One hears about a call for revolution in Pakistan every now and then. Recent uprising in the Middle East and Northern Africa has given an impetus to such sentiments in Pakistan. But is a revolution really possible in a country like Pakistan, which is home to divergent and dissimilar cultures and where people are constantly at loggerheads on different issues?
The question can also be appropriately answered if one knows ‘what’ kind of revolution its proponents want.
It is not easy to call for and build a consensus for a revolution in the countries which are not ‘nation states’ or homogeneous. One should be realistic and very clear on this subject. For all practical purposes, Pakistan is a multi-national country. It is home to different people who have distinct cultures with their own languages and history. Their interests are in conflict with each other and they even have their own heroes. Heroes of some are villains for others. How can such a divergent country stand united to fight for a revolution?
Pakistan received a major setback when at the initial stages, the indigenous people and their languages & cultures were completely ignored and outside culture and language were imposed on the country. Resentment to such move was natural. The undemocratic moves to overthrow provincial governments in the initial days in East Bengal, NWFP (now PK), Sindh and Punjab at the whim of the Central government & forcible annexation of Balochistan were harbingers of what was in store for Pakistan.
Many people are of the view that the first blow to the foundation of the country came when the founder of the country decided against giving Bangla Bhasha the status of a national language of the country. Soon after that, students in Dhaka were fired upon resulting in several casualties when they congregated to demand the natural right for their language. That set in motion a process that ended in 1971 in the dismemberment of the country.
Similar policies have been pursued in the present day Pakistan denying the provinces their due rights. Wrong policies of the past 63 years, continued oppression of the people from the smaller provinces, especially Sindh & Balochistan, usurpation of the provincial resources and frequent military dictatorships have harmed the country beyond repair. Whatever problems the country is facing today are direct result of such policies.
Now the situation is coming to a head. The country is completely divided. It has become impossible to unite the whole country on a single agenda. In such a situation it seems highly impractical that people will unite on a call for a revolution. There is complete lack of trust between different stakeholders.
On the contrary, it is highly likely that if the longstanding ‘national question’ is not solved to the satisfaction of the constituents and the provinces are not accorded the rights as promised in the famous 1940 Lahore Resolution which came to be called ‘Pakistan Resolution’, then there is a real time possibility that the country may soon face disintegration.