27 October, 2020

'It Might've Been Different Had Jinnah Lived Longer'

Akbar Ahmed, a senior Pakistani civil servant turned academic at Cambridge, has authored a book on Jinnah and is currently producing a film on him. He spoke to Sanjay Suri in London:

'It Might've Been Different Had Jinnah Lived Longer'

The Golden Jubilee has become an occasion for many commentators to declare Pakistan a failed state.

I think the suggestion that Pakistan is a failed state is related partly to Pakistan’s failure in projecting itself in the world media. Only the negative aspects are being projected. There is no denying the many problems Pakistan is facing. In the last 10 years, we’ve had about 10 prime ministers. There are serious law and order, ethnic, religious and sectarian problems. These things are highlighted by the media.

Having said that, there are positive aspects too. Take simply the fact that Pakistan has survived. There is a Pakistanisation process. A homogenisation has begun to grow over the past two generations. Pakistan is now in the process of developing and discovering itself. It has developed a distinct Pakistani identity.

Isn’t the opposite happening, a splintering along religious and other groupings?

Yes and no. All post-colonial states have some combination of ethnic and tribal groupings. Pakistan began with very distinct ethnic...



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