by Shahab Usto
We lost half the state territory in 1971 and the other half is threatened by varied internal and external threats. But our state policy continues to reflect the same old duality: employing the security apparatus and building the artefacts of nationalism.
Though our economic team is busy mending the torn deal with the IMF and the military and political leaderships are busy with their US counterparts to reset the button of the Pak-US cooperation shut by the Abbottabad operation, a well-calibrated nationalist fever has touched new heights. The joint parliamentary resolution talks of cutting off NATO/ISAF supplies; the Punjab government has denounced foreign aid, of course without explaining how it would run the foreign-funded projects given the poor health of its finances; the ‘patriotic’ brigade is calling for ending relations with the US and opting for China; and Imran Khan is out staging dharnas (sit-in protests) against the Pak-US alliance on the war on terror.
Yet no one has come up with a blueprint of our national policy dealing with the war on terror and the myriad socio-political crises, using the ‘rare’ national unity that has come about in the wake of the US Abbottabad operation. The same old trick is being played upon us that the monarchs, generals and populists have played in history: using nationalist sentiments to hide rather than resolve national crises. We must avoid this trap because nationalism could be both a reality and an artefact. Let us pick up a few lessons of history to make this point.
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