Updated: Nov 2, 2021
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been on fire for a long while, but the flames are only now being seen by the larger world.
What is going on and why is there so much turmoil?
The West led by America has set up a world order in which democracy, freedom of all kinds and capitalism are paramount, whereas Islam demands a diametrically opposite system. Sharia mandates rigid order and control, limited freedoms and countless do's and don'ts, restrictions, and rule of law laid down and implemented by a monarch. This ruler is usually called Caliph, Emir, Sultan, or Shah etc. in the state and a dominant male member in the home and community.
Followers of Islam (which means to submit) follow the Quran (the words of their prophet Muhammad) and live as per the Hadith (the life of Muhammad) in all circumstances. Islam insists on peace with fellow Muslims but demands intolerance of both non Muslims, and imperfect Muslims. Whereas the rest of the world works on the principle of universal human rights.
According to Muslims, Islam is total including all aspects of a Muslim's life, providing rules covering economic, military, religious, social and political matters, encapsulated in what is known as 'Sharia' (meaning the law). Sharia is the translation of the word for the Jewish holy book 'Torah' from which much of the practices and laws were adopted by Muslim rulers and clergy in the 10th century, about 300 years after the passing away of Muhammad.
The fire within Pakistan is caused by the fundamental incompatibility of Islam with Western ideas of democracy, secularism and pluralism. Therein lies the problem, not only for Pakistanis but the entire Muslim population of the world. It is a clash of civilisations based on their philosophies and ideologies. Conflicts are raging across the world, to determine who and what will prevail.
Like in many other places, Western ideas of governance based on Democracy along with Capitalism and Communism/Socialism have mostly failed Pakistani individuals and society. It has seriously degraded the quality of existence of the average Pakistani making life unbearable. The only social, religious, political and economic succour they get is from many Islamic religious organisations.
Until the Soviet- Mujahideen conflict (1979 - 1989) entry of Soviet forces into Afghanistan in 1979, Islam in Pakistan was predominantly a religious and social matter for the masses. There was however continuous social strife caused by the Pakistani society's support for intolerance and violence against non Muslims, non Sunni Muslims, and imperfect Muslims Life was not so harsh for the average Pakistani, and the people managed to live somewhat well.
All this changed dramatically in 1979 when Pakistan leadership led by Gen Zia-ul-Haq in collaboration with the 'Free world' along with the Muslim world began injecting vast quantities of arms, weaponry, training and hundreds of billions of dollars into Pakistan to launch and sustain an asymmetrical war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
In a brilliant war strategy they coloured it as an all out religious war between Allah loving Muslims versus the Godless Soviets. (Later the same argument was used against America and India.)
Numerous able bodied Afghan and Pakistani men rose to the occasion, Muslims from across the world flocked to Pakistan where they were trained, armed and sent into Afghanistan. They were called Mujahideen (fighters for Islam).
Due to the asymmetry in resources, military strength, terrain and the nature of the conflict the Mujahideen had to adopt guerrilla tactics, which they perfected.
After the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, Pakistan had on its hands tens of thousands of unemployed Mujahideen fighters, looking for a war. And Pakistan gifted it, to many of these Mujahideen.
The war had already made Pakistan the terror factory of the world and they expanded their markets and started supplying and deploying these fighters and clergy across the world to spread terror in exchange for money and influence.
Pakistan profited handsomely by spreading terror and drugs all across the world, particularly South and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and subsequently to Australia, Europe and America. Pakistan dominated the supply chain of global terror and become a force to be feared.
Most of these terrorists were housed, financed and continued to be nourished within Pakistan, by the Pakistani leadership. These terrorists teamed up with hardcore Islamists, millions of young Muslim students indoctrinated in Pakistani Madrassas (religious schools). These are the people which the world now knows as Taliban, who seek to, by use of violent force and terror to purify Pakistan (land of the pure) and Afghanistan both states which they believe has been corrupted by non muslims and the West.
Most countries and their leaders foolishly and mistakenly believe that Islam is compatible with democracy and other forms of government. Islam can survive and thrive only by imposition of Sharia.
This is why there is so much conflict between Muslims and non Muslim irrespective of whether they are democracies, communist, monarchies. etc.
The Pakistani elite and leadership have been riding two horses simultaneously.
First is to integrate Pakistan with the Anglo Saxon led world order of democracy, capitalism, liberty, freedoms, women and children rights etc. To appear democratic and a responsible and progressive global country. This was so as to avail of all the benefits from the world.
Simultaneously harness the violent passion and obedience that Islam conditions within its adherents.
These contradicting demands were skilfully and finely balanced by the Pakistani leaders for quite a while.
'If you act too wise, you will land up otherwise', goes an old saying.
The corrupt, dysfunctional, arrogant and dishonest Pakistani politicians, government, judiciary and law enforcement, armed forces and society in general have discovered, much to their dismay, that they have overplayed their hand. The Pakistani elite and leadership have lost all moral authority, respect and credibility not only with their own highly radicalised population but they have also burnt their bridges with almost the entire world.
The only social, religious and political succour the Pakistani population get is from Islamic religious groups, who are the strongest, most resilient, highly credible and well financed institutions in Pakistan. A large proportion of Pakistan's population are members of these religious organisations.
The current showdown between Tehreek-e-Labbaik, Pakistan (TLP) and the incompetent Imran Khan led Pakistani government is a clear indication of the impending collapse of the Pakistani state into chaos and long lasting turmoil.
TLP demands place it on a direct collision course with the Pakistani government.
If Imran Khan accepts TLP's many demands including expulsion of the ambassador of France and sever all ties with France, it will be a direct confrontation with France and the entire world. If they do not accept TLP's demands then they are staring at revolution and civil war.
In coming days Pakistan's fate will be similar to currently that of Afghanistan.
A morally and financially bankrupt Pakistan will ruin the lives of ordinary citizens as the country will descend into revolution and most likely splinter into four or five parts. Some of these parts will be Islamic theocracies with rigid compliance to Sharia.
As for the remaining other parts only Allah knows what will happen.
The world needs to take note and be concerned about what will be the fate of Pakistan. A country that will soon exist in global isolation ruled under Sharia just as the Muslim world did a thousand years ago, yet possessing a completely radicalised impoverished population with the sixth largest military in the world and a large nuclear arsenal.