Islamabad: Bordering India, Afghanistan, Iran, and China – Pakistan is comprised of four provinces – Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan.
Pakistan also has a federal territory, the Islamabad Capital Territory, and two occupied regions – Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan, both parts of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which had become part of India in 1947 and are now illegally occupied by Pakistan.
All these provinces and territories of Pakistan have diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities. Unfortunately, Pakistan has failed to keep them united.
The Punjabis, who are arguably the most prosperous of Pakistan’s ethnic groups, hold all major posts within the government, the army, and the judiciary. They have been lucky to avoid many of the crises plaguing the rest of the country. These crises, which continue to persist, have fuelled sectarian and separatist violence.
Pakistanis have largely lost faith in the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, having failed to carry out any of the much-needed economic reforms in the country.
Naveed Baseer, an Expert on Pakistan says, “People are not happy with the Pakistan government or Pakistan system or whatever the army is doing, whatever the judiciary is doing. They are totally not happy and they are looking for such movements that can come up and lead them.”
The Baloch are living as a minority on their own land and continue to face persecution at the hands of the Pakistan Army and spy agency, the ISI.
With Pakistan’s financial crisis owing to rising debt and dwindling foreign exchange, the Baloch’s situation has become even direr.
The separatist movement in Balochistan has intensified and opposition against Pakistan and its ally, China, has risen.
Today, several pro-independence organizations like Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), World Sindhi Congress, and Jeay Sindh Freedom Movement have gained a wider support base within Sindh and international platforms.
The Sindhis, who can trace their roots to the ancient Indus Valley civilization, have realized that by remaining integrated with Pakistan, their future will be uncertain and under threat and thus voices for a separate state have gathered steam.
Facing discrimination, extreme poverty, and loss of their Sindhi culture and language, the people in this part of Pakistan are determined to fight for their right to freedom.
“The historical nations particularly Sindhis, Balochs, and Pashtuns are thinking that the only way is the emancipation of these historical nations,” says Lakhu Luhana, leader of the World Sindhi Congress.
The Pashtuns, like the rest of disenchanted Pakistan citizens, have lost faith in the government, in particular with the ever-worsening economic situation.
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan, which have been under Pakistan’s forceful occupation since 1947, are also experiencing mass resistance to the Pakistani government. Cripplingly high inflation, food and medicine shortages, unemployment, and increasing distrust in the government are the key drivers behind the recent massive anti-Pakistan protests.
Pakistan has long exploited PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan for their resources and has used the territories as breeding grounds for terrorism and has exploited their natural resources. This region is also used as a launchpad to push terrorists into India.
Amid the continuing turmoil on both the political and economic fronts and the Army choosing to remain neutral in the face of social divisions and protests, Pakistan could be on the brink of disintegration into separate parts.
While Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, during a visit to Jammu and Kashmir on October 27 said Pakistan will soon face rebellion, former Pakistan PM Imran Khan has been on record stating that Pakistan could be Balkanised into many States and deprived of the nuclear assets in the wake of the all-round failure of the present Government.
Notwithstanding the political turmoil, Pak Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa is staying in Washington for the last fortnight to lobby for taking over as the political executive of Pakistan as Pervez Musharraf did in the past. Bajwa was supposed to fly back at 2 PM IST but his return was cancelled, top sources privy to the developments said.
Bajwa has been on record saying that the Army will stay apolitical (read neutral) in the face of ongoing unrest in that country and the US authorities are said to have reminded him to stick to his promise on this count. In further indications trickling in from Pakistan, the separatist leaders from Sindh and Balochistan have shifted their bases to third countries due to the ongoing political and economic uncertainty back home.
Meanwhile, even as Bajwa is away in the United States (US), the Pakistan Army circles are abuzz with the theory that the current Army chief revealed the location of Al Qaeda top boss Al Zawahiri leading to his targeted killing in Kabul by the US precision missile strike.
Highly placed sources said the US has also ramped up consultations with the countries in the region to fine-tune its strategy of containing chaos in a nuclear-armed country as also safeguard the region from the possibility of nukes getting into the hands of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Tayabba and Jaishe-e-Mohammad among others.
Just ahead of the midterm polls back home on Tuesday, the US has also begun hectic consultations with India at the highest level, the sources said.
The sources further said India is keen to take control of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and back the US’ bid to grant independence to Balochistan and hold a referendum in Sindh.
On its part, China has expressed that it will take a stand on the possible new developments in Pakistan in consultation with the regional neighbours once such an eventuality arises.
While the Pakistan Army alone is capable to wrest the country out of the multifaceted turmoil, the US has already rejected Bajwa’s bid to head or control the government. Apart from himself helming the country, Bajwa who has the backing of terror masterminds LeT boss Hafiz Sayeed and JeM chief Masood Azhar, has also sought to put in place a sham democracy in Pakistan.
Pakistan is facing a severe insurgency in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. In October alone, as many as 135 Pak army personnel were killed and 2,000 AK 47 assault rifles were looted by the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) insurgents.
The situation is further compounded by the balance of payment crisis staring at Pakistan in the midst of skyrocketing inflation and burgeoning price rise beside the assassination bid on former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan whose protests have galvanized the public against the current regime of Shahbaz Sharif perceived to be failing on all the fronts and leading the country into chaos.
“Our country is watching and feeling the pain of the citizens of POK, where Pakistan is unleashing torture and harassment. Very soon there will be a rebellion in the PoK by the citizens against the atrocities.
Our country is committed to implementing the resolution passed in the Parliament about retrieving Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said in Jammu and Kashmir on October 27.
“If the right decision is not taken, Pakistan will lose its nuclear deterrence … and then it will be fragmented into three pieces,” former Pakistan PM Imran Khan had said on June 6.
He had said the Balkanisation of Pakistan is a thought that Pakistanis shudder to even entertain, bringing back memories of 1971—the year East Pakistan became the sovereign nation of Bangladesh.
Imran Khan who is the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had further warned that once the country’s economy is destroyed, it would go into default, and the world would ask Pakistan to move towards denuclearization—as was done to Ukraine in the 1990s.
Source:- Daily Pioneer and ANI News