By Uzge A. Saleem
How many times have we heard something negative about our state coming from the western and from our beloved neighbor next door who doesn’t leave any stone unturned in portraying Pakistan as a state full of internal problems namely poverty, terrorism and corruption. It is surprising how the same problems prevalent in India are just conveniently overlooked by it. However, the point here is that there seems to be an international campaign going on currently with the sole aim of portraying Pakistan as a failing or a failed state. The general image of Pakistan is that of a small state which is economically dependent on the western powers and a state that allows terrorism to nurture in its backyard and that we do not let anyone in because we have sealed the doors to our internal affairs with our nuclear program. As much as the adversary would like to sell this image, any sane human being out there with a little knowledge of Pakistan’s struggles would disagree. Let’s take an objective look at how things are and how they have been for Pakistan in the past.
Ever since the independence India has tried its best to see Pakistan collapse, so Pakistan gets an adversary right from the very beginning. Pakistan is a state that faces an intrinsic challenge of a limited strategic depth. Although this same factor can be exploited in one’s own favor, it nonetheless comes with its own challenges. Owing to the decision taken by the previous leaders of Pakistan, the strategic depth was put to test time and again. Not only were there occasional agitations from India in the east but a troubled Afghan border offer another set of challenge in the west. No wonder the army and state resources have been spread out on these two border for decades now. This is an issue most states would not be able to cope with but Pakistan has been managing through it with success and pride. Moving on, Pakistan has been fighting other state’s wars on its soil which has caused additional and long lasting troubles of most disastrous nature. The war on terror has been most tiring for Pakistan because not has it consumed the state’s strategic and conventional resources but the menace of terrorism has infiltrated into the fabric of society as the biggest challenge ever to grapple with. The families have been torn to pieces as a result of terrorist activities, as a reward for the decision to fight the war on terror. Yet the western and the Indian media has the audacity to allege that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism. They might be forgetting that it is Pakistan which is and has been facing the direct brunt of terrorism for a long time now. However, despite all the bloodshed and loss, Pakistan still manages to survive and stands tall in the face of all these challenges.
Perhaps a factor about Pakistan that the rest of the world can just not seem to come to terms with is its nuclear program. Through a carefully orchestrated propaganda it has been popularized that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are vulnerable to security and safety glitches, specifically the terrorists’ attack, and that because Pakistan is an “unstable” state so these weapons are not in the best of hands and will most probably be used in a negative way. Can the world please wake up and see that Pakistan does not want war? Pakistan wants an end to the war that it has been dragged into years ago. Pakistan’s nuclear program is an asset that protects it from the evils next door which is why Pakistan would never compromise on the safety and security of its nuclear program.
Pakistan has been pushed back diplomatically because at this point in time, Pakistan it doesn’t serve the great power interests. Constant efforts are being made to completely isolate Pakistan as is evident from the recent attempt at putting Pakistan on the FATF grey list. This is not the first time that such an effort was made, even before Pakistan was faced with such a situation but come out of it successfully. So far every move made to push Pakistan back has made Pakistan stronger than ever so why call it a failed state? How can it be termed as a failed state when it is fighting continuous wars against terrorism on multiple different platforms, it is managing the largest amount of refugees for years now, it is making efforts to stabilize the region and that too doing this all amidst constant skepticism? Pakistan is a state of fighters and it is a country of hope. It is not a failed state, it is a state that has the ability to rise which it eventually will.
Uzge A. Saleem is a Researcher at Strategic Vision Institute