Pakistan and Bangladesh are separately traveling in the same direction, toward erasure from the political maps of the future. Pakistan ceased to exist 40 years ago. The secession, in 1971, of East Pakistan on the grounds of being Bengali rather than Muslim conclusively disproved the Two Nation Theory—even for those who had believed in it in the first place. If Pakistan wasn’t the homeland for South Asia’s Muslims, what was it? After the war, Pakistan could have rethought the basis of its existence as a political entity but didn’t. Instead, the Pakistan which remained tried to carry on, pretending that it was still the land of South Asia’s Muslims, just smaller … It never figured out why it should exist …
Amidst a depressing assessment of the ruin wrought by Pakistan’s floods, The Economist nevertheless pronounced a vote of confidence in the country’s survival: “Pakistan is not about to collapse: a prospect first aired at its bloody creation and dusted off for every war, coup and calamity that has followed.” (Leader, 18-24 September 2010). Indeed, India, now much feted as an “emerging power” had also been written off by many at its amputated start. So had Bangladesh when it came into being in 1971, famously dismissed by Henry Kissinger as a “basket case”. All three have managed to survive endless conflict, poor governance and natural disasters, and some of their citizens have notched up world-class achievements in a variety of fields, …
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