Pakistan’s crisis matters even if it’s not existential2 min read 11 May 2023, 11:51 PM IST
The country faces a ‘polycrisis’ of new proportions that may or may not be traceable to the ideological basis of its creation but India must watch it closely for geopolitical implications
Like the case of a night guard that raised no alarm, the term ‘existential crisis’ has gone missing in Indian analysis of Pakistan’s trajectory. This has been so for most of the past decade, partly because it had begun to exude the air of a dial-a-dilemma cliche, but more likely for its loss of applicability. The ‘crisis’ bit endures, or course, as seen in this week’s eruption of protests and clashes in Pakistan over the detention on possibly fake graft charges of Imran Khan, a cricket star and popular leader who was ousted from power last year, pushing him and legions of followers into a standoff with an army that has either puppet-played the country’s politics or directly governed it (if that’s the right term) for much of its 75-year history. With its long neglected but lately battered economy at an especially weak point, financial rescues proving as elusive as policy fixes and China’s shadow on its autonomy likely to lengthen even as climate change plays its own havoc, Pakistan clearly faces a ‘polycrisis’ of worrisome proportions. Whether ‘existential’ retains any relevance as a prefix for it, though, is not so clear.