Pakistan lies in a region that can easily be regarded as the most complicated and difficult with respect to regional / global geo-politics. With a 3300 KMs of Indian border in East, 2640 KMs border with Afghanistan in West, 600 KMs border with China, 750 KMs long border with Iran and 1000 KMs long coast, Pakistan remains in a cauldron of careful inter-state management. Adding apprehension of the US and West towards China troubled Afghanistan trying to survive after WoT with vested interests of various states, hostile India with numerous territorial disputes, including IIOJK and legacy of armed conflicts, mutual mistrust with Iran and Gwadar on the mouth of world’s energy corridor makes Pakistan relevant to future strategy and interests of world powers.
Pakistan has six major ethnic groups i.e Punjabi (44%), Pashtun (15.4%), Sindhi (14.1%), Saraiki (8.4%), Mahajir (7.6%) and Baloch (3.6%). There are over 60 languages spoken in Pakistan. 96.5% population is Muslim (Sunni 85-90%, Shia 10-15%) and other religious minorities include Christian and Hindus (3.5%). Being a young nation aging 75 years, sectarian and ethnic triggering by external forces / funding have polluted the national scene which is being exploited by political and religious segments.
Since its birth, Pakistan has continuously faced an existent threat from India forcing Pakistan to spend on its security impacting national resources and make sometimes un-natural alliances. With three major wars with India and numerous skirmishes / armed escalations, breakup of East Pakistan into Bangladesh as a result of Indian conspiracy proved the initial perception of existential threat a harsh reality. Despite being blessed with natural resources, all the terrains, intelligent and hardworking manpower, enterprising youth, religiously influenced society, Pakistan has not been able to take off the way it was expected or deserved. All the positives and strengths that Pakistan enjoyed have been exploited in one form or another and transformed as a weakness by hostile states in varying time frames. This effort was supplemented by a poor global media perception.
Pakistan’s social landscape started to turn sour after Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Afghan jihad brought in militancy and madrassa culture giving rise to religious / ethnic and sectarian frictions. Unfortunately, military takeovers and mediocre civil leadership, mostly due to external factors denied the consistency and stability to the nation needed for progression. The complex geo-political milieu surrounding Pakistan has made it a critical piece of mosaic in regional and global interests, thus prone to conspiracy by each external party furthering individuals and policies favoring them.
Despite all negatives, Pakistan has shown extreme resilience and potential par excellence. From producing world level sportsmen, economic geniuses, noble winner scientists, doctors, diplomats, artists, maintaining one of the best armed forces, war aces to becoming only Muslim nuclear armed nation is by no means feats to be brushed away. Pakistan has been also actively contributing to international efforts for strengthening global norms on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament and follows latest international standards on export controls, nuclear safety and security at the national level.
It is also largest contributor of troops to UN assisting in its mandate of global peace; so far more than 200, 000 Pakistani soldiers have participated in 60 missions in 28 countries. Being Pakistan is not easy, not many nations in the world have the will to survive in such a hostile, complex and fluid canvas which is mostly triggered externally.