Ideological states have not fared well over the last one hundred years and for Pakistan to achieve stability, security, and prosperity, the country should reconceptualise itself as a territorial, not ideological state, argues Husain Haqqani in his new book ‘Reimagining Pakistan’.
Haqqani unveiled his book at an event organised by the Center for International Security Studies at the prestigious Princeton University.
“The gap between how Pakistanis want Pakistan to be viewed and how the rest of the world views the country is widening and Pakistan’s intelligentsia must seriously consider why the country is deemed dangerous or on the brink of failure by others,” the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States said.
Haqqani, who is currently the Director of South and Central Asia at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, said it was not enough to reject others’ perceptions as unfounded and biased.
He noted that Pakistan had the world’s sixth largest population and army but lagged behind in most international rankings that measured a nation’s success, including education, economic productivity, and opportunities for citizens.
He predicted that unless Pakistan drastically altered its course, the country would come under a greater pressure from the rest of the world while also having to deal with internal pressures from a growing population divided by sectarianism and ethnicity, and without economic prospects for most people.
“It is true that Pakistan’s direction can best be changed by Pakistanis,” he told the audience, including a large number of Pakistani students and guests, at the Ivy League University while introducing his new book ‘Reimagining Pakistan – Transforming a dysfunctional nuclear state’.
“But genuine debate inside Pakistan remains impossible as long as the nation is mired in a national narrative of hyper-nationalism, grievance and conspiracy theories,” he warned.
Haqqani said that Pakistan had developed a national ideology to survive after being carved out of British India but now, seventy years later when more than 94 percent of Pakistan’s population has known no other citizenship except Pakistan’s, that ideology has become a huge burden.