• 20 June, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

A Mirage Called Pakistan, Why It Is, What It Is

Cdr Sandeep Dhawan (Retd) Fri, 08 Jul 2022   |  Reading Time: 7 minutes

Pakistan is known as the sick man of Asia. It is a young country blessed with natural resources and strategic locations. However, after 75 years, it lags behind all the nations in almost all the fields that got independence around the same time. The present state of Pakistan can be explained by one fact no Prime Minister has ever completed their full term in office, not even the 22nd celebrity, PM Imran Khan.

Here we try to understand why Pakistan is, what it is. A question that troubles many people, leave alone Pakistani citizens.

The False Start

The premise of Pakistan’s independence and existence is based on a false notion, overconfidence, and misplaced priorities. The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, separated from India based on religion. However, soon after separation, in his desire to be a world-class statesman, he declared that Pakistan would be a country for all religions. In the Presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947, Jinnah perorated: “Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice, and fair play to everybody. In any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.”

That false dream came crashing down within no time. Pakistan was a dictatorship by 1958, and within 30 years of its creation, it followed Sharia Law and Wahabi Islam. General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, military dictator of Pakistan, in his speech to the nation on taking over power on July 5, 1977, stated, “Pakistan, which was created in the name of Islam, will continue to survive only if it stays with Islam. That is why I consider the introduction of an Islamic system as an essential prerequisite for the country.”

With this, an unstable and volatile country was out of the frying pan and into the fire. In a short period of 75 years of Pakistan’s history, it has seen four dictators and remains a military-controlled sham democracy to date.

Stockholm Syndrome or a Country in Denial

The very area where Pakistan is today is known as the cradle of civilization. As per Koenraad Elst, a Belgian orientalist and Indologist — “this culture had evolved impressive intellectual, religious and artistic pursuits. Pre and post the early days of Islam, Indian scholars took their works in science, maths (zero, algebra, geometry, the decimal system), medicine, philosophy, etc., to the courts of other nations. Students from other countries came to study in India’s established universities. Indian children (boys and girls) were educated in the relatively widespread education system in a wide variety of subjects, e.g., science, medicine, and philosophy. India’s art and architecture were magnificent. They were prosperous people. Then came marauders from the West – slaughter, slavery, rape, violence, pillage; destruction of religious sites, art, and architecture; poverty, exploitation, humiliation, famine, forced conversion, the decline in intellectual pursuits, social destruction, and a worsening of social ills.”

The 16th Century Persian traveler Ferishta lists that the biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (1000), Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526). Well-known Indian historian and Prof. K.S. Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under Delhi Sultanate.

Mahmud of Ghazni, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, Balban, Mohammed bin Qasim, and Mohammad Tughlak have affected the psyche of this whole area so severely that the dwellers of this land started identifying themselves with the very perpetrators that had killed, plundered, raped and forcibly converted their ancestors. Such was the effect of those illiterate and uncivilized savages on the people that they started revering them as their heroes and mistook their brutality as bravery. The psychological impact has been so grave that Pakistan has named most of its missiles after these savage bandits, i.e., Ghauri, Ghaznavi, Babur, etc.

In its desire to be identified with Arabs and Turks, the Pakistani establishment continues to pollute the minds of its younger generation with a thoroughly cooked-up history. A Textbook of Pakistan Studies by M. D. Zafar states the following about Pakistan: “Pakistan came to be established for the first time when the Arabs led by Muhammad bin Qasim occupied Sindh and Multan in 711 AD. Pakistan under the Arabs comprised the Lower Indus Valley. During the 11th century, the Ghaznavid Empire comprised what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. During the 12th century, the Ghaznavids lost Afghanistan, and their rule came to be confined to Pakistan. By the 13th century, Pakistan had spread to include the whole of Northern India and Bengal. Under the Khiljis, Pakistan moved further South to include a greater part of Central India and the Deccan. During the 16th century, ‘Hindustan’ disappeared and was completely absorbed in Pakistan”.

The country doesn’t allow any discussion on Moenjodaro and the Indus Valley civilization, Aryan civilization, Mahabharata in which Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa play important roles, a thousand years of Buddhism, and the Gandharan civilization, which was spread throughout present-day Pakistan.

In Harms Way

Pakistan started showing its malevolent intent on its populace, especially on the people of Eastern Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh), Sindh, and Baluchistan, soon after their inclusion in the Union. The Declaration of Urdu as the national language resulted in the ‘Bengali Language Movement.’

Bengalis also felt under-defended during the Indo-Pak war of 1965. Bengalis abhorred seeing the slow pace of help after the Super cyclone of late 1970 from the central government. The schism was building up and came to the fore when Paki dictator Yahya Khan nullified the December 1970 general election won by Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. West Pakistan considered the people of the East to be second-class citizens. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, who served as head of the Pakistani Forces in East Pakistan in 1971, referred to the region as a “low-lying land of low-lying people.”

The most controversial president of the United States, Richard Nixon’s support of Pakistani generals, resulted in the loss of lives of 3,000,000 Bengalis and the rape of 400,000 Bengali women by the Western Pakistani troops.

Bangla Genocide: Massacre at Dhaka University by Pak Army, 1971

A similar feeling was amongst Baloch nationals of being left out, slighted, and insulted by the Punjabi-dominated Pakistani political system. Baluchistan is a mineral-rich province with nearly $1 trillion of iron, copper, and cobalt deposits. Despite that, Baluchistan remains the most backward and impoverished in the region. Over 18,000 Balochis have gone missing or killed by the Pakistani army in the recent past.

The Sindhi and Muhajir (Urdu-speaking migrants) narratives also go on similar lines. They never got their full due, were poorly treated, and were made to feel lesser martial than Punjabi. Muhajir student leader Altaf Hussain started Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in 1978 to get Muhajirs their rightful place in Pakistan. Over 6,000 Muhajirs have lost their lives at the hands of the security forces of their own country.

The minorities of Pakistan have been hit the hardest. Their population has fallen from 24 percent to less than two percent in 75 years.

Grandiosity in Afghanistan

Photo credit – rferl.org – Mass Grave: Afghanistan 1990

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 to prop up the Marxist regime. Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency, the ISI, with weapons and funds supplied by the CIA, operated training camps in the country’s tribal areas. They gave guerrilla training to the mujahideen to oppose the Soviet forces.

The Soviets could have remained in Afghanistan for several more years. However, Gorbachev realized the futility of the presence of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, terming it a ‘bleeding wound.’ The Soviet troops withdrew and left Afghanistan by February 1989. This created misconceptions in the Pakistani establishment’s mind. They assumed that USSR suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the Pak army. Pakistan started taking extreme pride that it had defeated a superpower. They are selling the same misconception to their populace to date.

To satisfy the power-hungry Pakistani generals, in the brutal nine-year conflict, one million civilians lost their lives.

Lost Campaigns: Punjab And Jammu and Kashmir

 In 1971, the Richard Nixon administration initiated a “covert action plan” in collaboration with General Yahya Khan’s government to encourage a separatist movement in Punjab, India. Khalistani extremists with Pakistani military support and modern, sophisticated weapons started targeting the Nirankaris, Hindus, and the government machinery. Ultimately the terrorists also targeted other Sikhs with opposing viewpoints. This led to the loss of public support, and by 1993 the militancy in Punjab was over. Over 30,000 Indians lost their lives in this separatist movement at the behest of Pakistan.

When the Pakistani generals sensed the failure of the Khalistan movement, they revived insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. For Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were never part of India. They forget that many Indian dynasties from time immemorial had ruled it. Maurya Empire, Gupta Empire, Kushan Empire, Karkota Empire, and Sikh Empire are some recent examples of Indian kings ruling Kashmir.

The result of Pakistan’s misadventures was the loss of over 50,000 lives in 30 years. Pakistan-sponsored terrorism also displaced over 300,000 Pundits (the original sons of the soil) from their ancestral domain to various refugee camps all over North India.

A Manichean Generation

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, architect of the country’s atomic program, in an interview with the Manchester Guardian in 1965, stated, “if India built the nuclear bomb, we will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.” Pakistan is on the brink of eating grass. Economically the country is on the verge of bankruptcy; foreign reserves are down to abysmal levels, and businesses are shutting down at breakneck speed. Pakistan’s ‘bleed India with a thousand cuts’ policy—while denying that such a policy exists—is in shambles. It has forced its generations onto a vengeful cul-de-sac.

Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, will not be able to fool the Pakistani citizens with the promise that the Army will not interfere in politics. The public knows that Prime Ministers will come and go, but the real power will remain with the Army generals. These generals will continue maneuvering between the West and China to garner maximum benefit for themselves.

While other nations are building their industries and economy, the Pakistani Army’s obsession with controlling the country by promoting animosity with India and other neighboring nations, desire to sit at the high table with the big nations, and expand its area of influence beyond its capability, has taken Pakistan to the point of no return. It looks like the fate of Pakistan will keep oscillating between a failed state and the dream of a regional power with no end in sight.

“A fool’s dream is a wise man’s nightmare” ~ Insightful Geopolitics


A veteran of the Indian Navy, Cdr Dhawan served in the Navy from 1988 to 2009. He was a Maritime Reconnaissance Pilot and a Flying Instructor. He is a geopolitical analyst and writes for various online websites and organizations.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Chanakya Forum. All information provided in this article including timeliness, completeness, accuracy, suitability or validity of information referenced therein, is the sole responsibility of the author. www.chanakyaforum.com does not assume any responsibility for the same.

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Arvind pande

Aug 09, 2022
A stupid, poor n uneducated neighbor will always harm our nation. N if it's our enemy it will try its monkey tricks to harm us... it's their rightful policy. If as a nation we don't curb them in bud then it's our failure. Very soon Pakistan will break into small states n few of them will be our friendly neighbour. HOPE it happens soon...


Aug 04, 2022
Brilliantly analysed. Brief , to the point and factually covered. Pakistan needs to understand that it can survive if and only if it gets the blessings of its super powerful big brother, India and no other country, however powerful can save it in the long run.

P Vinayagam

Jul 30, 2022
Interesting and informative perception on a sick nation, created to satisfy the greed for power of a sick man based on a sick principle. It is destined to die and disintegrate.... The process of it's decay is bound to cause profound misery not just to it's own citizens but to the neighbourhood too...

Air Cmde James Sebastian, VM (Retd)

Jul 23, 2022
A good analytical on Pakistan. Makes one wonder how close is it's fragmentation.

Gulpreet Singh

Jul 13, 2022
Very precise and concise work of writing. As always, it’s in plain, simple language without beating around the bush. More than others, I wish the reality of sickness (sic!) which grips Pakistan is realised by Pakistani awaam and they have the courage to rise against it. Otherwise, the Generals and Mullas will keep ruling the roost at the cost of general public. As of now, the only credit which Pakistan can lay claim to is it’s nuisance value to the world.

Deovrat Pagay

Jul 10, 2022
An excellent perspective!!

Raj shekhar Mehta

Jul 10, 2022
Excellent hard hitting article based on facts of history. Pakistan was born in negativity and lives in negativity. The only remedy for this cancerous growth on the body of South Asia is its dismemberment into four pieces - Baluchistan, Sindh , Pakhtunistan and what is left to be left for punjabis as Pakistan . POK Gilgit Baltistan to be merged with J&K. Wishful thinking but nothing less would work either !

Captain PK Misra

Jul 10, 2022
A well researched and interesting article.

Kalidan Singh

Jul 10, 2022
Thank you for a well written article. Now explain this: here is Pakistan, a basket case country, that runs a very successful insurgency in Kashmir. Their state-sponsored insurgents have killed over 20,000 of our braves (many officers). We can do nothing? Gilgit Baltistan (where my people are from, where one of our key temples lies in ruin) is fully militarized by Pakistan and China. We can do nothing? Where is our insurgency? No one respects a country that cannot deter its enemies (we have no deterrence for Pakistan, they continue their insurgency, control of India's underworld, their terrorism; we have no real deterrence for China - they come and grab what they want in terms of land, and we retreat). It is not enough to say Pakistan, for good reasons, is a sick basket case country. Granted, it is. It is also not my problem. My problem is that I want to live in a country that does not talk this much as we do, does not mistake Ballywood scripted movies and posturing on screen as reality, and pre-empts and produces an effective deterrence and responds 10x times, not in the dead of night (and certainly not passively accept attacks as we did on 26/11). What on earth are we doing about this?

Sandeep Misra

Jul 09, 2022
Very well articulated, Sandeep!

Wendell Bruges

Jul 09, 2022
I am not well versed in the history of South Asia. Thank you for educating me, and wow, what the hell of an education it was. Kudos to you, Commander, for bringing out such minute details flawlessly.

Ravi mathews

Jul 09, 2022
Well analysed on past occurrences in pakistan

Rajeev Dalal

Jul 09, 2022
A well analysed brutality honestly researched article .

Sameer tiwari

Jul 09, 2022
Very well written article…Capt Sandeep as always :)


Jul 09, 2022
Short and concise reality about Pakistan. If only the ordinary citizen of Pakistan gathers the courage to go against its Army and radical Islamic clerics will this nation progress. Else, it's likely that they will remain at the level they have reached today. The only way Pakistan can make some progress is to work amicably with their neighbor India and go along with it ......... just like Bangladesh is now doing and making progress. Otherwise, there are chance this nation will implode and breakdown into a few independent nations. Let's see what time comes up with.

Raman Gupta

Jul 08, 2022
A deep dive at the ailments of Pakistan. These facts are widely known, but the Pak population continues to be played, partly through their ignorance, partly through the machinations of the ruling class.

Cdr Deepak Singh (Retd.)

Jul 08, 2022
Another very good article Sandeep. History reminded. I have few points:- a. Ask Mr Zafar for his family tree. A Pakistani Journalist accepted that all were Hindus? Arab nations say that only they are Muslim. b. Not the large gap between the Western attacks, hundred plus years mostly. And the Indian history of west of those periods is missing. c. Nixon and the US thereafter depends on Pakistan for intelligence about the Muslim world. More than Nixon it was his aid Henery Kissinger who was responsible for the most, including the 1971 in which the US fleet landed up in Bay of Bengal. Russia's help is very discussed. Much more, but I am tired of typing. Keep Smiling and writing more articles.

Ajay Sharma

Jul 08, 2022
A very well analyzed psychology of this country. Pakistan's army's obsession to control the country politically is leading it to disaster. Whlie they consider India as their only enemy, Islamisation is the real dragon. It is a country heading for civil war and further disintegration.


Jul 08, 2022
Short, succinct and to the point. Well done Sir!

Praveen Bhaik

Jul 08, 2022
What an excellent analysis. So simple and yet so true. Wish the educated there could see through the fog created by the their Army, only to fool the ordinary citizens.


Jul 08, 2022
It is no secret that Army controls the political hierarchy of Pakistan and that the country is a failed state. It doubles the threat to India as their trained soldiers could be used as mercenaries by vested interests in India. we see how mercenaries are being used in Ukraine against Russian forces and their abilities and capabilities.

Maj AK Singh

Jul 08, 2022
A very well analysed perspective of evolution and present state of Pakistan. The theological governance and need to placate all gps lead to the prevailing situation.

Debasish Acharya

Jul 08, 2022
Very detailed and informative..


Jul 08, 2022
Cdr Dhawan is one of the most brilliant strategy writers! He has the unique ability to simplify strategy, research in detail, and come with clear 'so whats'!! Hope our security establishment takes full benefit of his expertise.

KD Singh

Jul 08, 2022
A good analysis of the historical problems plaguing Pakistan. They are like a Jealous relative who will cut their nose to spite their face. High time the public realise that the real enemy is the Pak army which has cornered majority of the country’s resources leaving little for education, healthcare, food security and development. If the continue on this path they will be but a minor irritant to us but will paint themselves into oblivion.

Aninda Mukherjee

Jul 08, 2022
Very well analysed. The story of dreams destroyed, ideals crushed and the birth of a rogue nation.


Jul 08, 2022
Pakistan started as a religion based state but got embroiled in super power superamacy struggle,added to it the corrupt politician and dictator, it was perfect recipe for disaster

Colonel Venkat Harish Gatti

Jul 08, 2022
Well written article.


Jul 08, 2022
Well researched piece!

Wing Commander Pankaj Gupta

Jul 08, 2022

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