The Survival of Pakistan
Mentor:Joyce Kaufman, Professor and Director of the Center of Engagement with Communities, Whittier College
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is in a state of political, economic, and social tension that threatens its continuity in addition to the stability of South Asia. Internally, the country is beset by corruption, ethno-sectarian conflict, and environmental degradation. At its porous western borders, insurgents transport billions of dollars worth in arms and opiates, fueling insurrection and financial discord across South Asia. To the East, its longstanding enemy, India, boasts an economy and military that dwarfs those of Pakistan, placing grave limitations on the country’s place within the region. In “The Survival of Pakistan,” I examine the challenges to Pakistan at the international, governmental and cultural levels of analysis through a realist theoretical lens.
At its core, the struggles of Pakistan are the consequences of its immense domestic diversity. The country is divided between the administrative units of Punkab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). In each unit, a different sect of Islam is practiced and a different language is spoken, making it difficult to maintain national unity and garner consensus for collective initiatives. As a result of these cultural discrepancies, the country has not managed to establish and enforce a single code of law since it was founded over six decades ago. The weakness and impermanence of Pakistan’s judiciary system has in turn produced a weak and unreliable democratic government, which has given way to dictatorship four times. In turn, the government has performed poorly in the international theater, leading the country into four disastrous wars with India and uncommitted conflict with the Afghan Taliban. Seeing as how the country’s problems essentially derive from cultural differences, I propose the implementation of social reforms to create a more unified people, and with it, a more effective government.