Pakistan is on the verge of multi-organ failure due to its wrong policies on socio-economic, political, security and terrorism issues, according to a new book written by a former Indian bureaucrat.
“The difference between the democratic journey of India and the military dictatorships in Pakistan provoked questions as to why the two have developed so differently,” Tilak Devasher, who retired as Special Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, said at the launch of his new book “Pakistan: Courting the Abyss” here on Wednesday evening.
“The growth of intolerance and radicalisation on the one hand and terrorism directed against India resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Indian civilians on the other lent an ominous dimension to my questions,” he said.
“I was determined to understand what made Pakistan such a violent and inhospitable place, on the verge of being declared a terrorist state and the worst nuclear proliferator in the world. I short, why was Pakistan courting the abyss?”
Devasher stressed that his book was not about any comparison between India and Pakistan relations but a holistic work about Pakistan and the plight it has found itself in now.
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At a panel discussion following the book launch, Ajai Sahni, Executive Director of the Institute of Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal, said that Pakistan’s problems lay in the cynical exploitation of religion by its founder leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
“A lot of his problems have entrenched in the complex dynamics of the country,” Sahni said.
He stated that the reason for Pakistan’s entrapment was its role in terrorism.
Sahni said children in Pakistan were being killed and the education system was in complete disaarray.
He was of the view that though Islamabad was looking at Beijing for support, China was a pragmatic power and it would take whatever it needed but would give very little in return.
Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired Indian Army Corps commander and a well-known television panellist, said that there was an utter lack of clarity in Jinnah’s vision.
“The concept of a nation was not clear to them,” Hasnain said.
According to him, though there is a belief in Pakistan that terrorism and radicalism started during the tenure of th late President Zia-ul-Haq, the fact of the matter is that these started right from 1947.
He said that though every other Pakistani leader, except Zia, was a non-believer, each one of them contributed to terrorism.
Hasnain, who recently returned from a Track II diplomacy trip to Pakistan, warned that there was a growing thinking in Islamabad that it was winning the proxy war against India, and said that India has not been able to communicate to its neighbour strategically that this was not the case.
He also highlighted one section of Devasher’s book called “The WEEP Analysis”: Water, education, economy, and population.
Sushant Sareen, Senior Fellow in the Vivekananda International Foundation, said that the real fault lines in Pakistan were the social and economic parameters and not the Shia-Sunni conflict.
He said there should be a psycho-analysis of the Pakistani leadership.
Though the book is not about India and Pakistan, one chapter looks at how Pakistan is obsessed with military parity with India and its foreign policy is based on this.
In remarks printed on the back cover of the book, Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan Ambassador to the US, writes: “Devasher writes with empathy and his book is full of facts that cannot be ignored by Pakistanis and the rest of the world.”