Pakistan, a Political Study

Pakistan, a Political Study

Pakistan, a Political Study

Pakistan, a Political Study

Excerpt

During the decade following the end of World War II, many countries which had previously been ruled by the nations of Western Europe obtained independence. They proceeded from a state of tutelage to full self-government in a matter of two or three years. There was no time for the slow growth of political institutions such as had occurred in Europe or America.

The political ideas of these countries are based largely on what they had learned from their colonial masters. These ideas were coloured for them by the experience gathered in the struggle for independence. They had learned to criticize the institutions of Western democracy and, in part, to manipulate those institutions with a view to the embarrassment of their rulers. But they had no alternative system of government to put in the place of parliamentary democracy. Consequently these states have formed their constitutions after the general pattern of Britain and Western Europe, and they are trying to operate a system that had its origins in a vastly different social and political environment.

Pakistan is one of those countries. It is of particular interest, because it was brought into being only indirectly as the result of the demand of an Asian people to terminate European domination. It became an independent state because the Muslims of India were not prepared to accept independence from British rule within the framework of a united India, where the Hindus would be in a majority. This factor adds a feature to the politics of Pakistan that is not present in the other newly freed Asian states.

The period from 1947 to 1957 has been one of change and uncertainty. There have been few fixed ideas and few institutions whose validity has not been open to question. In Pakistan political parties have waxed, waned and suffered eclipse. Political leaders have argued, intrigued and reduced each other to impotence. Men of religion have laid claim to complete authority and have achieved almost none. In the meanwhile the state has been run . . .

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