Lacking strong leadership, Pakistan remains frustrated – Understanding the dilemma of a country – Part1


Kudos to the Prime Minister who placed the problem very succinctly to Pakistan as well as China. Addressing Pakistan , he said

” The first thing is that with Pakistan, to whom do we talk to decide about the Lakshman Rekha. Will it be with the elected government or with other actors? That is why India will have to be on alert all the time. India will have to be alert every moment.”. Similarly for China he said, “We have an ongoing dialogue with China and it should continue to happen. We don’t have one problem with China, we have a whole lot of problems pending with China…”/ ( see in ref.)

I think such diplomatic statements with great depth, could have been issued by only three Prime Ministers. First Shri Atal Bihari Vajpai, second Manmohan Singh and now Narendra Modi.

We shall dwell on China in some other post, in this post we shall consider Pakistan.

The other day, Sartaj Aziz made a quick rebuttal by placing back the ball in India’s court ( After almost similar year of existence as of Independent India from Britishers, Pakistan has failed to justify and define its existence, lacking strong political and cultural leadership that can make it proud.

In an article published in Dawn ( , that every Pakistani citizen must remember by heart, the author Syed Rashid Munir writes, ” Ten years ago, Dr Charles H. Kennedy, renowned expert on Pakistani politics, wrote the essay A User’s Guide to Guided Democracy, in which he sarcastically outlined ten ‘steps’ that could help any new ruler of Pakistan’s to consolidate their rule – common tactics that have been employed by all military dictators in Pakistan.”

In order to understand Pakistan, let us first define what is the identity of any nation. It is clear in the case of Pakistan that by merely defining a nation on the basis of religion and nurturing an enmity with a country ( India) it has failed in defining its national identity.

In November 2009, President Sarkozy launched a nationwide discussion over the meaning of being French. “For you, what does it mean to be French?” he asked the public .

While Brexit may be surprise for many, but Britain, for instance has always stressed on national identity. Starting in 2005, every person asking to settle in the United Kingdom must demonstrate “sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom” by passing the Life in the UK Test

In March 2013, Britain revised its national identity, as reflected in the Life in the UK Test and, for the first time, incorporated British history. To become British, one has to be familiar with Chaucer, Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Isaac Newton, the Beatles, and British soap operas. The applicant has to find their way in a royal maze: John, Henry V, Henry VII, Elizabeth I, Charles I, and Henry VIII, not to mention a long list of Henry VIII’s wives – (and he had six!). The new handbook is like a renaissance of British identity. (

As George Orwell rightly observed, “It is only when you meet someone of a different culture from yourself that you begin to realize what your own beliefs really are”.

Which brings us to analyse the problem that Pakistan is facing and the options before it. Pakistan has not been able to look itself as a separate nation with strong belief. Merely being a nation based on Muslim religion and Islamic culture it has not been sufficient in the case of Pakistan to instill the confidence and national character in its people. It needs something more than that. Yes it has good singers, Sportsperson but more critically it needs strong leaders in the social sector , strong cultural writers, authors and political sphere of life. It is through them that Pakistan will undergo period of renaissance. .

By and large Pakistan’s identity is that of terrorism and Taliban. Ask any elementary school children what is terror, giving him options, it is most likely that he will pick Pakistan. That defines the problem of Pakistan.

If we looks at India we have had so many great leaders from the Puranic period to the present times that we never had to identify our culture and beliefs. All Indians by birth know strongly where their roots lie. We have rich set of scriptures and texts.

In the case of Pakistan its leaders were same as that of India. Even Jinnah was an Indian by birth and has a ‘ Haveli’ in Mumbai . Until Pakistan rises culturally and identifies its leaders, the army and ISI will continue to exploit the situation and the ‘Aawam’ will remain directionless. Therefore instead of criticizing India Sartaj Aziz must explore the possibility of a ‘Renaissance’ period in Pakistan.

Unfortunately, Pakistan army will continue to extract mileage from the confusion of Pakistan’s citizens many of whom have heard just India from birth from its military rulers and Mauliwis who keep chanting and sloganeering ‘India ‘ and Kashmir’ while addressing the people. Even many of its political leaders also keep talking about India . This has not given any thing so far to Pakistan. The Chinese interest in Pakistan is for its own reasons and it will be a blunder on the part of Pakistani people and leadership to give anything more than that to chinese.

Until Pakistan changes its course , that allows local citizens to develop a strong culture based national identity -different from the hordes of Mullah and Maulvi fatwas, or Talibani aggression or Army coups – which can make the citizens proud the chances are there will be always another coup in the making and the political leaders rhetorics against India to keep their thrones intact..

We hope sincerely that Pakistan people who have immense talent will take the path of glory to trace their identities through social and cultural and other constructive activities rather than spending time on India centric issues. We wish them our best wishes for the same.

Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

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