On Pakistan

Pakistan is a country that grew out of nothing, a bit of land that has been continually occupied and conquered through the ages. It only came into existence in August 1947 and since then, forging its own identity and culture has been difficult. Largely, that has been because of ongoing tensions with India. The promised UN solution to Kashmir has yet to occur like so many other promised UN initiatives.

I know this because some years back, I wrote about the country‘s history for Rosen Books. As a result, whenever the country reaches the headlines, I pay attention.

That, and some years back, when Deb worked for The Carter Organization, we were invited to fill out a table at an event honoring Benazir Bhutto, then Prime Minister. She spoke elegantly and while we never met her, it did make me feel more involved with her people.

The country has rarely strayed from the headlines for much of this year. Its instability has increased as President Pervez Musharraf tightened his grip on power while offering words of peace and reconciliation with all.

Yesterday’s assassination of Bhutto will see to it that stability will remain elusive well into 2008. I see Al- Quaeda is now claiming they targeted her as America’s greatest asset in the land. If true, that’s a terrible shame, because the people were denied a different voice than the one currently offered them. And no doubt the only other voice raised against the current administration, Nawaz Sharif, is wisely in hiding.

Musharraf has failed the people of Pakistan because he has spent so much time trying tio keep his job, he has neglected to do his job. Under him, the military has grown so powerful that the specter of coups remains well into the future, well after he’s gone from office. They have yet to find businesses at which they can excel, exporting that expertise to the rest of the world and letting its people prosper.

In the end, we will sit here and watch, and weep, for the turmoil that denies children a bright future and keeps global tensions needlessly ratcheted higher.

2 comments

  • Beautifully said, Bob.

  • Jeffrey S. Frawley

    “Pakistan is a country that grew out of nothing, a bit of land that has been continually occupied and conquered through the ages.”

    Well, actually the present Pakistan encompasses the earliest areas of high civilization in greater India – “nothing,” if you consider Mohenjo Daro and other Harappa Indus Valley Civilization cities at least 4700 years old nothing. This is the heartland of a people who were building major cities when my ancestors (and perhaps yours) were living in wattle huts and hunting small game.

    The fact that there has only been a nation of Pakistan for 60 years does not mean its civilization is that young, nor does it mean there was no population until the flag was designed. Much more than a remote area conquered by ancient empires, much of Pakistan is the foundation and source of those empires.