Search This Blog

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Revolution in Pakistan? Is It Possible?

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.


  1. I thought your post was interesting however I beg to differ with you on both points of revolution and disintegration. The military wouldn't allow disintegration. Revolution isn't a possibility in Pakistan for several reasons. I will point out two. One the people of Pakistan are relatively free, they can express themselves while not a perfect federal democracy. The democratic system has potential. Two the The country would need a large middle classes of educated people to start a process of evolution to improve the federal democratic system. This may take a while to happen. but the country is still young and has a long way to go. Speaking from the point of view of young educate people they are not as entrenched in the ethnic and cultural divide of the people of partition. No doubt they love their ethnicity but they also love Pakistan and want success for the nation.

    Map corrections suggested:
    NWFP is now Khyber Paktunkhwa

    Gilgit & Skardu and Jammu and Kashmir denote a separate one nation.

  2. As you stated the revolution requires a common goal for unification. Unification can only come when you have a common culture and language. The British who established Pakistan never wanted this state to be successful state. The policy of Pakistan was formed by the British and then they made sure that the power remains in hand of Punjabis and a further complication was introduced by ensuring that policy makers are Shia and Qadiyanies. Ali Bhoto isolated the Qadinais from political power by 1972; however, he could do anything about the Qadinies influence in the ARMY. The forced annexation of Baluchistan increased the problem of Pakistan but the Gold stolen from Baluchistan in truck loads gave Pakistan the ability to trade with rest of the world. Since Pakistan is not a Nation but a subjugation of Nations, hence to run this country you either need a very strong army or national have equal stakes in the formed country. The Pakistan elite opted for a strong army Punjab approach. A strong army requires an uninterrupted supply of money. The budget of the army was secured by creating a bogie man in the form of India. The elite ensured with the help of British that this army only consisted of Punjabis and the civil bureaucracy consisting of Punjabis and Urdu speaking immigrant from India. In a nut nation Pakistan translate as a state of Punjabis and Urdu speaking. The implementation of Urdu as a national language completed the wheel of colonial rule. The sphere of influence over Pakistan shifted from British to American in 1950’s.
    Pakistan maintained control over Baluch, Pathan and Sindhy by giving limited privileges to few key Baluch and Sindhy. Our young mind (speaking as a Baluch) were thrown into confusion by the state, the state divert their attention from fight against colonial rule to a fight against Ideological (Communist, Socialist, Religion, Traditionalist and Modernity) and Class (Sardar, Nawabs, Rich, Poor and destitute). The result of introducing ideological and class struggle were devastating to Baluch people, our best minds became isolated from Baluch at large and only managed to create an enclave of people who ridiculed religion over and political discussion ended over a whisky bottle. The ideology of Marx and Engels in Baluchistan has failed and it can never be successful in Baluchistan, a colonial economic infrastructure can never have a proletariat (Industrial Working Class which is backbone of Capitalists economy). The intellectual acknowledge this fact but believed the proletariat from Punjab will come to their rescue on the basis of solidarity of class struggle. For such a change to occur you need to change the very nature of Punjab culture; which is an impossible task. If only our Baluch, Pathan and Sindhy realise that the Punjabis are not even willing to adhere to principle of Islam as stated in the Holy Quran, which have far deep respect and roots in their culture then socialism would. Question is why the Punjabis will not rise against injustice? The answer is obvious the state of Punjab has been showered with modern industries best education and infrastructure; hence the proletariat of Punjab is quite happy with their armed forces and ruling elite. It is not in their interest to change the status quo and why should they? They have been given everything within the sphere of Pakistan. Yes there are poor and poor farmer in Punjab, so what? The state so far had an upper hand on Baluch movement but today the state grip has lost its grip, today Baluch (not all) have come to their senses and are fighting on nationalist ground. With the passage of time the intensity of killing of Baluch people by Army will increase and it will reach critical mass and those sitting on fence or have connection with Pakistan will NOT be accepted by the Baluch no matter what is their family background.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.