There are a number of centrifugal forces acting on Pakistan, and from all accounts, the pulls and tugs are intensifying. These forces are mainly political, historical, ethnic and tribal, and they are gradually cutting through the fabric of the country’s statehood.
Ethnic and sectarian violence is not new to the port city of Karachi. Over the last week, more than 100 people have been killed in various incidents of indiscriminate firing by unknown assassins, and in pitched gun battles between unidentified rivals. Since the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) came to power, these bouts of violence in Karachi recur when the PPP led coalition government, in Islamabad, finds itself in trouble. This article examines the various causes of unrest in Karachi, Pakistan.
Pakistan is a state whose composition is made up of different nations (i.e., mainly Pathan, Sindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri and Baluchi). Many experts believe that Islamic ideology, as the country’s foundation, has acted as the binding force in keeping the nation together. For most of its history, various leaders have augmented this unifying factor. However, present political realities require a transformation from a jihadist interpretation to a more tolerant form of Islam.
As the country engages in this tumultuous task under global pressure, the social and economic upheaval has been exacerbated and appears to be settling along ethnic and tribal divides.
Pakistan’s political and intellectual elite seem incapable of grasping and handling the global and regional political realities with which they are confronted. The Persian, Arab, Turkish, Hindu and Western civilization-based influences are pulling the country in different directions, similar to what has happened and is happening in Afghanistan presently. As pointed out in PoliTact’s Entropy Alert of June 2, 2009, A Bombing in an Iranian Mosque, all neighbors of Pakistan, with the sole exception of China, have now publicly claimed that Pakistan-based extremist groups are involved in destabilizing their countries. Pakistan has become a conduit which funnels many foreign interests, but, meanwhile, is unable to protect its own.
It is during times of such global flux and crises that charismatic and strong leadership is needed the most, to unite and steer a nation in the right direction. Perhaps now Pakistanis recognize the dearth of leadership in the country and mourn the far-flung consequences of the well-planned assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.
Due to these circumstances, there is increased talk of mid-term elections in Pakistan. The internal distractions and institutional tussles are increasing, as are external threats and pressures.
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