Friday, December 10, 2010

The Pakistani establishment is uninterested in transformational leadership

When one looks at Pakistan, one sees little of comfort. Pakistan is a poster child for what not to do in a modern nation state.

I am the first to admit India is far from perfect and yet most Indians I know see Pakistan as a living example of what would happen if India went very badly wrong. Other Indians I know even suggest that we study Pakistan to find out how things could go wrong in India if we become that careless.

Leadership of society in Pakistan remains hostage to a feudalistic thinking. Irrespective of whether it is the militarised bureaucracy or mainstream democratic parties or the supposedly high-minded religious leadership - they all think like corrupt landlords and treat the Pakistani people like serfs and cattle.

The people of Pakistan, who outnumber their feudal lords by about a million to one obviously resent this state of affairs. They want a more equitable social order where they enjoy the same rights and respect as other human beings in this world. When these desires are not satisfied, the ordinary Pakistani's mind (again quite naturally) wanders into the darker spaces of the human soul.

The Pakistani establishment deliberately exploits these forays into the moral abyss . By transforming the natural frustration of the Pakistani people into an outright hatred of an external enemy, the Pakistani establishment fashions a weapon out of domestic public opinion to hold at the international community's throat.

What ordinary Pakistanis want more than water or food or medicines is a leadership that treats them with honour and provides them with basic sense of human dignity - a leadership that allows them to feel a sense of pride that revolves around who they are - and not around who they are supposed to be.

This is a gigantic shift from the way things were/are done in Pakistan.

I feel the Pakistani establishment as it currently stands cannot provide this kind of transformational leadership. The establishment is far too status quoist. The entire setup is simply keen to keep engineering terrorist acts inside or outside Pakistan to keep itself in power.

I cannot bring myself to sympathise with such behaviour.

The recent State Department cables released on the Wikileaks site bring into focus the growing sense of weariness in American observers in the region. This clarity is beneficial from India's perspective.

What is however even more telling is the Pakistani response to Cablegate. The newspapers have run every cable leak story that discredits anyone but the Pakistani military. And when confronted with the fact that the cables offer an extremely candid view of the Pakistani military and its sordid relationship to terrorist groups - the Pakistani establishment has responded with a pathetic attempt at psyops. The establishment asked its mouthpieces to go town pretending that there were cables there that were highly critical of the Indian Army and its human rights record in Kashmir. The plain stupidity of this kind of behaviour was apparent to all when these people got caught faking the cables.

Sadly even this humiliation is going to do little to change the mindset of the Pakistani establishment.

It is unclear what if anything is ever going to bring them around to the path of sanity.