Editorial: August 2013
Thinking of Independence
Dr.Rasheed Hasan Khan
14 August comes around every year and the government of Pakistan celebrates it with great fanfare as the Independence Day of Pakistan. But the people of Pakistan wonder at the use of the term independence and look askance at the celebrations. Independence signifies liberation from colonial bonds, restoration of people’s rights as well as political, economic and social progress
But what is the reality facing the people of Pakistan, in the year 2013?
Let us retrace the journey briefly. In 1947, the colonial oppressors left by the front door and re-entered by the back door. Except for a new flag and a new national anthem nothing changed for the people of Pakistan. Indirect political, economic and military control, via client ruling classes was substituted for direct colonial control. British colonial power was weakened by the terrible destruction caused by the Second World War; therefore American Imperialism slowly elbowed it aside in its colonial possessions East of Suez. India and Pakistan were the first to be targeted for the ingress of the nascent Imperialist Power. Thus in the early 50s of the last century, the client ruling classes pushed Pakistan into the fold of Imperialist military pacts such as the Baghdad Pact and after the revolution in Iraq, into SEATO and CENTO, to fight proxy wars for Imperialism. The ruling classes of Pakistan have been faithfully fighting these wars to date, bringing economic ruin, death and destruction to the Pakistani people.
The Age of Imperialism brought with it new means of exploitation. Instead of the basic methods of exploitation such as robbing a country of its natural resources and forcing it to buy finished goods at inflated prices, the Finance Capital of the dominant Imperialist power (US) initiated the use of advanced economic means to exploit the client states. Eight international agencies such as the IMF, WTO, World Bank, Asian Development Bank etc. supply credit (so called aid), provide finances for specific projects and use trade and tariff agreements in furtherance of this strategy of exploitation. Pakistan is not only securely caught in the grip of the debt trap with an external debt burden of $ 63 billion but these international agencies have the final word on the current shape of the economy and the future development plans as well. In Pakistan, a handful of families (600 families, according to the late Dr.Mahbubul Haq in 1985)control much of the economy and society and are all too willing to fall in line with Imperialist interests , whose strategy lies in depressing wages, exploiting markets and maximizing profit. Their interests do not lie with those of the 180 million who make a subsistence living, deprived of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The prevailing system cannot remedy this situation. It thrives on it. It produces it. But, of course, in an attempt to justify imperialism and plunder, the lie is forwarded that globalization or neo-liberalism aims to lift the poor out of poverty, to liberate the masses from their burden. So the cycle goes on. Year after year, with an indifferent ruling elite and a disorganized public as the spectators
But the moment of truth is here, do the people of Pakistan break out of the web of misinformation and lies that holds them in thrall and organize themselves to change their destiny? This is the crucial question.