Is it Pakistan's War or Not?

Is it our war or not?
The News, October 04, 2008
by Khalid Aziz

Pakistani media is replete with discussion about the war in the tribal areas and the response of the militants in the form of suicide bombings and armed confrontation as in Bajaur, Darra, Hangu and Swat or the Marriott bombing in Islamabad. It is being said that the war Pakistan is fighting is actually America's war and has been thrust on us. Secondly, it is also said that if Pakistan was not advancing US interests there would be peace. This is an absurd type of reasoning based on a partial reading of history. The real cause of instability is the absence of an analysis of the process of identity formation in Pakistani since 1947.

Our problems did not begin in 9/11 or with the invasion of Afghanistan by the US. They began much earlier with the efforts of a religiously driven lobby to undo the original concept of Pakistan which has been under attack since Independence in 1947. The argument that it is not our war is in effect another effort to fix our identity within the radical camp. What type of a nation we will finally turn out to be is the real matter under contest. It has divided Pakistan, pushed us into unrealistic foreign policy options with India and Afghanistan and created fighting militias in our midst. In the process we have made our country dysfunctional. The state is hardly able to provide security, justice, empowerment or human development. That is the reason that it is not winning the battle for the hearts and minds of Pakistanis.

The idea for a separate Muslim state in India was used as a negotiating lever to derive more benefits from both the British Imperial rulers and the Hindu majority. The proof lies in the conduct of the Muslim League. Had the formation of a separate nation been a goal before 1946, the Muslim League would have mobilised and prepared itself for the establishment of a separate nation. No preparations were undertaken. Compare this with the work done in the mobilisation and preparation by the Indian National Congress.

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