Weird convictions

Just read the cover article of the latest Economist - the one that talks about the world's most dangerous place - Pakistan - and I wondered what the columnist was smoking - or whether he had recycled an article circa 1950.

First of all, he starts by saying that Pakistan has always been a country of tolerance and acceptance. Really? Why don't they try asking the Hindus and Sikhs who remained there at Partition time how they feel about this statement - or even the Muslims who migrated from India at Partition time and who are still called Mohajirs -refugees?

Second, he says that they had never expected Pakistan to become Islamicised the way the Taliban had done to Afghanistan. Have they perhaps not heard of a certain America-supported Zia Ul Haq who reintroduced the sharia as the pre-eminent rule of law in the country?

Then they sound all surprised about the schisms - the religious and regional conflicts, the fact that Baluchistan is pretty much out of control of the government etc - and lament the fact that the army can't help. Are they unaware that traditionally in Pakistan, the army has always operated as a quasi-governmental body which is a law unto itself? Musharraf has now lost control of the army, the same way that Nawaz Sharif had lost control over Musharraf around Kargil time and so it goes. The NWFP has always been a law unto itself with a feudal culture of 'warlords' much like those operating in Afghanistan. The religious schisms between the Shias and Sunnis has always simmered barely beneath the surface, as have the regional rivalries.

It's all very well to have a point of view as a publication, but to ignore blatant facts which have been staring one in the face is like the reaction of a schoolboy who says 'don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up'. I honestly have no feeling one way or another towards Pakistan, apart from the fact that it is a bad neighbour. I have several good friends and a few relatives-through-marriage from Pakistan, and they'd be among the first to agree that the above facts are true and to lament those facts. Pakistan's politicians have systematically followed a policy of diversionary tactics - Kashmir, fomenting war with India etc - in the hope that the populace forgets the misery and troubles at home. Even for a partisan journal like the Economist, to wear blinders and refuse to see facts which don't fit with their worldview is precisely the kind of muddled 'thinking', if one can call it that, which leads to historic blunders like the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions. Proof that history is a story written by the winning side.


Anonymous said…
yeah, i was surprised to see that in The Economist - objectivity is one thing but this is blatant disregard of documented history that we(the subcontinent) are still living through. Good post. first time here btw.

- dipti
bird's eye view said…
Thanks Dipti. The article really shocked me by its many mistakes and benign cover-ups!

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