A Brief Yet Comprehensive Argument on National Integration of Pakistan

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National Integration in the case of Pakistan cannot mean creating ethnic or national homogeneity throughout the country. It can only mean establishing a common citizenry, common political and social structures, a common state, and an additional sense of identity of belonging together. It means building commonality on top of the existing diversity, and not substituting an artificial new identity for the old ones. This process is not impossible. However, it would take some generations. It is a slow but continuous process. According M Nazarul Islam, author of “Pakistan a Study in National Integration”, the crisis of national integration has been particularly severe and the growing divisive forces and secessionist tendencies have threatened the federal structure itself.

Due to constant failure of nation building and national integration it is very difficult to transform the masses into a citizenry. The people have been mere onlookers to politics. Sometimes they identify with specific politics or politicians, but this often was hardly more than an audience applauding a cricket team as it was to identify with someone else, not being actor oneself.

The state was captured by small band of corrupt political elite, which persistently tried to exclude any competitors. Since the ruling elite mostly consisted of feudal lords, industrialists, generals and mullahs, and their ‘people’ in the civilian and military bureaucracy. This created a sense of exclusion for the rest of Pakistanis. In contrast, the tribal leaders and rural landowners smaller belonging to smaller provinces perceived their respective exclusion in ethnic rather than political terms. This ethnic/national group has little economic power and is under-represented in the political and bureaucratic elite.

A combination of excessive corruption and pathetic under-performance of the state institutions today characterize Pakistan. Both the development of the economy and stable political conditions are being...
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