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Pakistan – Losing the lost match

Pakistan as an entity has till now been resilient from its deep divides, economic troubles and over extension of national security. Today we see Pakistan faltering on the very basis of its being – The Army. How will this go forward…

Pakistan – Losing the lost match
Whatever happens in Pakistan, a single factor was always there and strongly dealt with the situation, it was always the Army. Photo: Reuters

By Aadi Achint

A country that cares more about a cricket match rather than its deep rooted crisis is an example of a people who have lost their direction. We see Pakistan today in situations, some of them would be difficult to imagine by even the security agencies in India. Whatever happens in Pakistan, a single factor was always there and strongly dealt with the situation, it was always the Army. With open questions, criticism and efforts to create divisions rife, it is difficult to imagine a Pakistan so disconnected by National Security as its prime focus.

Rising attacks on the “establishment” along with a display of weakness by the Army has brought to question the validity of the whole setup. Imran Khan, who today has been able to garner a large base within the society, has also been able to bring the establishment to a place where barbs are being exchanged in the open. Here is a country whose reaction to the mention of Indian claims on POK and Gilgit Baltistan would be aggression and calls for war, ignoring a statement made by the defence minister of India staking Indian claims on the region. This comes as a surprise as it showcases the diversion of the public opinion far from its traditional “enemy”.

Pakistan has recently been through devastating floods, with a large section of its population still sleeping under open skies. It has witnessed a flurry of western leaders visiting and showing solidarity with the situation. The problem still persists and the solidarity has long gone. The current Prime Minister who has been abroad more than within the country is at his best asking for funds wearing Armani suits and staying in luxury hotels. The biggest reason for the lack of world interest is the lack of seriousness on clear display by the Pakistani Government and its Establishment itself.

The public discourse set by both the mainstream and the alternative media is always focussed on the masala news of the day engaging the people within this turmoil. Sans a mention of the crisis that the country could be facing – hunger, disease just to name the biggest. The leadership both at the civilian level and the armed forces seem to be busy exchanging barbs at each other entertaining the people and the world with their antics pretty much providing for a controversy a day. 

The Chief of the Army staff in Pakistan is termed as an institution and is supposedly far above the daily games of Pakistan. But, in this round of events the Chief seems to be bang in the center of it. Many would term it as a sign of weakness of Gen. Bajwa, the incumbent. Today’s turmoil has much of its roots in the upcoming retirement and the new appointment of the army chief. The thought process would be that the new Chief would come and handle the situation. Would he be able to, with the complete maligning of the image of the Institution? It seems like Gen. Bajwa is more interested in finishing his tenure under the garb of neutrality rather than to get involved with the mud sliding taking place.

A more dangerous situation emerges from the western border of the country where the Afghan Taliban is bent on placing a cost on the armed forces of Pakistan on a daily basis. One would say that there are different organisations but on a tertiary study it is easily understood who is the force behind these attacks. The issue today and since the creation of Pakistan has been the Durand line dividing Afghanistan and Pakistan. A line no Afghan government has ever recognised. Daily attacks in the regions of Balochistan, Frontier etc have left the army losing an average of three soldiers a day, sometimes in embarrassing ambushes recorded and shared with the world to see.

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The institutional base of Pakistan has always been its army whose adventurous projects have brought Pakistan to its current standing. Today we see an army who declares itself to be neutral and away from the chaos after being the prime starter culture for it. The army, as known, is not liked by the politicians but loved by the people as the saviour of the nation. What happens when the saviour seems to be on a weak wicket and even standing behind the wicket to bat. Would the people ask this esteemed organisation to bare account for the money appropriated to it as the halo over the head slowly starts to disappear.

A country and a population who is more interested in getting its daily dose of conspiracy and controversy is a country losing its touch on reality. The world seems to be ignoring the time bomb waiting to explode in Pakistan and trying to handle it by throwing more money into the mix. As a neighbour India needs to be worried about a complete breakdown in Pakistan that would cause a great challenge for us, a growing power in need of stability for it to focus soon on its pathway of development. The rhetoric that Pakistan will crash or breakup sounds great in a dialogue but the actuality would be a far cry from a laugh most in India think it would be.

Author is a Geopolitical Analyst at DEF Talks. You can read more and listen to him on www.thedeftalks.com.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position of the author’s institution or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited.

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