Useful Notes: Pakistan
"Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three."Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان Pākstān), officially known as The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاكستان, Islāmī Jumhūriyah-yi Pākstān), is a nation in South Asia that was formed from the Muslim majority provinces of The Raj. At the time of its formation, it consisted of two halves (East and West Pakistan) separated by 2000 miles of India. Following the mass murder and rape committed by the Pakistani Army in 1971, East Pakistan declared its secession, and, with India's help, gained independence through the Bangladesh Liberation War, after which West Pakistan became just Pakistan and East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Pakistan is nominally The Federation, though in practice its more like The Republic (and to its detractors, The Empire) consisting of the four major provinces:
- Punjab, the industrial and agricultural heartland and most populated of the provinces. Pakistan's cultural center, Lahore, is its capital.
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the smallest province by land area and heavily afflicted by the War On Terror due to the many Islamist militias stationed in the area and the drones that have come to hunt them. Peshawar is its capital.
- Balochistan, the largest province by land area and the smallest by population, it also happens to be the most resource-rich. Currently involved in a heavy insurgency by both Baloch seperatists and anti-Shia militias. Quetta is its capital.
- Sindh, home of Pakistan's largest city and business hub, Karachi. Also the second most populous of the provinces.
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), only nominally under control of Islamabad since even colonial times and is currently a hotbed of militancy alongside neighboring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
- Islamabad Capital District, sandwiched between the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces and containing the purpose-built Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
- Azad Kashmir
- Muhammad Ali Jinnah - Pakistan's founder and first governor-general. Also known as the Quaid-e-Azam. Died almost exactly a year after independence.
- Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan - Pakistan's first military dictator, ruling from 1958 to 1969. Before that was Pakistan's first native to head the Pakistan Army, and before that served with Kipling's Finest against the Japanese in Burma during WWII. Under his rule, Pakistan joined the West's side in the Cold War, the economy did well (at the cost of increasing the wealth gap), before he screwed up by fighting a war with India in 1965 that ended up crashing Pakistan's economy and sowing the seeds of the Bengali independence movement. He was relieved from his position by the junta in 1969.
- General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan - Ayub's successor, he ruled from 1969 til 1971. Presided over what was to be Pakistan's first free and fair elections...that subsequently led to political deadlock and forced him to choose sides, eventually causing the disasterous 1971 war that broke Pakistan in two and caused him to resign in disgrace. Also served with Kipling's Finest prior to independence.
- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto - First leader of post-1971 Pakistan, and first leader of the Pakistan People's Party. Nationalized many institutions and industries, creating many enemies. Overthrown in 1977 and subsequently executed by his successor.
- General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq - Currently the record holder of longest lasting leader of Pakistan at 11 years from 1977 til his mysterious death in 1988. Known for his involvement in opposing the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and for his Islamization policies.
- Benazir Bhutto - First woman prime minister of Pakistan (from 1988 until 1990 and from 1993 until 1996), and first female leader in the Muslim world in modern times, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Assassinated in a bombing in 2007.
- Nawaz Sharif - The Rival to Benazir Bhutto and leader of his own faction of the Pakistan Muslim League. Started out as a steel magnate. Credited for attempting peace with India (before Kargil ruined it) and for detonating the world's first "Islamic nuke". Overthrown during his second term. Currently Prime Minister of Pakistan for an unprecedented third term.
- General Pervez Musharraf - Called The Commando for his stint in the Pakistan special forces, he was Pakistan's 4th military dictator and harbinger of the 3rd military era of Pakistan. His supporters consider him a Pakistani Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or George Washington. His critics put him somewhere between General Ripper and Miles Gloriosus. His tenure is most noted for his involvement in the War On Terror as a close ally of George W. Bush. Was later forced to resign and go into exile following his ouster of the Chief Justice of the Pakistan Supreme Court in 2007, his fate later sealed by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto later that year. Eventually came back to run in the 2013 elections, only to be subsequently arrested and put on trial for treason. Mostly because he thought he was still popular based on ''facebook likes''.
- Asif Ali Zardari - Widower of Benazir Bhutto and father of the current party chairman. Served as President of Pakistan after Musharraf and is generally considered not only an accidental president, but possibly the most corrupt and incompetant leader in recent memory.
Examples of the following
- Arch-Enemy: India, ever since its founding (but even more so since India helped Bangladesh gain independence from Pakistan in a war in 1971). The never-ending Kashmir conflict ensures this will continue for some time.
- Artistic License – Economics: Pakistan has some of the least taxation in the world, but operates several loss-making public enterprises, does not operate them well, and depends on foreign aid to pay the bills. All the while the politicians and the military both spend like kings. The public, at least in response to such stories in local media, is not amused.
- Boom Town: Karachi, Pakistan's Mega City/Merchant City and main port, is also one of the largest and fastest-growing in the world. Mind, prior to independence, the city was a relatively sleepy port town.
- The City vs. the Country: A big component of Sindhi politics, rightly or wrongly, thanks to the ethnic makeup within Karachi being vastly different from Sindh where it resides and the power dynamics between the two. Plays out more generally with the rest of Pakistan in terms of politics since, in the countryside, only the tribal landlords have any power to get things done while in the city, it's more (but not completely) egalitarian.
- Cold War: It was one of the fronts of the conflict, on the side of the West, to prevent the Soviets from getting a warm water port and the ability to seal the Gulf. It also was instrumental in opening ties between the United States and China during the 1970s.
- Deal with the Devil: Many Pakistanis are not overly fond of the country's alliance with the United States and angry protests about American involvement in Pakistan are routinely held in major cities. Conversely, Pakistan's support for the Taliban generates mixed feelings — sure they were religious loons, but they were able to keep Afghanistan stable and, more importantly, ensures that millions of refugees did escape to Pakistan as what had happened when the Soviets invaded.
- Likewise, this was the West's general attitude towards Pakistan for most of the alliance's history, even though India was backed by the Soviets. The Bengali Genocide just was where it got too obvious to be ignored.
- The Deadliest Mushroom/Nuclear Option: Pakistan is quite proud of its nuclear arsenal, seeing it as the best guarantor of national security. Needless to say, Indian (and American) policymakers are not thrilled about this, especially the prospect of the stockpile being unsecured.
- Further compounded that it is currently the fastest growing arsenal of nuclear warheads in the world.
- It should be noted that historically, Pakistan only ever became involved in nuclear weapons after India started making tests and developing them.
- Enforced Cold War: The relationship between the US and Pakistan has devolved into this due to the War in Afghanistan... mostly since the death of Bin Laden.
- The conflict between India and Pakistan has likewise degenerated into this. On one hand, both sides are nuclear powers and there is the risk of Mutually Assured Destruction; on the other virtually every return to open hostilities by the Pakistanis has led to them being curb stomped by the Indians.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: For years Pakistanis are indoctrinated into the belief that anything even mildly critical of Pakistan is, in fact, the work of certain elements hostile to Pakistan, such as a conspiracy hatched by a "foreign hand" or, more specifically, a "CIA-RAW-Mossad Nexus"note .
- Fighting for a Homeland: Pakistan's reasons for supporting Kashmiri militants, at least in public. Also true of Baloch militants.
- Fun with Acronyms: Pakistan's name (written using the letters P-A-K-S-T-A-N of Urdu) an acronym of the nation's constituent territories: Punjab, Afghania (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Kashmir, Sindh and Baluchistan. The i was added to allow for easy pronunciation. It also coincides with the Urdu word for "land of the pure".
- Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Legally, the National Assembly and Senate have supreme authority to do essentially whatever they please. However, partisan politics, personal rivalries/vendettas, incompetence, corruption, and, above all, fear of the powerful Pakistan Army (whose first coup back in the 1950s was caused by the other aforementioned factors) prevents them from actually exercising it, to the detriment (and sometimes benefit) of the public.
- Obstructive Bureaucracy/Beleaguered Bureaucracy: The civilian governments are infamous for either being carelessly incompetent or grossly self-serving. It is the largest reason why the Army has been able to successfully launch three coups, each lasting roughly a decade. Because of this history, the local media tend to disparage ALL Pakistani politicians in the same brush, with varying degrees of accuracy.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Generally known in Pakistan as the "Establishment", it is said to consist of the military, its clandestine agencies, and (mentioned less often) certain influential politicians and businessmen. It is widely considered to be the true power behind the government, be it military or civilian. Opinions vary greatly as to its effect, purpose, moral stance and competence. The same trope is also applied to the top generals in the Pakistan Army, whenever they have a Corps Commanders meeting.
- Our Founder: Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
- Patchwork Map: Due to straddling the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan is a real life version of this with desolate wasteland to the west, lush farmland to the east, the Mega City of Karachi and the sea shore to the south, snowcapped mountains to the north, and the purpose-built capital of Islamabad. Of course if you only follow the Western media its all desert.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Pashto inhabitants of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and other northern regions. Also to a lesser extent Punjabis.
- Qurac: Though not actually a Middle Eastern nation, it is often portrayed that way by Western news and entertainment media, simply because it is a Muslim state. This trope gets most Pakistanis really really really angry. Even worse is when some clueless individuals call Pakistanis Arabs, and their language Arabic. In truth, English is the official language of businesses and the government — after all, in a country with over seventy languages, opting for their old colonial masters' language is a better alternative to being accused of favoritism for a local language or two.
- State Sec: the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
- Urban Segregation: Of the ethnic variety within Karachi, which sometimes leads to flareups.
- Vetinari Job Security: The Pakistan military's tactic of choice whenever they run afoul of the public during their stints in power. And also used with politicians with regards to the perks they enjoy as an organization.
- The War on Terror: With Afghanistan to the north and terrorists attacking its borders, Pakistan is one of the lynchpin states in this conflict and features a lot in related news, more so when Osama bin Laden was killed by a covert US mission in Abbottabad, a military city 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Islamabad.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Aside from al-Qaeda, the country is home to quite a few militant and/or Islamist groups (Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Balochi separatists and others). Opinions vary widely on them.
The green field symbolizes Islam, the majority religion of Pakistan, while the white stripe at the hoist denotes religious minorities. The crescent and star are also symbols of Islam, but each also represent progress and light, respectively.