Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Random Facts on Pakistan

I don't remember if I mentioned that I picked up a copy of Musharraf's book, "In the Line of Fire". A few interesting things about Pakistan that I was not aware of before:

  • Pakistan is one of the most populous countries in the world, having more than half the population of the United States and more people than Russia
  • English is one of the two official languages of the country (the other being Urdu), and is widely used in University and by the more educated people. Over 80% of Pakistanis have a basic understanding of it.
  • Musharraf makes a distinction between "A areas" and "B areas" in his book - A areas are fully administered by the government, while B areas have varying-but-significant areas where the state is not effectively sovereign. Musharraf notes that one major goal of his administration has been to reduce the number of B areas in the country.
  • In previous Pakistani administrations, the military was often called upon to settle disputes between the Prime Minister, the President, and the Judiciary.
  • The partition of India was significantly inspired by movements in both India and Pakistan - placing blame on the Brits for it is complicated - considering it a purely British imposition would be a mistake. Instead, we may consider it to have been possibly bad judgement (although the alternative may have been worse - I don't know enough to have an opinion on that).

I am inclined to respect Musharraf almost as much as Kemal Ataturk, for at least some of the same reasons. I was surprised to read that Musharraf considers Kemal to be one of his sources for inspiration. At some point, I'll want to read some more literature critical of Musharraf...

The notion of great leaders in history is a complex one to me - could it be a sustainable model to imagine it to be in the public interest to alternate between great leaders and more elected governments? The form of not-fully-elected states outside "Western" spheres of government interests me, shines the light on political movements within western spheres from unfamiliar angles. I am sometimes surprised though how many people are willing to consider in private (and sometimes public) arrangements that are outside the pale in the American political spectrum, from anarchists to people willing to say "democracy is not right and may never be right for that society"...

(I am bothered that Musharraf abuses the term fascist in his book, using it as a synonym for authoritarianism with a personality cult rather than anything resembling fascist state/social theory, but that's a pet peeve of mine - I realise we all speak our own language though - arguing over definitions is inevitable).

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