In the novel “The Post-American World” by Fareed Zakaria, he speaks about the danger of the rise of nationalism that will effect global stability. He notes that countries are now becoming increasingly less reliant on the United States, which has held the status of being the international decision maker for much time now. This is especially true in regards to Pakistan, in which the country has began to move away from the United States for help and political allegiance. Pakistan has began to see new political ties with Russia, and has began to take initiative in new economic activities with China. Just like Zakaria mentions, such countries like Pakistan are beginning to become less reliant on the United States for assistance and help, meanwhile creating a possible problem of international legitimacy for a new world decision maker.
Pakistan has a long history tied to nationalism, in which the country was founded based on a nationalist movement which led to the partition of India in 1947. Under British rule prior to the partition, Muslims were not treated well and regarded as second class citizens. This treatment led to a nationalist rise of the Muslims in the country to demand their own nation. The theory that led to the partition of India into two separate nations was called the Two-nation theory, in which the Muslims living in India wanted their own nation, as they believed they were fundamentally different from the Hindu Indians. Muhammed Iqbal, a prominent Muslim poet during the time, laid down the important groundwork and ideas of why a new Muslim country was needed, as a way to protect the interests of the minority 80 million Muslims living in the region. The nationalist movement was one that was out of religion, which often isn’t the case, but rather out of secular nationalism for most countries. Prior to the partition of India, most prominent Indians were against the creation of a new country, with Ghandi stating that he did not see why the religions could not coincide with one another. Muhammed Ali Jinnah was the leader of the movement, and one of the prominent leaders during the time that thought of Pakistan as an awakening for the Muslims.
In more recent times, there has been another large nationalist movement after the attack
in Peshawar, Pakistan which led to countless school children deaths. The attack caused almost all of Pakistan to come together to mourn the terrible loss and try to work to make Pakistan a safer place. Some journalists are even calling the attack Pakistan’s own “9/11” in which Americans came together and vowed to make sure another attack wouldn’t happen and to take action against those that did. In Pakistan, instead of going to war with another nation, they began to go to war within their own country. Military expansions and the set up of military courts were created to stop such attacks and bring terrorists to quick and certain ends. Previously, people in Pakistan were not the most vocal of supporters of their own military, however after the attack, many people vowed to stand with their military to fight against such extreme terrorism.
Today, inequality remains a large issue in Pakistan for the amount of inequality that resides within the country. Such inequality issues relate to upward mobility, education, gender
inequalities, and many more. Specifically for education, 82% of the wealthy attend school, however only 50% of the poorest attend school, and Pakistan has the second highest amount of children not in school. Inequality spans almost all facets of life in Pakistan in which the government hasn’t taken many initiatives to fix.
Even though Tony Judt’s book “Fares the Land” focuses on the US and Britain, his knowledge and ideas can be extended to countries such Pakistan. Tony believes that the economic growth and rise of middle class during the late 19th century was due in part to progressive taxation, government subsidies for the poor, expansion of social services and guarantees against misfortune. Such activities caused the expansion of new wealth for not just the elite but the lower and middle classes, which could help Pakistan with its own inequality problem. Pakistan is terrible in actually collecting taxes, spends little to no money on subsidies for the poor, and overall has done a terrible job at managing its inequality.
However, not all hope is lost for Pakistan, for if it were able to follow some of the recommendations of Judt, the country could very well improve.