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The Future of Pakistan – By: Stephen P. Cohen

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

Irrespective of what Mr Cohen predicts, Pakistan needs help of its own intelligentsia in correcting the house… any catastrophe that may hit the country from the Afghanistan-like state collapse to the Bangladesh-like break up, the ultimate sufferers would be the people… there could be mass killings… there could be mass migrations… there could be hunger and diseases in the wake of increasing eating mouths and shrinking economy… it is obvious Pakistan has failed to achieve state cohesion… the degree of discontent is much higher… killings in the name of religion, sects, politics, ethnicity are on the rise… most of the population is ill-equipped for the modern world because of illiteracy… more killings are taking place in Pakistan’s urban centers than in tribal areas because of people living in cities have yet not developed urban and metropolitan culture… intolerance is at the highest peak… the writer blames Pakistan has proved itself an irresponsible state in the community of nations because it harbours militants who then create troubles for other countries… as a result, the country has earned more enemies than friends in the world… why Pakistan has reached this state of affairs…?.. the writer traces the set of symptoms to its birth from a non-Muslim country… since then it revolves its survival to a very narrow-minded ideology of getting national cohesion that one religion (Islam), one language (Urdu), one national identity (Pakistani) and one patriot army is the binding force… the state is not ready to move away from this unnatural oneness… while on the ground natural Pakistan is different… it is home to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Pakistan’s 93 per cent people does not speak Urdu, Sindhis have 10,000-years old national identity of being Sindhi… Pakistani identity is only 64-year old… Punjabi elite hugged this policy of cohesion to get maximum economic benefit… their chauvinistic approach considers others as unpatriotic…

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What American Think-Tank thinkers think about how Pakistan will evolve in future? Part -1

By Khalid Hashmani

As the bitterness continues to rise in the Pakistan-USA relationship so does the interest of American Think-Tankers in the future of Pakistan. Last Monday (December 5, 2011), the Brookings Institution launched a new book about Pakistan titled “The Future of Pakistan”. In this book, 17 experts from Pakistan, India, Europe, and the USA looked at the various scenarios in the context of how Pakistan is likely to evolve and develop in the near future. A well-known scholar and US Policy Advisor Stephen Cohen headed this project. The launch event consisted of two panels who discussed different aspects of the project and some of the conclusions.

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Karachi is the broken heart of Sindh!

By Khalid Hashmani

As relationship between Pakistan and the USA moves downwards, Washington DC is once again seeing a flurry of seminars, discussions and briefings organized by various Think-tank and academic institutions. One such event was focused on astonishing expansion of Karachi. The event was inspired by a recent book called “Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi” written by Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition. Using this book as a backdrop, Global Economy and Development and Metropolitan Policy at Brookings Institution organized a discussion on November 29 with Steve Inskeep. Other panelists included Stephen Cohen, Alan Berube, and Shuja Nawaz. Johannes Linn moderated the discussion. One highlight of the discussion was a rebuttal by a Sindhi-American that “Karachi is the heart of Sindh and Sindhis will never allow separation of Karachi from Sindh” when panelist Shuja Nawaz stated that a proposal to make Karachi as a separate province along with creating other provinces. (Full audio and details at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/1129_instant_city.aspx).

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Karachi could lead growth of Pakistan

Steve Inskeep, a reporter for more than twenty years has been a frequent visitor to Karachi and other parts of South Asia. His interest in Karachi intensified after he attended the trial of killers of journalist Daniel Pearl in the city. In 1947, Karachi’s population was only 400,000 lived in Karachi; most of who proudly identified themselves as Sindhis. The UN population figures show Karachi’s population to be around 13.1 million. The population growth has been astonishingly high with migrants coming from other provinces and neighboring countries. Every imaginable problem of instant urbanization can be seen in Karachi. Steve gave an example of person who migrated from Swat some years ago. Originally, he came to Karachi for better education but ended up opening an import-export wholesale business. The rampant corruption touches every aspect of life. A place where already rich politicians, political parties, military and civilian officials, and gangsters become super rich by using their influence to take over large pieces of land including parks, schools, playgrounds, or any land or condemned building and then sell the land in small parcels at huge profits. A city that has become as ungovernable as the central government and sees constant interference from Pakistan’s military and other semi-organized groups. Unlike other mega cities in India like Mumbai where economic growth is impressive, Karachi remains stagnated under the weight of unhealthy competitive interests, ethnic rivalries, and religious differences. In concluding his presentation, Steve said if there is a way that Pakistan could get back to the path of economic growth, Karachi will lead the way that growth. In an answer to a question, Steve talked about Karachi could follow the footsteps of Hong Kong and become a big commercial center in South Asia if Pakistan gets its act together and manages its relationship with India more cooperatively.

In some ways Karachi-Sindh is like Los Angles and New York

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Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration?

Interviewee:
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Interviewer:
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

In the first few days of this year, Pakistan’s coalition government was thrust into crisis after losing a coalition partner, and then a top politician–Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–was assassinated. A leading expert on the country, Stephen P. Cohen, says these incidents are symptoms of the profound problems tugging the country apart. “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China. …
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