Pakistan – ‘Break Ke Baad’ (After it ‘Breaks’) by Lt Gen P R Shankar (retd)

original article @

Editor’s Note
Pakistan is on the verge of being a failing state or about to break up, are issues that have been discussed often in the past. In this article the author brings-in comparisons of other nations that broke up and expresses his skepticism of Pakistan continuing in its current dimensions, very long. The link provided by the author to a Talk in the Carnegie Endowment would also be interesting for readers who are focused on Pakistan and dread the thought of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling in rouge hands.
Every nation lives with a dream and a vision
USA’s is to be the sole superpower, China’s is to be the next superpower,
Russia’s is to regain superpower status, India’s is to be a $10 trillion economy,
South Africa’s is to be the rainbow nation of equality.
After 72 years Pakistan has nothing left.
Is the game up?
Pakistan, the unnatural country, is in the ‘top ten’ list of failing countries since long. Its failure is recorded and researched. Not many people talk of Pakistan’s disintegration. However, this fragile country in perpetual failure might breakup anytime. Not many will believe this. But…who imagined that USSR will disintegrate? Who prophesized that Balkan countries would cease to exist till their Balkanization? It is relevant to examine Pakistan as it exists today and see if there is commonality with the breakup of the well-established and thriving countries. To tee off a thought process – the one common thread with Pakistan and the other broken countries is that they were all unnatural states.
The Pakistani Landscape
Fault Lines: Pakistan is crisscrossed by hydra-headed fault lines which are deepening and widening with time:

Image Courtesy: AFC
Baluch Separation: Baluch alienation and insurgency are gaining momentum. Economic exploitation, poor development indicators, abductions, extermination and forced disappearance of Baluchisis historical. Pakistan has even used PAF to bomb Baluchis. In 2014, BBC came out with a story –‘Baluchistan: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Other War’.Things have worsened since then. It is with good reason that Baluchistan is known as the ‘weak heart of CPEC’. With time, Baluch separatism will only aggravate.
Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM): The PTM has emerged as a major challenge for the Pakistan state. It is largely, a nonviolent human rights movement of Pashtuns; disrupting the state in a big way in Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It gathered momentum the same way as the Patidar Andolan did in Gujarat. It is the Army’s Bete Noire. This unfolding story has the potential to disintegrate Pakistan.
Tehrik–i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP): The IS and Al Qaeda will like nothing better than to take over Pakistani nuclear arsenal through the TTP and establish a radical Pakistan State. TTP has no common ground with the Afghan Taliban. It has become active again. Its activities will increase once the USA quits Afghanistan. Pakistan will find it hard to contain this challenge.
Gilgit-Baltistan: Public unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan is increasing due to various issues relating to political sidelining, disenfranchisement and lately CPEC. For the first time, one sees representatives of this area appearing in international media arguing their case.
Sindh: There has been a long-simmering demand for Sindhudesh. Given the drift in Pakistan, it could reignite through a domino effect.
Muhajirs: The Muhajirs of Pakistan have never been happy. Revival of their movement in current conditions will be an issue for Pakistan.
Economy in ICU: Empty coffers, rising inflation, devaluation, food shortages, water scarcity, failing CPEC and monumental debt has put Pakistan’s economy on a ventilator. The Army is now on the national economic recovery council. It will destroy what is left of the economy like it has destroyed everything else in Pakistan.
Political Failure: Pakistan is a political failure. Internally the mainstream political system has been undermined and sidelined by the Army to a puppet show. Externally, the state continues to sponsor terrorism and stands exposed through the FATF. Its neighbours consider it as a scourge. No one wants to touch it.
Ideological Failure: Anti-India is its existential ideology. It severed its Hindustani roots searching for an elusive Arab, Persian or a Turkic identity. Rejected by all, it is now devoid of any identity. It prides itself on being a ‘frontline’ state. It has been a strategic doormat, always left to hold the unwanted baby. The ‘frontline’ concept, a military construct, has kept Pakistan in constant conflict to benefit the Army and impoverish its people. Pakistan, the land of the pure for all Muslims is on the verge of being ‘NaPak’(impure) due to sectarian and minority cleansing. Resultant – a complete ideological failure.
Summary: Each failure examined in isolation is a domino. Each failure operates at a different level on a different wavelength for a different outcome in the domino stack. All it needs is one tap and the dominos will fall to tear the country apart.
Army: The Janus-faced entity: Saviour and Destroyer
The Army is the nation. If it slips, the nation is gone. It is the sole beneficiary of Pakistan. It has secured itself financially by skimming the budget and buttressing it with its 38 billion USD business empire. People know they get diminishing leftovers. But… there is nowhere else to go. People know that the Janus-faced Army is both the saviour and destroyer of Pakistan. People have been sold a dream that the Army will wreak revenge on India by annexing Kashmir come what may. The dream shattered when people woke up to abrogation of Article 370. India has finished the Pakistani Army politically without firing a shot. The Army has not and cannot deliver on the ultimate Pakistani dream. To add insult, the ground has shifted with a political threat to POK, Gilgit and Baltistan. The Pakistani Army cannot guarantee the integrity or security of the nation anymore. The Pakistani Army stands discredited in the people’s court. That is a dangerous position to be in. For the first time since 1971, the Janus Binder is weak. The fault lines appear to be synergizing inorganically to a critical mass beyond the Army’s capability or control.
The External Interests

Image Courtesy: AA
USA: Pakistan was always triple-A-rated – Allah, America and the Army. The USA has traditionally sought Pakistan to serve its interests in the region. The ‘Packistani’ Army always needed American oxygen to stay propped. This mutual backscratching has resulted in infectious sores for people of both nations. Future US-Pak engagement in Afghanistan, which is on the cards, will only destabilize and hasten Pakistani conditions for collapse especially along the Durand Line.
China: Pakistan facilitated China’s re-entry in world affairs. China invested heavily in CPEC.  China wants Pakistan to survive – as its colony and as a Catspaw against India. But CPEC is dead (as per Pakistani strategists) and debt is ballooning. The ‘all-weather friends’ are so dissimilar that anti – Chinese sentiment is rising. China will not be able to stabilize Pakistan when the penny drops.
Gulf Countries: The Gulf countries have bailed out Pakistan repeatedly. They have had long term interests in its survival. However, with Gulf oil-based economies under the pump, Pakistan is a luxury, which they cannot afford any more.’
India: Abrogation of Article 370has ignited a political discourse in India and Pakistan about POK, Gilgit and Baltistan. Irrespective of what happens in the Srinagar Valley, if this discourse gathers steam, break up of Pakistan is implicit. Hence the view that ‘it is in India’s interests to have a stable Pakistan’ merits a revisit. We need to prepare for turmoil. Pakistan’s descent into being another Afghanistan before a breakup is real.
Nuclear Interests: The world at large should be worried about the Pakistani nuclear arsenal falling into radicals’ hands during or post-collapse. One needs to prepare for this eventuality. As Pakistan goes from bad to worse, international plans A B & C to ensure that the nukes do not go into wrong hands need to emerge. If that is not done, the world will be caught napping. On a not so fine morning, one could expect a suitcase-sized nuclear catastrophe on any Western doorstep.
A View of the Broken Countries
USSR: USSR, the superpower born out of the October Revolution, collapsed dramatically due to two main reasons – economic problems and an undermined political structure. Compare it with Pakistan whose economy is in ICU and all mainstream politicians are marginalized or in jail with the country run by a Puppet. A communist oligarchy which held USSR together was suddenly rendered powerless. Can something similar happen to the Pakistani Army cabal? USSR had a bigger nuclear arsenal than Pakistan. It was managed. Pakistan is in a state of worse chaos than USSR was at its time of the collapse.
Yugoslavia: Yugoslavia was an artificial construct which came into existence after the First World War. It was said that Yugoslavia had eight distinct peoples in six republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia), with five languages, three religions (Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim), and two alphabets (Roman and Cyrillic), but only one Yugoslav — Tito. Similarly, there is no Pakistani after Jinnah. In the 90sYugoslavia started disintegrating through ethnic strife. Yugoslavia and Pakistan are very comparable; including Milosevic’s genocide which is akin to Pakistani genocide in Bangladesh and the ongoing one in Baluchistan.
Czechoslovakia: Another unnatural state which came into existence in 1918 was Czechoslovakia. It was born out of the collapsing Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1993, the country disintegrated into its ethnic divisions and is now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
Pakistan: Current Pakistan bears a continuum to its old avatar.  Punjabis have always sought domination by hook and crook over the rest. This contributed significantly to the breakup then. The Army catalyzed the break. The ‘Punjabis vs The Rest’continues. It is a country with no shared past, present or future. The rationale for its creation and existence is long gone. Current Pakistan has all the ingredients which broke other countries including itself. Another break up is imminent.
Coincidence of Existence and Collapse: Coincidentally all these ‘created’ countries thrived for the first few decades. Troubles started in 3-4 decades, festered for another 3-4 decades and then they altogether ceased to exist in their original form. External interests existed even then but could do very little about it. Fit the timelines and conditionalities of collapses into current-day Pakistan. An eerie resemblance emerges.
Break Ke Baad (After it ‘Breaks’)
Prepare for the Break: The thought which comes to everyone’s mind is – will Pakistan disintegrate? It might not, but it will slide downhill faster. As it does the probability of break up will increase by the day, event by event, corroborated by the timelines of other broken nations. As to when exactly the disintegration occurs is difficult to predict. However, when it happens and if it is a surprise and if we are unprepared, the price the World will pay will be steep. There are many formulations which have been made to outline the contours of the post-Pakistani collapse and the period of chaos which will follow. No issues with any or all of them. However, India should not covet any part of the post-collapse order. India needs to be prepared to deal with it. India and the world have the Bangladesh model to go by. That is the start point.
Parting Thought: Has the USA started already shaping the post break up contours through Selig Harrison’s talk at the Carnegie Endowment in 2016? Watch it on youtube and draw your conclusions. A plan is brewing somewhere, for sure! (

20 responses to “Pakistan – ‘Break Ke Baad’ (After it ‘Breaks’) by Lt Gen P R Shankar (retd)”

  1. A very nice article with original thought. I would like to point out that the author writes about Pakistan being a created country. India too is a created country at the time of partition. We were never a country before. We were a sub continent of 526 kingdoms and British ruled States. A clueless Radcliffe created two countries arbitrarily with Maharajas and Nawabs acceding to one or the other. After Independence all our separatists barring Kashmir have come on board. India will continue to exist primarily because we are an established democracy and have an apolitical Armed Forces.

  2. Looking forward to the imminent breakdown /collapse.What I can do I will to ensure/hasten it.

  3. Poorly written and badly articulated article. Cannot comprehend the writer is a retired Lt Gen. It's time retired Gen's should gracefully retire. In the article under the Sub head ” prepare for the break” he writes”However, when it happens and if it is a surprise and if we are unprepared, the price the World will pay will be steep.” 1. It's we who will pay the steep price not the world. 2. The target for any nuclear bomb will be easily in India and not the west.3. Too superficial article without any specific study, construct, bibliography or references…

  4. This is humbug. Retd Gens should be more professional. If they were, they would talk more of breakup of India than Pakistan. Why on earth are we so blind towards our future and intent on belittling our neighbours?

  5. I agree. Very unprofessional. Looks more like Modi-pleasing than anything else.

  6. For those who state India was also created after partition and was never a country, you need to study our glorious over 15000 history. Your comment is laughable indeed. Bharat's geographical extent spread over most of the far east, and parts of the Middle East. For those arm chair critics, I suggest you first earn the rank of a Lt Gen with about 40 years service protecting your cleective asses. Are you so arrogant that you question the way your security has/is provided? Have you even broken into a sweat leave alone a drop of blood for our country? All you can do is crib and complain. At least have the guts to put your names instead of going anonymous. No one has or can predict the future; not even Nostradamus. If you think you're more intelligent and can fathom the intric geo-politico-military combo, feel free to write a counter article with your hypothesis. If you can't then stop posting stupid comments and go back to watching “Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi” with your wives.. and remain unthankful for what you've received for free. When you're actually capable of giving an undated cheque to the country, the value of the cheque being your life, then and only then, have the guts to post shabby comments.

  7. Wow, some speech! To himI may not be but to you, I'm indeed indebted. He took pay for his sweat, while you do it for free. Incredible.

  8. You're welcome any time Alok. When you need more free stuff, you know exactly whom to contact. While generally “free lunches” no longer exist, I'm still very much charitable to big mouths.. They need it!

  9. To you, luv, the famous dialogue of Jab We Met, when the lovely lass is offered free unsolicited advice by the station master, 'Sir, Aap aise Gyan ke paise lete ho ya muft baantthe ho? Chillar nahin hain, na.'

  10. Penning your thoughts should be restricted to individual domain expertise, as else, it sounds infantile to many.

  11. You seem to be quite sympathetic to “our neighbor” is it? On their payroll or what? Lol.

  12. No, luv. However, I sure am anti-idiots of my country. They are doing too much harm to the relations between India and Pakistan.

  13. Hello Alok. Your lingo hints strongly at a gay inclination, lol. Your admirable quote from a tapori movie says volumes that your uniform time was spent more in front of a TV rather than doing what you were getting paid for. Quite shameful but then that's why you couldn't rise to be a General.. Just as well otherwise johnnies in your command would have had a ball with you calling the Luv.. Lol.. I'll move on to better aspects in life rather than debate with someone who prides to be anti establishment.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. A very thought provoking article with plausible outcomes. Disintegration of Pak is very much on the cards. Some believe that only the Punjab province is in the govt's control. The economic crisis in Pak is there for everyone to see. It's only a matter of 'when' and not 'whether' Pak will go down the same path as other nations did in the last century.

  17. What the general has written is absolutely talk of friendly relations with a country responsible for the mumbai attacks..pak nukes are threat to india and entire world in the jihadi hatelist america tops even india.america maintains a group of higly trained marines in karachi..they are there for swift action in any eventuality

  18. Very well written general sir.i am sure all major foreign powers including of course india & even china have their eyes on pakistan nukes and ready to act if they are likely to fall into jihadi handsIn fact joint action in such a scenario is equally possible

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