In theory, Pakistan can be considered as one of the richest countries in the world. Its geopolitical location, its fertile lands, its access to warm waters, its natural resources and its extraordinarily talented people — everything obliges us to believe that Pakistan by now should be the fully grown ‘economic tiger’ of Asia, a hub of education and culture in the subcontinent and an inspiration for all Muslim nations but, unfortunately, it is not. On the contrary, Pakistan, in the 21st century, has emerged as an irresponsible nation infamous for hiding the world’s most wanted terrorists and providing them safe havens to plot their future assaults, a failing state that has laid down its arms in front of violent criminals instead of bringing them to justice and a country wrecked by religious intolerance and sectarianism while claiming itself to be peaceful.
Nonetheless, for us, the reason for our failure is not our internal ineptitude at all. It is not our Afghan policy or Kashmiri jihad, nor has it anything to do with our unstable political system or imbalance in power between the military elite and the civilian administration. It is not related to rampant corruption, crime or terrorism. Rather, we believe it is because of the foreign conspiracies and enemy agents in our ranks who are working against the national interest to benefit others. All of us carry blind faith in such presuppositions. There are some differences in their execution and the mastermind behind these plots, whether it is Israel, India or the US but their objectives, in our eyes, always remain the same: destroy Islam, divide the Muslims and annihilate Pakistan. Our xenophobia is so powerful that even though Pakistan is a nation created in the name of Islam, a simple proclamation of the belief in One God and His Prophet (PBUH) may divide us further and lead to sectarian violence. However, a declaration in these conspiracy theories will firmly unite us together like conjoined twins.
Without any hesitation, we pass our verdict about some Pakistanis who we believe have sold their conscience for mundane luxuries and are being played as puppets in the hands of their foreign masters. In our opinion, many media outlets have been compromised in the race and some renowned politicians, probably, have also been corrupted. The sincerity of some prominent civil right activists is doubtful for us and the patriotism of some ‘so-called’ non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is questionable. There are some journalists who need to be investigated, and then there are some bureaucrats whose loyalties, from our point of view, need to be explored. In short, we have people from every aspect of life who can easily be labelled as Indian or enemy agents. Most of the time we can recognise them because of their liberal ideology, their narrative of peace with India and their rigid stance against negotiations with the Taliban. Their duplicity, in the eyes of most Pakistanis, is indeed mindboggling. While they will proclaim that talks with the Taliban are not going to work and a strong army operation is the only option, they will, in the same breath, also announce that there is no military solution with India and that war is not an option for Pakistan. These are the people who get easy access to the Indian embassy and receive special protocol when they visit the neighbouring state.
For the sake of argument, let us suppose it is true. Let us also assume that there are people in every aspect of life who are working to harm Pakistan against its enemies, an act of treason that no sovereign nation state is ready to forgive. Now, for a moment, consider yourself as an Indian financier, who is investing his nation’s hard earned money on some selfish Pakistanis. With that in mind, tell me, do you want your agents to be exposed or do you want them to be hidden behind masks of religiosity and nationalism? As the sponsor, do you want your agents to be openly critical of Pakistani policies, infamous in their own country for promoting pro-Indian policies or do you want them to be totally unrecognisable as a conservative Muslim who is always favouring unity of the ummah (Muslim community) — an impossible idea — while promoting only one particular sect?
The answer is obvious. From a logical perspective, it is much more likely that the paid Indian agents among us would not be openly secular or liberal. They would not advocate a policy that raises eyebrows regarding their own patriotism or cast a doubt about their personal integrity; instead they would be prone to support a nationalistic ideology, a stance that not only camouflages their true identity where no one points a finger at them, but also provides them with a higher moral pedestal from where they can easily announce anyone who disagrees with them as an enemy agent.
I strongly think this is the case in Pakistan. I believe a lot of people who pretend to be hyper-religious or hyper-nationalist — the ones who we know get easily annoyed and pass a judgment on others — are in fact greedy agents working for other countries. Their job is to create a constant state of paranoia in Pakistan, a condition in which every Pakistani believes that the rest of the world intends to destroy them. They want to build an untrustworthy nation that cannot — or would not — keep its international obligations and would want to lay the foundations of a failed state in which the implementation of international trade agreements becomes impossible. Their intention is to alienate Pakistan from the international community and promote it as a country whose expectations with other nations are so impractical and unrealistic that even a simple transaction like the NATO supply lines becomes a life or death event.
Our rulers are accustomed to underestimating the worst of conditions and are habitual in not ...