret that Pakistan's economic and financial conditions
have deteriorated further after the nuclear explosion in May this
year. It is virtually on the brink of collapse. Bill Clinton has
lifted some of the economic sanctions mainly to help Pakistan.
The problem is not confined to this alone. The fact is that the
state of Pakistan is undergoing a similar political crisis which
it has gone through in the late 60s before its partition and
creation of the new state of Bangladesh. It can be recalled that
during 1955 to 1970, four states of West Pakistan, namely Punjab,
Sindh, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan
unitedly treated East Pakistan in the most left-handed manner
almost on all issues. The late Shaikh Muzib-ur-Rehman, the leader
of East Pakistan, was not given his rightful position in united
Pakistan and that ultimately caused partition of the country.

Similar is the situation today. Ironically Sindh, Baluchistan and
NWFP are fighting the domination of Punjabis in all walks of
life. It may also be noted that Bengalis accounted for 56 per
cent of the population of united Pakistan.

In the present division, Punjab has 56 per cent of seats in the
national assembly on the basis of doctored census figures. The
census has been one of the most major crises in Pakistan. There
have been a lot of protests and it has been postponed several
times before it could be conducted recently. Its statistics
generated a lot of accusations against Punjabis.

In NWFP, people did not want the partition. They were opposed to
the separatist ideology of the Muslim League and supported the
Congress till 1947 under the leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar
Khan, popularly known as Frontier Gandhi. He was among the top
Congress leaders. When Congress agreed to the partition, he felt
betrayed and remarked, 'We have been thrown to the wolves.' After
partition, Frontier Gandhi was put in jail. There were systematic
campaigns to convert the people to NWFP to the ideology of Muslim
League. Large numbers of madarsas were established to teach Islam
of the Deoband School. Most of the Taliban are products of this
system of education of NWFP. According to N M Khilnani, the well-
known journalist of Pakistan, 'Madarsas are the breeding ground
for fanaticism. Radical Muslims are indoctrinating some 2.5
million youth with the dogma of medieval age.' The spread of
fanaticism in the NWFP was further facilitated when Zia
legitimated and legalised the role of mullahs in the power
structure of Pakistan.

Today people of NWFP are determined to stop Kalabagh dam. But
Punjab is hell-bent on building this dam. The sudden decision of
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the construction of this dam has
outraged the people of NWFP. The provincial assembly of the NWFP
had passed three resolutions against the construction of this dam
because the lake formed by it will submerge some of the most
fertile lands of the NWFP and, in the process, displace 80
thousand families.

All the members of the NWFP assembly have taken an oath to oppose
the construction of this dam. Sindh assembly has also passed a
resolution against the construction of this dam, for, it would
cause diversion of substantial water to the detriment of Sindh.
The whole of rural Sindh is protesting against this dam proposal.
Surprisingly, even the government and people of Baluchistan have.
decided to be with Sindh and NWFP on this question. The
government of Baluchistan is not unhappy with the authoritarian
ways and unjust treatment of the Pakistan central government.
People of Baluchistan remember the brutalities of the Pakistan
Army during 1973-74. Benazir Bhutto, the ex-Prime Minister, and
the Pakistan People's Party have declared their support for the
three states against the dam.

Sindh is often termed as a colony of Islamabad. There have been
movements and strong resentment against regimentation of civil
life in Sindh by the central government. Mohajirs, who migrated
from India during the partition and settled in Karachi and other
parts of Sindh, have made common cause with Sindhis.

The former foreign minister, Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali, called for
trifurcation of Punjab into the provinces of Lahore, Rawalpindi
and Multan 'to save Pakistan'. Many politicians are predicting
civil war in Karachi and some other parts of Sindh. Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif has turned to Quran- and Shariyat-based
dictatorship primarily because the integrity of the state of
Pakistan is under threat because of several factors. One of them
is narco-terrorism.

Heroin industry in Pakistan has grown after 1979 due to the
active involvement of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the
Army and the Air Force. Detailed information about this
involvement has been furnished in four different sources of
information. A book The Bear Trap written by Mohammad Yousuf,
chief of the Afghan bureau of the ISI during 1983 to 1987,
provides a detailed description of the activities of ISI in
organising the heroin trade in Pakistan.

In September 1996, Nawaz Sharif had made a statement to The
Washington Post that Gen Afzal Beg, chief of the Army Staff in
1991, and the then director general of ISI had together sought an
official permission from him to smuggle heroin for financing
'covert military operations' in Punjab and Kashmir. As the ISI
was only nominally under the Prime Minister, they were only
informing him as to what was actually happening at that time. The
CIA has prepared a secret 93-page report on the involvement of
the ISI in heroin trafficking in Pakistan.

A book The Outlaw Bank provides a detailed information on how the
Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), in alliance
with the CIA, functioned as an extension of the Pakistani state
in providing financial support to these clandestine activities.
Startling revelations about the involvement of the CIA and the
USA were made by veteran Pakistani journalist Altaf Gauhar.

In an article published in Politics and Business, September 28,
1994, he says that at the g of the Afghan War, the US
intelligence agencies had contacted the influential Khans in the
tribal belt and provided them with equipment and contacts for
facilitating production and smuggling of heroin. In a couple of
years, thus, Pakistan had' become a major producer and supplier
of drugs in the world.

Drug traffic is often wedded to arms smuggling. At times, the
same route is used for the export of terrorism. Recently, Paris-
based Geo-Political Drug-Watch released a report in Brussels,
terming Pakistan as a 'narco-state' where drug traffickers, top
political and military officials are entangled in an intricate
web of activities.

The integrity of state of Pakistan is increasingly in danger. The
nuclear weapons of Pakistan are no guarantee of its integrity.

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