My new piece is up at The Review (National), State of Decay:
Twenty years of military dictatorships, under Ayub Khan and Zia ul Haq, cemented the rule of the few over the many. Their policies led to the emergence of specific grievances by sub-nationalist groups in Baluchistan and Sindh. In the decade of Pervez Musharraf’s rule, these tensions grew dramatically, and pushed the state into a greater alienation from its own citizens.
Musharraf’s dictatorial regime sought to polish over any internal incoherence with a unified foreign front aimed primarily at operating militarily in Afghanistan, NWFP and Baluchistan. The influx of cash, some $6 billion, into the coffers of the military propelled the army to new-found heights as the country’s largest landlord, largest employer and largest business. But maintaining this new oligarchy came at a steep price for Pakistan.
Do let me know your thoughts.
*Naim Sahib corrects me that Bengal wasn’t part of Iqbal’s 1930 vision. My apologies. I have been reading too much Rahmat Ali lately.