Pakistan: Natural state, welfare state or failed state?

By T.H Shah

 Very recently, the statements from those at the roost of the affairs depict extreme kind of lukewarm attitude towards the individuals of the state. As per statement of Mr. Zardari, being a head of the state it is not his responsibility to deal with the issues like energy and sugar crisis in the country. On back support, Federal Minister of Trade Mr. Makhdoom Ameen Faheem took the leaf from his book and, instead of taking necessary action on the sugar crisis, starts admonishing the people to use less sugar. Following the same course of action, the head of the Executive Mr. Gillani warned the nation in advance to be ready in future for facing the crisis of gas after energy.

 Within the pretext of these statements aired respectively, the true role and objective of the state seems catapulting into the mist. Under severe economic crisis the state of Pakistan is plagued with, the individuals are from pillar to post while on the other hands the insensitive ones in the corridors of powers are engaged in furthering their interests and attempts being made for keeping the rule of one family as been the case centuries ago in Greece under oligarchial rule. Nothing is being done to change the lives below the poverty lines whereas the middle class is vanishing from the society at the hands of the policies of ruling elites; and even some well-off families find hard to meet both ends. The men with sagacity remark, whither state?


State is an end and individual is means to this end or state is means and individual is end in itself. In former case individual is exploited, deprived and subjected to all form of inhumane treatment to ensure his allegiance to the state; the case before us is of Bolshevik Regime in former USSR where individuals was the main target to pursue the means of the state which implied the interests, benefits, welfare, and development of the ruling elite. In later case, it is not the state but the welfare of the individual assuming the centrality of all state policies. Granting the right of private property by the Communist Party of China authenticates this political phenomenon.  A lot of political shifts have occurred and now state is no more an end in itself. Thanks to democracy, the individual is the major focus of the state and all its activities must be geared towards the welfare and development of the individuals.


Unfortunately, in Pakistan, since its very inception, the individual has never been the focal point of state policies. Behind the framing and abrogation of various constitutions and crumbling down of civil governments and emergence of military regimes, only the interest of the ruling elite prevailed putting the common people in limbo. The worst thing is the maintenance of the status quo by those considered to be equipped with Western style education. Most of the rulers whether military or civil came with background of western education, but ironically, no one of them tried to fine-tune the system in lines with western administrative set-up so as to make it prompt responsive to the public needs.


It is pity on the minds of the people that they are and have been vulnerable to the demagogues, emotional speeches of charismatic leaders, and never thought out of subjective way. Slogans like Bhutto zinda hey, roti kepra aur makan (PPP), been no deal with the military establishment (PML (N)), exploiting the people on the name of religion by religious political parties have no relevance to the prevailing political and economic circumstances in the country. MMA ruled five years in NWFP, what type of Islam people got under its so-called Islamic rule? Nothing happened except shallow slogans, lip service and loud trumpets. In so-called Islamic state of Pakistan, women are being murdered in the name of honour killings, innocent women and children are being killed in suicidal bombs attacks; in the province of Sindh; women are married to the Holy Quran which is open insult to the teaching of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). No Imam (Minister of Religion) raises voice against this unscarred custom while the homes and temples of minorities are burnt under the cover of blasphemy laws. Is the marriage of girls with the Holy Quran not blasphemy act in itself? Such type of situation is maintained and being patronised by those men of standing (Rulers) whose own sons and daughters are studying in the most expensive European educational institutions. Those clamouring for the establishment of Khilafat-e-Rashida (Political system established under Caliphate) forget of the piles of their own wealth and big chunks of land. In repository of religious political parties, religion is a precious gimmick enough to play with the people emotions and to keep their own interests protected.


In natural state, before the state assumed well organised political entity, the life was brutish, nasty and hard; because there prevailed the interest of the stronger, self-preservation of a particular tribe instead of collective preservation, to put it briefly, might was right. In current political scenario in Pakistan, the life of people is going from bad to worst, human security is entirely absent, hooligans hold the rein of political power who openly flout the rule of law, post graduates wandering for seeking jobs but in vain, and rich is becoming rich, poor becoming more poor. Of course it is the natural state where the life of the people at large is not less than a continuous anguish.


To my estimation, the test of successful state is human development index (HDI) which calculate the average development of a country; and protection of the human rights. From this perspective, as per HD Report of 2008 by UNDP, it stands at rank of 139th out of 197 countries of the world lagged behind even of Bhutan, Congo, Namibia, and Gabon. In addition, where gone the billions of foreign reserves from the national economy when General Musharraff ousted from presidency? Not it is strange to see the state army fighting against it own people? The incumbent government, instead of boosting inland economic resources, enmeshed the country in foreign loans.


Keeping in view all these factors, any one with a bit common sense can decide what type of state Pakistan is, natural, welfare or failed?

(The Writer is associated with Press For Peace (PFP) as Director Research. He could be contacted at:  )

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