standoff between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of Imran
Khan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan has served to highlight the “problem
areas” of governance. That Khan is aggressive and near-abusive about his
opposition is known, but he has also come up against the wall of past
trespasses of the Pakistani state.
has two fundamental flaws: The first relates to the instability that hounds
most Muslim states; and, the second, non-centralisation of the state — somewhat
like Afghanistan — that prevents Pakistan from becoming a “normal state”.
us back to the first decade of Pakistan’s independence when it was decided to
retain its “tribal areas” in hopes of “saving” the “culture” of their
inhabitants. (The “tribals” regretfully were then sent into Kashmir as
invaders.) Today, after 72 years of the evolution of the state, almost 60
percent of Pakistan’s area is outside the normal writ of the state. In 2017,
the much-delayed “merger” of the tribal areas of the north into the “frontier”
province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa took place. But problems still remain from the
warlord-driven past and must be resolved through dialogue with such
organisations as Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).
areas of the north — called “agencies” — were open to infiltration because
their borders were open. The state allowed the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda to
plant camps there. The local Taliban joined them and established their own rule
that ultimately clashed with the state sovereignty. The control enjoyed by
these elements was facilitated by a lack of infrastructural development.
areas were “federally” administered but there were some like the valley of Swat
administered by the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. In time, Pakistan lost its
writ in these territories as well to terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Ayman
al-Zawahiri who lived freely there contracting marriages — euphemism for
copulation — with many local wives.
“tribal” province of Balochistan has been restless since 1973 when Pakistan had
to “invade” it to put down “rebellion”. The province was backward in all
respects: There was no police, no normal courts and no law and order in the
province except in Quetta, the capital. In 1990, Balochistan abandoned the
jirga system and had to wait till 2019 to have police on its territory. In June
2019, three districts of Balochistan were converted into ‘A’ areas (with
police) from ‘B’ (without police) areas. Pakistan discovered gas in the
province and wastefully “piped” it to households in the rest of the country
till it was quickly exhausted.
reaction, there was an uprising of the Baloch which was brutally put down till
the judiciary became concerned about its “disappeared” people. Like the tribal
areas, Balochistan’s borders too are open to penetration. Today, it is the
“tribal” western border that is vulnerable, not the “non-tribal” eastern one.
Pakistan needs to dialogue with the Baloch “liberation” organisations that
demand rights but are being hunted down.
region of Sindh province, ruled by the “wadero” aristocracy, is also without a
normal writ of the state needed to uplift the poor masses living without
adequate health and education facilities. Since the “wadero” politicians get
elected to Sindh assembly through their captive votes in the interior and live
in Karachi, the dirt-poor masses are frequently subject to famine-like
conditions. The region of Thar in Sindh has its children dying of starvation
simply because it is inhabited by almost half of the Hindu population of
Headline: People living in Pakistan’s erstwhile ‘tribal areas’ must be heard
Source: The Indian Express