The 2010 monsoon rains have left death and destruction across Pakistan. The monsoon season due every year near the end of July has in 2010 produced a year’s rain in 36 hours. The Indus River which flows through Pakistan was overwhelmed leading to the flooding of many villages.
Images of the president of Pakistan shuttling European cities as his own citizens pulled dead bodies from the floods beamed around the world as Zardari confirmed once and for all his complete disregard for his own people in the face of this unprecedented disaster.
Whilst it has become common practice to throw a number of emotional rants in times of government incompetence, successive governments in Pakistan have failed the nation one after the other and one disaster after the other. On this occasion we should go beyond this. Historically national disasters, war and travesties are occasions to review national purpose and a nation’s identity. The Pearl harbour bombings of 1941resulted in the US to mobilise for WW2. The new found purpose resulted in the expansion of the national defence system and society viewed it as its duty to defend America. This new found purpose turned America into the world’s superpower.
Pakistan is at such a cross road once again where its government has shown how it really feels about its people. The 2010 floods is Zardari’s Lal musjid and we should use this national disaster to chart a new course for the Ummah of Pakistan through establishing the Khilafah. Some of the actions a future Khilafah in Pakistan could undertake are:
Currently Pakistan has an unnecessary reliance on the US. The US needs Pakistan rather than Pakistan needing the US. The US relies on Pakistan for 80% of all equipment for its war effort in Afghanistan. It also needs Pakistani territory for meeting its fuel needs. According to Strategic Forecasting, the Texas-based private intelligence agency: “Pakistan remains the single-most important logistics route for the Afghan campaign. This is not by accident. It is by far the quickest and most efficient overland route to the open ocean.” As most of Pakistan was being subsumed by the flooding America was dropping bombs on Pakistan. On Pakistan’s Independence Day 13 Muslims were killed in a US drone attack. Three missiles were fired at a village near Mirali in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan. It is not the so called extremists who are taking advantage of the floorings it is the US who is expanding is failed endeavour in Afghanistan into Pakistan. Pakistan can very easily weaken the US in the region by turning its back on it. The US is already losing the war in Afghanistan and it is only the current compliant leadership in Pakistan that allows the US to avoid embarrassment.
China from many perspectives needs Pakistan due to its strategic location. China’s navy has a strategic presence on the Mekran coast in Baluchistan, and along the Gwadar port that overlooks the supply routes for oil needed to keep the Chinese economy growing, and for checking on India’s hegemonistic ambitions. Developing strategic relations with China will allow Pakistan to move away from the US area of influence. This will at the same time complicate US plans to contain China. Pakistan should use such bargaining power with China to solve its Xinjiang separatist problem with a treaty of Hudaibiyah type deal.
Pakistan could begin to make better use of its strategic resources. Pakistan has significant quantities of copper, chromite, iron, antimony, zinc and Gold. Baluchistan has the world’s fifth largest reserves of copper and over 20 million ounces of untapped Gold reserves. Pakistan has no shortage of coal and gas. Pakistan has been blessed with the world’s largest coal field at Thar in Sindh. It comprises around 175 billion tonnes of coal which is the equivalent of 618 billion barrels of crude oil; this would meet the country’s fuel requirements for a century. Pakistan has been able to build five oil refineries and whilst their capacity is small, under an industrialisation drive these can be expanded and will make Pakistan self sufficient in energy. The shortage of oil refineries in the Middle East can potentially make Pakistan an important location for energy.
Pakistan should build upon its existing industry in order to industrialise and become self sufficient and independent. Pakistan surprisingly has managed to develop the foundations of an advanced military industry even though it has a dysfunctional economy. Pakistan began with virtually no military production capability, however it has managed to become self sufficient in areas such as aircraft overhaul, tanks, helicopters, frigates, submarine construction and fighter jets. Pakistan has on some individual military areas made stunning advances which need to be built upon. These include the development of nuclear weapons, the development of an advanced tactical ballistic missile programme, the development of a basic space programme and the development of its own drones. Such developments are the key for rapid industrialisation.
This national disaster is perfect time to end the army’s role in America’s war on terror where they can be re-deployed to reconstruction and relief efforts in the country. Politically America will undermine itself globally if it were to pressure Pakistan to leave its units where they are on the border to fight America’s war when the Muslims of Pakistan are drowning in the floods.
Whilst the UN and many around the world are organising charity, Much of Pakistani funds are going on America’s war on terror or on debt repayment which in handcuffing Pakistan for the foreseeable future. Pakistan politically can call for such debt to be written off in the face of this national disaster. This will then allow Pakistan to divert government funds to the relief effort. In this way Pakistan can come out of this disaster independent and stronger.
Whilst this is by no means an exhaustive list of actions that can be taken by Pakistan, Pakistan has all the necessary ingredients to rapidly industrialise, unify with the Muslim world and become a global player. From many perspectives Pakistan is in a much better position on the eve of development than many of the industrialised nations were. Both the US and Britain had very small populations whilst Germany and China today have energy challenges. Pakistan today has a population of 172 million where 50% of the population is under the age of 15. Only 4% of the population is over 65.
The Muslims of Pakistan must not allow this disaster to lead to some artificial change, its time the Ummah took their destiny into their own hands and made this change a reality. Those who save the deen, work to establish it and strengthen it have an exalted position in the eyes of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Their names will be remembered throughout history, with successive generations making du’a for them, and they will be highly rewarded by Allah سبحانه وتعالى. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prophesied that Constantinople will be conquered one day, and it was Muhammed al-Fatih who Allah blessed with this honour. The 2010 floods should be the last time the Muslims of Pakistan are left to fend fore themselves when their government litters their pockets.