As Pakistan’s economy slides into distressed levels, the question uppermost on the minds of everybody is whether Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will like Mikhail Gorbachev be destined to preside over the disintegration of the country.
Gorbachev presided over the dissolution of the Soviet Union which had existed for nearly 70 years and had stretched across huge swathes of Asia and Eastern Europe. In its 75th year of Independence, Pakistan is on another round of dismemberment.
In 1971, when Pakistan was celebrating its 24th year of Independence, the State of East Pakistan got truncated to emerge as a new nation called Bangladesh, with the active support of India. 52 years thereafter, Pakistan is in the quagmire of dissolution. Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab are likely to emerge as new countries and the amalgamation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) with India, appears a distinct possibility. How has the situation come to such a critical level?
The year 2022 saw Pakistan in deep political turmoil, economic crisis, and unprecedented catastrophic flooding. On the economic front, the country is struggling, dealing with backbreaking inflation, a depreciating currency, and dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
Skyrocketing inflation is at its highest levels in decades, growth is insipid and flagging and the central bank has raised interest rates sharply to address a weak currency. Food and fuel prices are surging to astronomical levels, and worsening the situation is the devastation wrought by the floods.
This multidimensional impasse is entirely a made-in-Pakistan crisis. Ever since its Independence in the year 1947, successive governments and military administrators had only a single-point agenda of wresting control of Kashmir.
To this end, their vision and mission were fixated only on Kashmir and the entire process of causing disruption in Kashmir was outsourced to multiple ragtag fundamentalist terror organizations. The South Asia Terrorism Portal identifies an incredible 162 terror organizations, both active and inactive, that are existing in Pakistan. Verily the nation is a hub of terror organizations.
For a poor country like Pakistan, it is simply impossible to fund and support, such parasitic organizations, that have no agenda, except to create violence, mayhem, and indiscriminate killings of innocents.
The only avenue available for a steady supply of illicit funds is trafficking in narcotics on a large scale. Pakistani leaders whose bete noire is India, and the only single point agenda is wrenching away Kashmir from India, readily acquiesced and connived, in converting Pakistan into a Silicon Valley of narco-terrorists.
In July 2019, then Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, on an official visit to the United States, acknowledged the presence of some 30,000–40,000 armed terrorists operating on Pakistani soil. He further stated that his predecessors were suppressing this fact, particularly from the United States.
The United States publication ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism’ (February 2016) describes Pakistan as a “terrorist safe haven” where individual terrorists and terrorist groups are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit, and operate in relative security.
The country became a terror educational hub for nationalities as diverse as Chechens, Afghanis, and Iranians. Pakistan is home to approximately 6,000 religious seminaries that churn out as many as 500,000 fanatics, among them Pakistani, Arabs, Central Asians, and even those from North Caucasus and the Far East.
According to Pakistan sources, as many as 1500 of such schools preach hard jihad and also give military training to the students. When active patronage for narco-terrorism becomes a national policy, the inevitable happens – politicians, military officials, judicial officers, bureaucrats, industrialists, journalists, and influential individuals, get compromised. In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2022, published on January 31st, 2023, Pakistan ranked 140 out of 180 countries.
Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Shahbaz Sharif in his message on the launching of the National Drug Use Survey Pakistan 2022-24 has pointed out that “Drug abuse has emerged as an issue potentially endangering human society in terms of health hazards, crimes, money laundering, economic challenges in the form of underground economies, sponsorship of militancy and terrorism, etc. It becomes even more challenging and threatening when dynamics of drug abuse and varieties of drugs are fast changing and spreading without any boundaries, which is leading to an exponential rise in drug abuse across the globe in general and Pakistan in specific”.
Pakistan is today in the doldrums only because of its endemic corruption, which is due to its close collaboration with narco-terrorists, which is for its obstinate dream of dismembering Kashmir from India.
The only way to extricate itself from the economic mess that Pakistan is sinking into and consequently breaking apart is to get rid of its obsession with Kashmir. That is why in January 2023, both, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates advised Islamabad to forget Kashmir and make friends with India. This is the only panacea.
Article by Dr. G. Shreekumar Menon IRS (Rtd), Ph.D. (Narcotics), Former Director General, National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes & Narcotics
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are of the author, and are not associated with DNA English.