Defining Moments: The Political Implications of State Policy

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Shahwar Junaid[1]


(There are defining moments in the history of nations that set their course for decades to come. Defining moments in the national history of a state can have a lasting impact on its allies as well as its adversaries: the foreign policies of Britain and the United States had a profound impact in the post-World War II era. Their activities in the pursuit of strategic goals were not always in consonance with their political doctrine. Britain was in a position to mould events through the disposition of territories and assets during the decolonization process. Many countries, such as Pakistan that were affected, need to move out of the shadow of post-World War II manipulation, redefine their goals and reaffirm their national identity. – Author).

There are defining moments in the history of nations and communities that set their course for decades to come. Such moments can also change the character of nations. It may not be as easy as it initially appears to be, to identify defining moments in national history. There can be a time lag between the actual moment of change, when policies are formulated, and the outward manifestations and impact of that change on the environment that nations create through their policies at home and abroad. By recognizing the defining moment we are better placed to cope with its consequences at the national and global levels.
It is relevant to the formation of state policy to review and discuss at the national level defining moments in the national history of influential countries and consider the implications for bilateral and multilateral relations. Defining moments in the history of a state can have a lasting impact on its allies as well as its adversaries. Just as the foreign policy of a number of nation states has been critical to the political, economic and social development of Pakistan, the foreign policy of other nation states has been influential in other parts of the world.
The foreign policies of both Britain and the United States have influenced the course of history in the South Asian subcontinent, West Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere.[1] It is necessary to determine which political, economic and social developments in these areas have been the result of decisions taken by national/local leadership and how much has been a direct result of the continuation of the policy of colonial powers after independence, because the institutions and systems for the perpetuation of that policy were in place. It is relevant to this study to determine how new foreign policy imperatives, international arrangements, economic institutions such as GATT,[2] and other initiatives of the global powers reinforced such patterns.
Well after formal decolonization, the states that emerged in the subcontinent, West Asia and the Middle East continued to be economic dependents of the developed world.[3],[4] Large multinationals corporations controlled economic resources within their borders and enjoyed enormous influence over national affairs. The newly independent states were also controlled through cleverly arranged territorial dispensations that limited their political potential. For such states the defining moment in their respective national history came before they even existed. For instance, unlike the inevitability that characterized the independence of the subcontinent and the establishment of an independent state for the Hindu nation, the creation of Pakistan was not a certainty. As a result of this, several aspects of its relations with India and the rest of the world, at the bilateral and multilateral levels, were predetermined for Pakistan.
Several challenges that Pakistan faced immediately after independence were the result of a territorial dispensation that now appears to have been capricious at best. The land mass of Pakistan was not contiguous: Pakistan’s Eastern Wing was about a thousand
miles away from its Western Wing. The Western Wing consisted of some of the least developed areas of the subcontinent and was home to some of the most fiercely independent people of the region. Pakistan also contained a kingdom: Hyderabad Deccan, had its own economy, taxation system and postal service. It posed unique problems for national integration. This territory was also separated from the Eastern and Western Wings of the country by Indian land mass and there were no arrangements for overland travel. Meanwhile, Pakistan did not contain Kashmir, the area from which its waters flowed. At the time of Partition, the Muslims of India were told that this was the best that could be done for them under the circumstances. Such territorial dispensations have inbuilt limitations for independent action and development as a nation. It is a comment on the robustness of Islamic culture as a unifying factor that the Pakistani nation has survived the defining moments of its inception.
There is a haunting similarity between maps dating from the Partition of the subcontinent and the present day maps of the Palestinian territory: the pattern of territorial dispensation is similar. Small areas of land denoted Palestinian territory are surrounded by Israeli land-in order to move from one part of Palestinian territory to another part the people must travel through hostile country.[5] It is difficult to create national identity, not to mention national institutions, under the circumstances.[6]
A strategic task accomplished by the British for European powers in 1948 was the carving out of the state of Israel from Palestinian land by forcibly expelling the indigenous population.[7] There are harrowing accounts of what was done. Between 30 March and 15 May 1948 Israeli forces had seized 200 villages and expelled 250,000 people living under the British Mandate which expired on 14 May. The British had 75,000 troops in Palestine to enforce the Mandate and were legally obliged to uphold law and order as the occupier (UN resolution 181).[8] In breach of the terms of settlement, the Labour government withdrew all British policemen and forbade the presence of any UN personnel there. The government ordered British forces to disarm the few Palestinians with weapons and promised to protect them from Israeli attacks but immediately went back on its word. By the time Israeli operation ended in autumn 1948 half of Palestine’s population, over 800,000 people had been expelled, 531 villages had been destroyed and eleven urban areas had been emptied of their original inhabitants. The exercise was undertaken in order to achieve the strategic policy goals of the world powers that emerged after World War II. It was the precursor of similar ethnic cleansing exercises that were to take place in Europe (Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo) decades later.

The fierce Cold War battles between the United States, Britain and their allies on the one hand and the USSR and its satellite states on the other hand, redefined concepts of diplomacy and warfare as the struggle to influence world affairs encompassed every sphere of human activity.[9] A defining moment in the history of the United States occurred after World War II, when some of its security and intelligence agencies were reorganized and new ones were created. This was also a defining moment in world affairs. Not only states within the sphere of influence of the US were affected by this activity but the other major world power at the time, the USSR, its satellite states and those states that were within its sphere of influence were also affected. As a result, countries like Pakistan, with an elite that draws sustenance and support from the nation’s alliance with world powers, were drawn into other people’s wars.
In his book on the subject Martin Walker states, “The history of the Cold War has been the history of the world after 1945. Communications and missile technology required the Cold War’s proxy battles zones to girdle the entire earth and its satellites to orbit above. The Cold War was truly a global conflict, more so than either of the century’s two World Wars. South America and sub-Saharan Africa continents which had been largely spared the earlier struggles, were sucked into its maw. Turks fought in Korea, Algerians fought in Vietnam, Cubans fought in Angola, and American and Russian school children, whose lessons had been interrupted by nuclear air-raid drills grew up to die in Saigon and Kabul…”[10] The Cold War never really ended, it metamorphosed into new wars with new combatants: Today, NATO is fighting the “new Russians,” the Taliban, in Afghanistan.[11]
The agencies that were charged with securing US foreign policy objectives after World War II worked in a number of fields. The methods used to secure objectives were refined during two decades of activity in post-World War II Europe and South America. Subsequently the same modus operandi was used in other parts of the world including, Asia and the Middle East[12].
By mid-1950 the United States National Security Council (Document 68) was calling for a military build-up to meet the communist threat worldwide and, in particular, in Asia. The invasion of South Korea by the communist North led President Truman to mobilize and place US troops on the Korean peninsula without Congressional approval. By late 1950 US troops had moved into North Korea and by 21 November they had reached the Yalu River and the Chinese border. US military assistance was provided to the French in Indochina. The Philippine government which was facing an internal rebellion by the Huks was also provided US military assistance. The Seventh Fleet was ordered to prevent a Chinese attack on Taiwan.
Containment was no longer limited to Western Europe. It now included East Asia. A massive build up of resources was therefore required in order to achieve foreign policy goals. US defence spending nearly tripled that year. However, this build up of resources was not enough when new actors entered the scene: China’s entered the Korean War on 26 November 1950. This led to a retreat by US troops below the thirty-eighth parallel and resulted in a stalemate. A ceasefire agreement was negotiated between North and South Korea at the thirty-eighth parallel on 27 July 1953. Thereafter US President Eisenhower adjusted commitments for the French effort in Indochina. The Diem government in South Vietnam was given economic, not military assistance.
Washington was not interested in committing additional resources for containment in Europe either. Recognizing that the United States did not have the military resources to challenge the Soviet Union in its sphere of influence, President Eisenhower did not support the Hungarian uprising. This was considered a betrayal of commitments made to the leaders of the uprising and discouraged movements for democracy in the socialist states for more than thirty years. The United States acquired the reputation for being an unreliable ally.
By December of 1952 it was clear that the United States was not going to commit the level of resources required to engage in a conventional war in Asia. It began to redefine and limit the goals of containment worldwide. It also began to consider new means of achieving these goals. A pattern of overseas intervention evolved and the United States became the most active Western player in international affairs.
The idea was to draw upon the resources of other countries to counter the communist threat through alliances, such as the Baghdad Pact and the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization. Low-cost CIA-engineered coups were used to achieve foreign policy goals in Guatemala and Iran. The size of the armed forces was reduced in favour of covert intervention through local partners and the strategic doctrine of massive retaliation. This policy continues to be in force today.
In order to limit the sphere of influence of the USSR the United States undermined socialist political movements and governments with socialist pretensions, regardless of the public support they enjoyed within their borders. This was done through intelligence agencies after World War II. After public criticism of the extra-judicial methods used by some US agencies, other means were employed to secure the same objectives.[13] According to reports the CIA used known American foundations, as well as other custom-made entities that existed only on paper to fund trade unions, cultural organizations, media and prominent intellectuals to fight communism overseas.
In the aftermath of World War II the United States was without any mechanism to channel political assistance to its allies, US policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisors, equipment and funds to support newspapers and political parties in socialist Europe. Mechanisms and organizations were put in place to achieve foreign policy goals. Among others, the United States Information Agency was created (1953) with the idea of using American culture, film, music and theatre to counter the appeal of communism. These agencies had enormous resources at their disposal and became influential in decision making in countries like Pakistan.
In 1975 the Pike Committee of the US Congress investigated the covert side of US foreign policy. A summary of its findings included a list of extra-judicial activities Washington had either endorsed or been engaged in from the end of World War II to 1975. These included attempting to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments and the unprovoked military invasion of 20 sovereign nations. According to the findings of the
Committee, by 1975 US agencies had worked to crush more than 30 populist movements which were fighting against dictatorial regimes. Over the years US agencies had provided support to brutal dictatorships thereby destroying the potential political progress of entire nations, for generations to come. The United States government cooperated with oppressive, brutal national regimes in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Korea among others.[14] In such countries the need for social and economic reform and public support for political entities promising such reform were not considerations in the pursuit of foreign policy goals: during the Cold War period of the 1970s, South America became the nightmare of development workers. These revelations damaged the democratic credentials of the US and its allies and, as a result, nationalist lobbies emerged in many countries.
A case in point is that of Chile. The United States intervened in Chile’s politics continuously between 1963 and 1973. This was done in order to keep socialist Salvador Allende out of office and then, to destabilize his government. After a coup during which the presidential palace in Chile was bombed, President Allende, who had introduced socialist policies in the country, was reported to have committed suicide. On 9 November 1970, Henry Kissinger had written decision memorandum No. 93. It was addressed to heads of diplomatic, defence and intelligence departments and stated that “…pressure should be placed on the Allende government to prevent its consolidation and limit its ability to implement policies contrary to US and hemispheric interests…” This statement represents the mindset that gave rise to sanctions regimes that the United States has used, both bilaterally and through the United Nations, in recent times.
When revolutionary movements continued to emerge in Africa and South America despite the US strategy of infiltrating social and political organizations a new strategic initiative was introduced. A public-private mechanism to fund overseas activities was established on the lines of West German foundations[15] that had been created by major political parties in Germany. The American Political Foundation (APF) was established in 1979. It was a coalition of the Democratic and Republican parties, union leaders, employers, conservative academics and institutions working on foreign policy issues. Generous funding gave the United States, Britain and West Germany control over academia at home and abroad. The funding establishments set the boundaries of academic freedom in Western democracies. Real academic freedom remained a myth.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created in 1983. It was supposed to be a non-profit-making organization to promote human rights and democracy. However in 1991 its first President, historian Allen Weinstein, admitted to the Washington Post “…A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the *CIA… ”[16] Elsewhere William Blum observed that “…what was done was to shift many of the awful things (done by the CIA) to a new organization, with a nice sounding name…” These observations indicate that a shift in US policy did not take place and the post-World War II systems of global intervention to achieve foreign policy goals were in place.
` The NED was managed by four core organizations including the Free Trade Union Institute, a branch of the AFL-CIO trade union federation later incorporated into the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity. The other core organizations were the Centre for International Private Enterprise, an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Republican Institute for International Affairs and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
In Nicaragua, Cuba and Poland NED gave money, established NGOs, manipulated the electoral process and gave direct aid to its preferred candidates in national elections. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the organization expanded rapidly. It intervened in the social, economic and political process in 90 countries in Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe.[17] Electoral interventions were of critical importance to US global policy and made it possible to support handpicked leadership through direct aid.
During the first 10 years of its existence NED distributed $200 million amongst 1500 projects. Subsequently its network spread and it was coordinating 6000 projects worldwide. Some of the more spectacular failures of intervention through organizations such as NED and its branches include Haiti, Cuba and Iran. In Pakistan, NDI has been conducting training programs about democracy for new entrants into politics who were handpicked by the military regime after constitutional reforms-an incongruous alliance to say the least.
Initiatives to promote US foreign policy goals through electoral interventions have failed on a number of occasions. The moral in these failures is obvious. In 1990 NED is reported to have spent $36 million on the candidacy of Marc Bazin, a former World Bank official. Despite this, Jean Bertrand-Aristide was elected. He was ousted the following year after a media campaign reportedly funded by NED and USAID (United States Agency for International Development). NED spent $20 million over a period of 20 years to promote a so-called democratic transition in Cuba. Since 1996 USAID has contributed another $65 million to this effort without success. In Pakistan the training of civil servants, public representatives and legislators has been placed in the hands of these organizations. After the revolution of 1979 Iran resisted external intervention in its society, its politics and the electoral process. When Afghanistan came under the influence of the Taliban, the West Asian region moved out of the sphere of influence of the United States and Britain.[18] Since it would not bend to their will, Iran also became one of the most vilified countries in the world, alongside North Korea, Afghanistan under the Taliban and Iraq under Saddam Hussain.
The patterns of strategic intervention in global affairs that evolved during the post-World War II period endured, with some mutations, for fifty years. However, the response to such interventions changed from time to time. The Islamic Revolution of Iran is a case in point: it established that the possibility of indigenous political change existed, despite limited resources and opposition from world powers. This was the revolutionary thought that Castro’s Cuba also represented. Pakistan’s nuclear tests (May 1998) took place in the teeth of intense international opposition. With each such response to international pressure the dynamics of global power systems changed. India and Pakistan became unofficial members of the club of nuclear nations by conducting ten nuclear explosions during a period of twenty days.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, when the nature of global conflict was changing, nuclear power assumed ideological value.[19] After the dissolution of the Soviet Union a number of Western countries were winding down their nuclear weapons programs. Pakistan was under intense international pressure to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and refrain from pursuing its nuclear goals. The UN Conference on Disarmament also called on India and Pakistan “to accede without delay to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Nevertheless, in 1998, first India and then Pakistan conducted a series of nuclear test explosions and became unofficial members of the club of nuclear nations. As far as Pakistan was concerned the decision to go nuclear was a response that secured the strategic future of the country. Without nuclear capability Pakistan would not have survived 9/11 even though it had nothing to do with it.
Global power systems operate within given parameters with a view to maintaining a balance of power and containing the disruptive potential of states and other entities through all available means: among other things, bilateral, multilateral and international economic sanctions penalize states for stepping out of line, by isolating them from the global economy. It is well known that the weakest sections of society suffer the most under economic sanctions. While the economic impact of international sanctions can be calculated in fiscal terms, the response of the people to the hardship imposed on them through such sanctions is not so easy to calculate.[20] After the Gulf War, economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq. Contrary to the expectations of the Coalition, the hardship of economic sanctions led to a surge of nationalism and anger against the international forces that had imposed them on Iraq.
The ability to withstand international pressure and respond to challenges to national sovereignty has always been critical to national development, and vice versa. It is even more important now that globalization and information technology have exposed entire nations and their economic, social and cultural systems to external influences. International financial systems keep track of the economic potential of nations, as well as the ability of their leadership to exploit that potential. Countries with natural resources as well as the expertise and infrastructure to exploit them can demand reasonable prices for value added products. Those without expertise and capital have to sell non-renewable resources cheaply. Alongside commodity deals, nationalists in developing countries have always demanded the transfer of technology that will help them exploit their resources more effectively.[21] In order to ensure the supply of commodities at advantageous rates multinationals work with industrialized countries to control political events and, thereby, the demands regarding economic arrangements that might flow from political events. This happened in both Iraq and Iran after World War II.[22] It is happening there, and in Central Asia, today.
The term “economic development” has a history and means many things to many people. Prior to World War II it was seldom used in the sense of a process that societies undergo. However, the term had been used to describe official activity to develop land and natural resources.[23] The political implications of economic policy, that is, policy for the pursuit of economic development, are self-evident: post World War II states moved into the capitalist camp or the socialist camp. The politics underlying economic activity and patterns of wealth distribution divided the world and created the Iron Curtain. There were developed, less developed and newly developed states within the capitalist camp as well as the socialist camp. Other sub-categories of economic development were identified later. Sixty years after they were first introduced these categories still exist. None of the existing political systems, in their pure form, have been able to produce the ideal base for successful economic development.[24]
Economic policy is a product of political philosophy: its success, or failure to satisfy the aspirations of the people, has profound political implications and consequences. In developing countries that are without democratic institutions the margin for error in providing for the masses may be substantial in political terms because there is no outlet for public discontent. However, there are limits to public tolerance. The acceptance of a direction in finance, commerce, agriculture or social welfare marks a defining moment in the history of a nation.
In Pakistan a clear definition of the responsibilities of the state towards its citizens was given in the address of Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammed Ali Jinnah to the constituent assembly on 11 August 1947. With regard to the welfare of the people he said, “…If we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor…” Thereafter, on a number of occasions he spoke on the subject: on 11 October 1947 in an address to Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force officers of the Government of Pakistan he said, “We should have a state in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play. ..” On 21 February 1948, in an address to the officers and men of the 5th Heavy Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir, Karachi, he said, “ You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil. With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve…” Besides defining the responsibilities of the state towards its citizens the Quaid also defined the responsibilities of citizens towards society and the state.
A re-definition of economic philosophy took place in Pakistan during the 1970s when nationalization of industries was supposed to embody the socialist bent of the political party in power. The Pakistan People’s Party had translated the slogan of the well known “Basic Human Needs” program of the World Bank under Robert S. McNamara[25] into an election slogan, promising the masses “ Roti, Kapra, Makaan.”[26] In order to gain control of the private sector broad-based nationalization was undertaken. Since government functionaries and the political workers entrusted with the job did not have the expertise to manage nationalized industries, thousands of units closed down within a year. Wealthy industrialists and their allies within the bureaucracy believed nationalization was only a method of seizing the wealth of private citizens and handing its control to political workers. Nationalization had been of no use to the general public or the state. Subsequent land reforms were seen in the same light because they were selective and did not benefit the masses. Meanwhile, the state continued to accept responsibility for providing relief to the masses: where they were available, utilities, health services and education facilities were subsidized. Pakistan was neither a socialist state nor a free market economy, it had become a hybrid. This did not fit into global scheme of things and was considered suspiciously socialist.
In Pakistan the breakdown of the social contract between state and citizen began with the installation of the military government of Gen.Ziaul Haq (5 July 1977 – 17 August 1988). Field Marshal Ayub Khan (1958-1969) had worked through the existing civil administration after he seized power. Martial law means no law, but during the 1950s the civil administration was able to temper the severity of the situation after a while. The coup d’etat of 1977 put the armed forces in total control of state resources.[27] The military had had little contact with the general public thus far, and had no idea how to deal with them. They used draconian methods to subdue any hint of political opposition. The initial official statement was that the army had seized power due to the political turmoil in the country, it expected to hold elections within 90 days and hand over power to a civilian government. Instead they prosecuted and hung the former Prime Minister and stayed for eleven years.
During this period the public welfare orientation of state policy was replaced by a national security orientation. This change of direction and the subsequent diversion of an unusual proportion of national resources to defence were justified on the grounds that the Soviet presence in Afghanistan posed a threat to Pakistan. Collaboration with the United States in cross-border military action to destabilize the government in Afghanistan was rationalized on the same grounds.[28] No thought was given to the fallout of these policies and the likely impact of this on the civilian population.
At the time a quota of 20 percent was established for armed forces personnel in the civil administration. During the ten years that followed the induction of armed forces personnel through this system of employment created a substantial military presence in the civil administration of the country. However, this fact was not publicized. Aggressive military intervention in civil administration became the hallmark of the Musharraf regime which appointed serving and retired military personnel throughout the federal and provincial administration, in every administrative grade, including tenure positions.
The mandate given to these personnel was not people-friendly: they were not appointed to serve, as public servants are expected to. They expected to oversee and monitor the activities of the civil administration and secure the interest of the military regime in every way. The creation of a tier of overseers, who were not subject to the same laws and discipline as those they were monitoring had grave implications for the integrity of the state and its institutions: the gulf between state and citizen widened. No thought was given to the likely fallout of these policies and its impact on the civilian population.
Another development was a wave of privatization of state corporations and assets. Well run, profitable enterprises were put up for sale. Many were sold to foreign buyers for a very small premium. Offered 100 percent ownership, foreign investors entered the market in pursuit of higher profits and a captive market: this led to a rise in the price of essential commodities and utilities. The price hike had a direct impact on the personal economy of consumers, but the state did not appear to be very concerned about this. This disregard for the hardship faced by the weakest economic groups in society marked a profound change in the economic management of the country. The priorities of the state had been redefined and, in future, the country was to be run like a profit making corporation. The socio-political impact of running the state for profit, like a corporation, had an impact on the social contract, written or unwritten, between citizen and state. It led to a weakening of allegiance to the state, distancing the common man from the state entity. This was a dangerous development.
Information technology has created new dynamics in the global economic environment: now elite economic groups in developing countries tend to ally their interests and identify with similar economic groups in other countries.[29] On the other hand, underprivileged and marginalized economic groups tend to identify with people in similar circumstances in other parts of the world. This phenomenon has created unique challenges for national leadership, for allegiance to the brotherhood beyond national borders may be as strong as allegiance to the state. The concept of nationhood will be redefined if the leadership in developing countries cannot provide some measure of economic and social opportunity and to all citizens.
The state as a corporation and transnationals as states without borders have created a new range of imperatives and unique tensions within the tradition-based socio-political fabric of nation states. In most cases the terms have changed yet the traditional contract between citizen and state has not been re-written. The state demands the same level of allegiance it has always received from its citizens although it may have passed on many responsibilities for the well being of their citizens, to the private sector. These days the private sector may consist of national, regional as well as transnational organizations, each with its own culture, economic environment and unique demands. In return for jobs and social benefits these unique corporate cultures demand loyalty and the maximum utilization of human potential. The private sector does not commit to the furtherance of traditional national goals. Capital does not have national loyalties or a conscience: it is only strictly enforced legislation in the interest of labour that secures social benefits for industrial workers in developed countries. This has created an environment in which the role of the state in the life of citizens has diminished, therefore the social contract between state and citizen needs to be re-examined. This needs to be done in the national context and not according to a concept of political change that has evolved elsewhere in the world.
The present regime in Pakistan (2007) did not come to power as the result of a legally sanctioned political process or a political movement. The regime appeared to have a fair idea of the results it wanted in the political and administrative spheres but obviously had very little knowledge about how to go about achieving those results. The administrative measures it wanted to introduce in order to reorganize government were a throwback to the 1960s as were the political underpinnings of those measures. The primary purpose of its initial endeavours, as it appeared, was to distance the federal and provincial governments from the general public by introducing new layers of intermediaries and institutions into the administrative setup. These included contractors, non-governmental organizations and a tier of nominated political elements. Meanwhile the new regime began to divest itself of state enterprises in order to raise capital for new ventures. Efforts were made to privatize basic services and utilities on the principle that governments should not be running businesses. Earlier, these services and utilities had been provided to the general public at subsidized rates.
The masses were told to turn to the private sector for the kind of services they had hitherto received from the government. In order to provide services, the private sector charged a premium that the general public was not in a position to pay since wages had not kept pace with inflation. The private sector was not the largest employer in the country and any relief it could provide would go to those employed by it. This left the majority of the population out in the cold. It resulted in the political alienation of marginalized groups that were not integrated in the national economy. This policy was bound to carry a penalty.
The socio-political contract between the state and citizen is a world apart from the contract between a corporation and its employees. Individuals surrender a predetermined measure of freedom and personal wealth, by accepting civil laws and taxes, to the state in return for welfare, protection and security. Governments are responsible for the welfare of their citizens. That is what makes them different from private enterprise, which keeps its eye on the bottom line and will get rid of any employee not delivering a given measure for the money paid.
In a number of cases the budgets of transnational corporations are larger than those of many small nation states and they behave like self-governing entities. In order to secure the kind of loyalty that is generally associated with citizenship and relations between state and citizen, transnational corporations provide the kind of security umbrella and social protection that states provide to citizens. They do this through arrangements with private sector organizations. In return, transnationals/corporations expect the kind of loyalty that states demand from their citizens. This has created a dilemma: could loyalty to an employer transcend loyalty to the state, especially in countries like Pakistan that are taking measures to run the state like a corporation? In the event that it does, the consequences for national security and the integrity of the body politic are bound to be disastrous. The answer to these and many similar questions will lead to new thinking on the subject only if policy planners can move out of the shadow of global power systems and into the real world.
Goodwill between the state and marginalized groups can be restored by forging a new policy and acknowledging the failure of the previous one that sought to distance itself from the public. The state has to acknowledge that it is responsible for the welfare of all its citizens not just a few institutions and activities. The resources of the state are a public trust from which benefits must be seen to flow to the public, the masses. This will require a reaffirmation of the guiding principles of the social contract between citizen and state that were broadly defined by the Quaid, Mohammed Ali Jinnah[30] in his speeches after the creation of Pakistan. He often spoke of the importance of fair play and justice. He asked the public to safeguard their rights and to guard against corruption.
During the past few years Pakistan has faced unprecedented natural disasters (earthquake, drought and floods), infrastructure failures (destruction of bridges and highways) and political upheaval (the March/07 lawyers movement, May 12/07 riots in Karachi, the Lal Masjid tragedy, suicide bombings, conflict in Balochistan and Waziristan). Given political will, national character and perceptions of nationhood crystallize in times of crisis and during their aftermath, when reconstruction takes place. Pakistan needs to shake off the constraints of the meaningless foreign pressure it has accepted as its destiny and create its own defining moment in history.

[1] Shahwar Junaid, a former Communications Media Consultant to the Pakistan Government, is an eminent writer and intellectual. Her latest book is titled Terrorism and Global Power Systems, Oxford University Press, 2006.

[1] Choudhry, G.W., India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Major Power Politics of a Divided Subcontinent. The Free Press, New York, 1975.

[2] General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1947). Originally created by the Brettton Woods Conference as part of a larger plan for economic recovery after World War II.

[3] Alnaswari, Abbas, “The Economy of Iraq: Oil, Wars, Destruction of Development and Prospects,1950-2010,” Article in  Economics and Economic History, Greenwood Press, 1994.

[4] Springborg, Robert; Henry, Clement; Karshenas, Massoud, “Oil and Democracy in Iraq,” Middle East Issues, Saqi Books, 2007,  published in association with London Middle East Institute  at the School for Oriental and African Studies.

[5] Said, Edward, The Question of Palestine, Vintage, 1992.

[6] Khalidi, Rashid, The Iron Cage: the Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, Beacon Press, 2006.,

[7] Pappe, Ilan, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld Publications, 2006.

[8] The United Nations Special Commission on Palestine recommended that Palestine be divided into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The Commission called for Jerusalem to be put under international administration. The UN General Assembly adopted this plan on 29 November 1947 as UN Resolution (GA 181). The plan for the  “partition with economic union” divided the land into several cantons…This  jigsaw puzzle would have been difficult to implement for friendly populations, and was impossible to implement given the hostility between Arabs and Jews.

[9] Sherry, Michael S., In the Shadow of War The US since 1939, Yale University Press, 1997. The author states…”War and national security became consuming anxieties providing metaphors and models that shaped major areas of civil life and public policy…”

[10] Walker, Martin, The Cold War: A History, Owl Books, 1995.

[11] Coll, Steve, Ghost Wars, Penguin (Non-Classics), 2004.

[12] Staten, Cliff, US Foreign Policy Since World War II, “An Essay on Reality’s Corrective Qualities,” American updated 8.28.07 (Foreign Service Dispatches and Periodic Reports on United States Foreign Policy Est. 1996).

[13] In a 2005 interview Phillip Agee reportedly told Hernando Calvo Ospina, quoted in “CIA’s Successors and Collaborators” Le Monde Diplomatique, August 2007.

[14] On 9 October 2003 a debate was held at Trinity College in Dublin. It was organized by  the University Philosophical Society, the proposition to be debated was: “America’s foreign policy does more harm than good.” Supporting the proposition were: William Blum, American author; David Barsamian, American radio journalist and author; and Tom Hanahoe, Irish author.

[15] For example, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation created by the Christian Democratic Union in West Germany,

[16] Blum, William, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War ii, Common Courage Press Monroe, Maine: Updated edition October 2003.

[17] Sussman, Gerald, Communication Technology and Politics in the Information Age, Sage Publications Inc.,1997.

[18] Wright, Robin, The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, Vintage, 2001.

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[20] Blanchard J, Power and the Purse: Economic Statecraft, Independence and National Security, (Case  Series on National Security),  Routledge, 2000.

[21] Fatemi, Nasrollah, S., Oil Diplomacy: powder keg in Iran, Whittier Books, 1954.

[22] Ahrari, Mohammed E., and  Bruckey, Stuart, Dynamics of Oil Diplomacy: Conflict and Consensus, (Multinational Corporation Series), Ayer Co. Publications, 1980.

[23] Arndt, H.W., Economic Development: The History of an Idea, University of Chicago Press, 1989.

[24] Schneider, Geoffrey; Knoedler, Janet; Sackrey, Charles, Introduction to Political Economy: Dollars and Sense, Economic Affairs Bureau Inc., 2005.

[25] President, World Bank, 1968-1981. Robert  McNamara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy, which developed into the discipline known today as  “political analysis.”

[26] “Food, Clothing, Shelter,”

[27] Root, Hilton, R.,  Capital and Collusion: the Political Logic of Global Economic Development, Princeton University Press, 2005.

[28] Rothstein, Hy S., Afghanistan and the Troubled Future of Unconventional Warfare, US Naval Institute Press, 2006.

[29] Stiglitz, Joseph E., Making Globalization Work, W.W. Norton (reprint 2006).

[30] Jinnah: Speeches and Statements1047-1948, Oxford University Press, 2000.