Futuristic View of Pakistan an Overview By: Nazneen Sarwar
Futuristic View of Pakistan an Overview
Base on a literature review of domestic/national (Pakistani) newspapers, journals and magazines and as well as discussions with Pakistani scholars and interviews with members of the common masses, we build up and assess five affirm pictures or scenarios of the prospect for Pakistan. This can concludes with suggestions and scheme for designing alternative futures for Pakistan.
Before we articulate:
Before we articulate these images of the future, let us first examine the “futures approach” to the study of social reality. A future view focuses primarily on temporality. Where are we going? What are the possibilities ahead? What strategies can we use to realize our objectives? How can the picture of the future help us healthier understand and change today? Who are the winners and losers in any particular articulation of time? The futures perspective is firstly similar to traditional political analysis in that it begins with an exploration of economic, international and social events and the choices made by actors that make these events possible. However, the futures view also attempts to place events and choices within an historical dimension, which is the better and deeper structures that make these discrete events intelligible, such as urban-rural, core-periphery, gender, caste, and macro patterns of social change. Also important in the futures view is the post-structural dimension; the larger meaning system or the epistemological ground plan of the real as embedded in language that constitutes events and structures .Unfortunately, most efforts to understand the future stay in the analytical mode. It is frequently asked, what and when will a particular event happen and how can we profit or increase our power from a exact calculation? Economists and strategic analysts allege to excel at this task. Our efforts here–sensitive to the richness of reality and the need to decolonize the study of the future from narrow models of reality–is to explore images or scenarios of the future. Our duty is not to predict and thereby make this essay political fodder for technocrats but to use the future to create real possibilities for change. We thus do not intend to give a familiar reading of Pakistan’s future, as might be available in a five year plan, rather we enter into a discussion of alternative futures, of the many choices ahead as contoured by the structure of history and the modern boundaries of knowledge that frame our identity. In the images or scenarios that follow it should be remembered that these images are meant as tools for discussion and dialog; they are intended to clarify the futures ahead not to reify social reality. Our goal is insight not prediction. As an initial caveat, an important failing of this essay is that the textual sources and conversations were entirely in English–one might get different images with local Pakistani languages.
Disciplined Capitalistic Society
The first image of Pakistan’s future has many anchors, the most version recent uses S. Korea as a compelling image of the future. Both countries were underdeveloped thirty years ago but now S. Korea has joined the ranks of the developed, it is become an integral part of the “Pacific Shift.” Through state managed industrialization with strong private spin-offs (and the economic activity caused by the Vietnam war) Korea has dramatically rais edits standard of living. Along with a strong Confucian ethic Korea was a strong national ethic. However, given Pakistan’s social structure perhaps North Korea is a better example of Pakistan’s possible future as both have strong militaries. However, while North Korea has a strong totalitarian ideology, Pakistan does not. Islam is in many ways a legal/social doctrine and in that sense that it defies any particular authoritative interpretation rather it is up for grabs by a verity of ideologies.
Theoretic Military State:
While a theoretic military state is possible so far this mixture has not occurred nor has a one-man state managed to succeed. The best way of stating this model f the future is the “disciplined capitalistic society.” The military rules directly or indirectly under the guise of “law and order. ” Not only is civil society disciplined but so is labor. Labor exists to aid capital in its national and transnational accumulation. The Islam that is used is one that aids in societal discipline at the individual and social level. The head of the nation is then the strict father who knows what is best for the children. The mother is in this image is apolitical, remaining at home to take care of the nation’s children so they can work for the larger good of capitalist development .However there is an important contradiction here. Among the reasons of the rise of East Asia was women labor. Females are thus essential for export oriented strategies that lead to capital accumulation, at the same time the Islamic dimension of this model demands their continued “humanization.” They are to provide care to labor. This is these mi-proletarian existence which in the long run cheapens the cost of labor for capital since the informal sector helps support the formal “monied” capitalistic sector. Females are integral to this semi-proletarian structure. The other obvious contradiction is the role of the military. Besides the role of women, Confucianism, the historical particular juncture in the world economy, East Asia developed because of low military expenditures and high social expenditures. Is Pakistan ready to put health and education before military expansion, that is, to redefine security? We have yet to see. In the meantime, the hope is that through discipline and privatization Pakistan can join the ranks of the rich.
This image is partially influenced by interpretations of Islam that give weight to the syncretism personal dimension of Islam; that is, an Islam that does not the become the facilitator of the mullah’s rise–not rote discipline but revelation. The rendering of Islam is populist as for example in the view that the land is perceived as belonging to the tillers not the landlords. This image is also partially influenced by the third world movement which as attempted to follow an alternative development path not based on multinational Western capitalism or on soviet party/military run communism. This view was made famous by Z.A .Bhutto in Pakistan. But let us be clear: this view is still industrial and growth oriented like the previous model, however, it has a strong emphasis on “Roti, Capra, Makan,” on basic violated; the idea that a nation can exist given this level of cultural penetration is highly problematic. For instance, just as there is a world division of labor there is award division of culture and news with some supplying modern culture others providing exotic or traditional culture.
We provide the data for their theories of the traditional. The responses to this form of penetration are obvious, fundamentalism in its strongest forms–a return to the historic text, a denial of physical and mental mobility, and a critique of all things foreign even those which increase the freedom and life chances of individual and family. This is the famous call by the ruling elite for a local form of “democracy” in which basic “universal “freedoms are denied so as to save traditional local culture. Liberals, thus, argue that the defense of cultural sovereignty of the nation is but the denial of the sovereignty of the individual and the reaffirmation of the power of the State. In the name of tradition, all sorts of injustices can be committed and rationalized. Other responses to Western penetration could be further Islamic penetration, for example, by Iran. This could lead to a Pakistan-Iran partnership with an increased Shia influence in Pakistan. It would increase the power of Ulema in that they would have the power to define and narrate legitimate cultural and political activities. Conversely the end of sovereignty could become a positive image in that Pakistan could be forced to become an international blend of many cultures and technologies, a place where the future resides, a place where sovereignty finds itself renewed at a higher planter yore spiritual or cultural levels not at a myopic national or local level. This is then a reaffirmation of the idea of the Ummah but extended to the entire world in the form of a global community. Pakistan could then become a compelling image for other places to emulate. A receiver and sender of social technology and a creator of postmodern culture. But this direction would take a great deal of daring and courage as there are no models to follow only vague possibilities to explore.
As problematic as cultural sovereignty is the loss of the sovereignty of the self. This lf
Was previously constructed around familiar lines heaven was above hell bellow, and God all around One knew what one was to do with one’s life: class and caste were clear. But with the world continuously being recreated by the science and technology revolution and with the problem of West continuously staring at the Pakistani “self,” there no long exists any clear cut self. Am I Sindhi first? A woman first? A Pakistani first? A wife first? A Muslim first? A feudal first? Where do my loyalties lie? Can I integrate those often contradictory fragments of identity? And where do these categories stand in the larger scheme of things? Moreover, the problem of the self can but become increasingly problematic with the feminist movement, increased exposure to the outside world through travel and the development of an overseas Pakistani community. Instead of one mutually agreed upon authoritative construction of self we may see many Pakistani selves all vying for individual and national dominance. The next layer of sovereignty that is made problematic is internal territorial sovereignty, that is, the provinces increasingly wanting more autonomy and in some cases recession. The calls for an independent Sind his the latest case in point. The image of this future is of all the provinces going their separate ways with Pakistan finally only being Punjab. The north-west might join with Afghanistan or the Phaktoons might form their own country. In addition, Baluchistan might join Iran, become its own nation, or join a loose confederation with Sindh. And in this image, Azad Kashmir would either join Punjab or unite with the rest of Kashmir to form its own nation. While this might lead to conquest by India most likely the same forces that would lead to end of national integration in Pakistan would also lead to the disintegration of India, from one India to many India’s. Also possible after a period of disintegration is reintegration into a united states of south Asia with Punjab as the most likely center of this loose regional federation.
No Change: the Continuation of the Grand Disillusionment:
loose regional the last and we would argue most pervasive image of the future is that of the present continued or “no change.” This is a general malaise, a grand disillusionment with the ideal of Pakistan, with the promises of the rulers, with the intentions of politicians. In t his view, the power structure–so obviously
unjust appears unchangeable to individuals and group. Given this malaise, there are then a range of strategies available.
Individual Spiritual Development:
The first is individual spiritual development, an escape from the social and material worlds. The second is to flee the country to brighter horizons outside: “Dubai Chalo” or the fabled green card. The poor and middle class go to the Middle East and the rich and the upper middle class leave for the United States. Within the country the strategy is to find a job and then use one’s personal influence to help others find work thus allowing the family as a Whole to move up the economic ladder. Of course this is more difficult in times of construction. During economic expansion, movement is easier. Another tactic is politicization in the form of joining political parties for the purpose of social transformation. However, this strategy is often quickly abandoned once the enormous weight of the historical structure at hand are made obvious.
Politics as Social Transformation:
This regression from politics as social transformation to politics as patronage has a devastating influence on the national psyche. Individuals are forced into corruption and dishonesty (within their definitions of these two terms) and must live with their own moral failures in a land where morality is central to personal and social valuation. Violence–individual, institutional and state–becomes routine and acceptable. Cities disaggregate; the rich secure themselves and the rest either form separate communities or create their own armies. What emerges is cynicism and pessimism, a breakdown in the immune system of the political and social body–a world ending with a whimper not a bang. For those in the position of leadership or responsibility the contradictions are even stronger and inasmuch as the local, national and international structures are too difficult to transform others are blamed the foreign elements, the undisciplined youth, to name a few enemies. The oppression of the present bares down on leader and follower alike; both lose their humanity, both lose hope in any collective image of the future. Worse, there is no savior ahead: all models have failed; leaders have failed, religion has failed; capitalism has failed; socialism has failed; political parties have failed.
Conclusion: Designing the Future
The need for re-imagination of purpose, of identity, of vision from this dismal final vision is glaring. Part of re-visioning is creating alternative structures. Among the points of departure for these new structures should be the centrality of difference. Pakistan has placed its strength on unity; a unity that has proved elusive. Perhaps we need to create institutions and models of change that use difference to create strength, that celebrate our uniqueness among each other and in the world. From an embracing of difference, a unity of self, family and a larger group identity then might be possible. As important as difference is decentralization.
The creation of local solve local problems:
The creation of local solve local problems, that is endogenous development. Finally, we should not forget democracy, not in the trivial sense of voting–which has historically but strengthened statist politics–but in the more important sense of individual empowerment and community participation in the creation of preferred futures as contextualized by the social designs of others. In any case, designing the future at local and community and broader levels (through local and international social movements, for example) might be a more promising task than waiting for a politician or some other central authority to solve the problems ahead. Imagination does not mean, however, a forgetting of the material world and the real interests–structural, institutional and individual–that impede attempts to transform the present. The future must then be a sight that one moves toward as well as a site wherein the material and the creative meet. The future–like politics, economics and culture–must be decolonized and re-appropriated by each one of us. Today. While the above represents an initial exploration of Pakistan’s images of the future, dimensions within these images have yet to be explored: the role of the environment, structural and direct violence, the role of children, images of health, the possibilities of growth and distribution, and the relative powers of various factors, such as nation-states, political parties and social movements. To conclude, one might ask: what is my image of the future for myself? for my family? for my community ? for my nation? For the planet? And what am I doing to realize my personal and social image of the future?