Robert Fulford in the National Post, examines the evidence presented in Ahmed Rashid’s book, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan:
In rich, persuasive detail, Rashid describes corrupt leaders and a despairing population, an army that obeys orders only when it wants to, a stagnant economy, disastrous relations with neighbouring countries — and above all, a persistent national tendency, exemplified by Zardari, to blame others when anything goes wrong. Americans are often seen to be at fault, and sometimes Israelis. India is considered permanently blameworthy.
Half of school-age Pakistanis don’t attend school. At the state’s founding in 1947, 52% of the citizens were literate; in 65 years that number has been raised to 57%. In the last 20 years, Rashid notes, Pakistan has not developed a single new industry or cultivated a new crop. On the level of imagination, it has died or lapsed into a coma.
Politicians and military officers take turns forcing each other out of power; that’s the only system of regime change that operates, and it does nothing to eliminate corruption.
Rashid makes it clear that Pakistan’s core problem is as much a moral as a political failure, a matter of shirked duties, profound dishonesty and rancid hatreds that encourage murder. Reforms don’t happen, he believes, because neither political, nor military leaders have the courage, will and intelligence to carry them out.