A Make Or Break Policy Shift

A Make Or Break Policy Shift
The “Islamic Republic” is under attack- a widely heard notion from the media and more often from the leaders of the state. What can rightly be termed as malicious governance and policy failure is being celebrated as patriotism over the years by the masses of Pakistan.

While the blame game only gets intense and makes the people of the country nothing but perplexed, it is not a difficult of a task to work out the deliberate malpractices of our leaders that finally led the country to the current state of affairs.

One of such policy, which is widely responsible for our volatile peace situation, is the deliberate engineering of Pakistan as a “security state”. We, the public, remain largely ignorant of the factual history, which tunes well with the certain strata of leadership that profits from this situation and extract their benefits.

The case for Kashmir is the hallmark which the civil and military establishment refer to while briefing about our strain relationships with India. They make sure to ingrain in our brains that only highly equipped military can avoid war and an Indian takeover of Pakistan despite the fact that both the bordering countries are nuclear powers.

Since 1947, both the neighbours have gone for several wars, tried the UN for solutions and failed, and even negotiated, but all in vain. These 75 years of experience over this issue is yet to show the fruits that it gained, but volumes can be written about the losses made in pursuit of its solution.

The question that remains unaddressed is despite such a huge spending on defence and military equipment, what gains did the state make out of it? By and large it is none. Neither a territorial gain in Kashmir nor any hint of strategic success that Pakistan made despite all the wars and failed negotiations.

Sometimes the idea also seems logical that Kashmir issue remains unsolved not because it is such a complicated issue, but because once it gets solved, the relevance of several departments will be undermined to a great extent.

The second thought that goes widely unnoticed is the point of view of India about its neighbour, Pakistan. It is important to understand the question: will India actually benefit from any territorial gains that it gets in case of a war win against Pakistan?

The answer to it is a straight NO, and the reason is quite simple: struggling to extinguish the fire erupted by anti-Muslim activities every now and then, it is highly, and logically, unlikely that India would want to incorporate any of the further region in its west. Hence, the bulk of our budget spent on defence does not comply with the fact that Pakistan can be under a foreign military occupation from its neighbour i.e ‘the very hostile’ India.

While India recently grew to become the world’s fifth largest economy, the fifth most populous state of Pakistan has been trying to avoid a bankruptcy for over a year now. While both have 5s in their rankings, the tales of both the neighbours are ironically different and narrate quite diverging stories. One acing the race of producing the best IT graduates in the world, and the other, appallingly, producing not even good citizens.

This security agenda targeting Indian rivalry has been used by the parliament for decades now to justify many of their measures. For instance, the yearly increase in defence budget at the expense of health and education finds an answer in the myth that Pakistan is under threat from its neighbour. The very same agenda inflicted upon us by the leadership overtime still costs us and haunts us more than any evil.

Just to put stats to the stated facts, India spent nearly 2.2% of their GDP on defence in 2021-22, while Pakistan, the very same year, spent 3.6%, more than one and half times that of India, despite the fact that our education and health system lags way behind our counterpart system in India. The education, which is already highly handicapped in Pakistan, spending in Pakistan hardly reaches 2% of the GDP any year. While our defence budget to GDP ratio rises every next year, the opposite is true for education to GDP ratio- a highly alarming situation.

It is high time for our nation to educate themselves and stress upon the government institutions and their representatives to bring a change in their policies that are of vital significance for any nation vis-a-vis education and health. Albeit, this policy shift is not the only cornerstone that will guarantee our success on the world’s stage, but, at the same time, without this shift it is highly unlikely to change the disastrous course that our country has set on. Friendly relations with our neighbour India, free trade and symbiotic association will not only prosper Pakistan, but the whole region in the context of South Asia.



The author writes for various newspapers on national and international politics. He can be reached at asad.mrwt.37@gmail.com