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‘A Prison of Our Own Making’

by Newsweek Pakistan

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Pakistan cannot persist as a ‘faltering’ state for much longer

Writing in The Faltering State, a new book on Pakistan, retired police official Tariq Khosa—who also served as a federal secretary, UNODC Adviser on Rule of Law and Criminal Justice, and the INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegate for Asia—has outlined the various issues that plague the country, noting that many of them are a result of failed government policies.

In Khosa’s view, the “faltering state” has made the following mistakes: trying to differentiate between people with a violent agenda as “good” or “bad”; creation of nonstate actors to wage covert wars; failure to invest in institutions of justice; and lack of will to purge itself of cruel ideological obsessions.

He objects to the new trend of the deep state to pick up and torture “secular and liberal activists” without trial, like fascist states throughout history, while Pakistan ostensibly operates under a Democratic Constitution. The “missing persons” of Balochistan and the massacred Hazara of Quetta point to the next grave development after self-isolation in the region and in the world where Pakistan’s “national” causes inspire fear rather than sympathy.

The best example of the issues plaguing Pakistan is evident from the time Khosa was deputed in Balochistan. He arrested Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Quetta for possessing lethal weapons without license. The inspector general of police promptly called him: “General Zia was on line. You arrested Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Don’t you know who he is and what he means for the Afghan jihad?” Khosa had to apologize and let Hekmatyar go: “The deep state is like an unbridled horse, without the reins of constitutional oversight.”

The Pakistani state may have entered a new phase, looking at violence that seems to have no connection with the leadership of the deep state. This must alarm Pakistanis about what might happen next. There were omens to read when then-President Pervez Musharraf was attacked from within the state and the offenders were not punished out of fear.

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1 comment

Imran Ahmed January 25, 2018 - 2:26 pm

The State is faltering because the institutions with power who make long-term policy have goals which do not prioritize the wellbeing or aspirations of the people but instead focus on the continuation and wellbeing of the institutions of power which is at odds with the interests of the common people.


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