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If it were not for The Economist and The New York Times, Shahid Javed Burki may never have noticed the on going massacre of Shias and other religious minorities in Pakistan.

Writing earlier this week in the Express Tribune, Mr. Burki, a renowned economist and a former vice president of the World Bank, expressed concerns about Pakistan’s tarred reputation abroad. He warned that since the western media has taken up the cause of indiscriminate violence against Shias, especially the Hazaras in Balochistan, the negative press will make it increasingly difficult for Pakistan to either obtain concessions from the US government or to seek assistance from the World Bank or IMF.

He further argued that such stories of violence against minorities paint a negative picture that could discourage American consumers from purchasing goods made in Pakistan. Thus, there is a need to tell the world not to be alarmed because “Pakistan is transiting towards a political order in which conflicts will get resolved through discourse and legislation.”

I am rather disappointed to see that Mr. Burki waited for over three decades to realise that the veterans of the Afghan war (a high-risk adventure he admired in the past) have been busy killing Shias and others in Pakistan. I am particularly offended by his statement that the “only reason why so many people are being killed is that they [the victims] profess a different faith than the one to which the killers subscribe.” Is this a subtle attempt to brand Shias as non-Muslims, because no one doubts that the sectarian killers do profess Islam and use it to justify murdering Shias, Ahmadis, and those Sunnis who respect Sufis, such as Daata Ganj Bakshand Laal Shahbaz Qalandar.

I have known Mr. Burki through his writings and believe that he is a closet admirer of late General Zia-ul Haq’s Islamisation (read radicalisation) and also a supporter of the Afghan war. I am more troubled by not what he has written per se, but what he has omitted. His past praise for General Zia’s social and economic agenda is devoid of any criticism of how Pakistan’s Armed Forces took control of the civilian institutions and public assets, legislated laws curbing the freedom of women and minorities, and held the constitution in abeyance. Mr. Burki does not seem perturbed by Pakistan’s excessive defence spending, which is a significant contributor to Pakistan’s poor record in human development. And most importantly, he fails to see and acknowledge the link between the extremist violence in Pakistan today and General Zia’s policies that forced Pakistan into a war with its neighbour and at the same time made Pakistan economically even more dependent on the US and the IMF.

High risk adventure that did not pay off

Mr. Burki is alarmed at the widespread violence in Karachi, Pakistan’s economic hub. He is shocked to see Karachi being Talibanised. I would argue that instead of expressing concerns, Mr. Burki should instead take credit for Karachi’s Talibanisation, which is a direct result of the high risk adventure, i.e., the participation in the Afghan war, that he thought had paid off for Pakistan.

Writing in the journal Asian Survey in 1988, Mr. Burki praised General Zia for pushing Pakistan into a proxy war with the Soviet Union at the behest of the US. He mentioned General Zia’s successful negotiation of $3 billion in charity from the Reagan administration in 1981. In return, Pakistan allowed the United States to open a pipeline “through which sophisticated arms, including Stringer missiles, began to flow to the Afghan mujahideen. It is estimated that the United States alone supplied over $2 billion worth of weaponry to the Afghan resistance groups that operated out of Peshawar. Many more billions worth of arms and ammunition came from China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. For Pakistan this was a high risk adventure but it paid off.”

The weapons brought in for the Afghan war are now being used to kill innocent civilians in Karachi and other urban centres in Pakistan by the very veterans of the Afghan war and their descendants. The Afghan war was the high risk adventure that today is causing Pakistan to implode under sectarian and communal violence. It should come as no surprise that all independent assessments of Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war see it as a great misadventure. “Pakistan’s Afghan policies over the past 30 years, whether pursued for domestic, political or strategic reasons or under US and international pressures, have come at the expense of the country’s political stability and social cohesion," concluded Marvin G. Weinbaum & Jonathan B. Harder in the journal Contemporary South Asia.

Revisionist history

In several of his writings, including the one referenced here, Mr. Burki has reviewed General Zia in a positive light, and at the same time he has been very critical of Z A Bhutto. While Mr. Burki, like everyone else, is entitled to his own opinions, he is however, not entitled to his own facts. In his praise for General Zia’s overzealous religiosity, Mr. Burki paints a picture of widespread support for General Zia among the masses, which never existed.

Mr. Burki eulogises General Zia’s religious fervour as follows:

““His [General Zia’s] family was also very religious, believing in the type of Islam in which man was to seek communion with God only with the help of the Koran and teachings of Prophet Mohammad. There was no need for intermediaries – no need for clerics, pirs, saints, or ancestors.”

General Zia used the Afghan war to spread his version of Islam (as described above) first in the tribal belt along the Pak-Afghan border and later to every nook and corner of Pakistan. The General facilitated the mushroom growth of Deobandi madrassahs that produced the very Taliban Mr. Burki complains of today. This dark episode in Pakistan’s history is very well documented. For instance, Professor Jamal Malik in his seminal textColonialisation of Islam: Dissolution of Traditional Institutions in Pakistan” presents a systematic review of how religious pedagogy and institutions were hijacked by the Zia regime to produce cannon fodder for the Afghan war.

Since General Zia was himself of the persuasion that did not appreciate the Sufi Orders (tariqa), he aligned himself with, and armed, those Pushtun tribes that shared his beliefs. This should explain why the Taliban have been busy bombing shrines of Sufi reformers in Pakistan. The 2010 bombing of Data Darbar that killed over three dozen unarmed worshipers or the attack on Malala Yousufzai are all manifestations of the extremist ideology originally propagated through madrassahs to radicalise the Pushtun youth to wage war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Mr. Burki, on the other hand, believed that “Zia’s and Pakistan’s success in Afghanistan was great” that “made Zia the most respected leader in South Asia.”

Mr. Burki argued that General Zia enjoyed the support of the silent majority in Pakistan’s middle class, which he believed was the reason why the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in 1981 failed to dislodge Zia. This is one heck of a revisionist take on history where Mr. Burki conveniently overlooked the fact that the military regime had imprisoned thousands of political workers including both late Benazir Bhutto and her mother. In addition, Mr. Burki failed to mention that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and eight other senior judges resigned in protest against the draconian laws General Zia promulgated to crush the movement against him.

Mr. Burki explained the motivation for the movement against Z A Bhutto as follows: The members of the middle class “regarded the PPP government as un-Islamic and anti-middle class, unmindful and disrespectful of the ‘ideology of Pakistan’." If it sounds eerily similar to the Jamat-i-Islami propaganda, wait until you read more of what Mr. Burki wrote where he argued that Mr. Bhutto was hanged for what General Zia considered to be “crimes against the social values held so dear by the middle class – the shurafaa (the respectable citizens) of Pakistan.”

In his praise of General Zia and disdain for Mr. Bhutto, Mr. Burki even goes as far as rewriting the constitutional history of Pakistan when he credits General Zia for creating the vehicles for a constitutional transfer of power after his death. Mr. Burki wrote: “That the baton passed from Zia to his constitutional successor [after General Zia’s sudden death] was in part the result of the developments engineered by Zia-ul-Haq.”

I had the pleasure of consulting with a constitutional lawyer who confirms that Article 49, which was promulgated in the 1973 Constitution, and has since then not been amended, had the explicit provision for the Chairman Senate to assume the office of President under certain circumstances. The Article states that Chairman Senate or the Speaker of the National Assembly “to act as, or perform functions of, President (1) If the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation or removal of the President the Chairman or, if he is unable to perform the functions of the office of President, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall act as President until a President is elected in accordance with clause (3) of Article 41.”

I would argue that the architects of the 1973 constitution deserve praise for the constitutional transfer of power, and not the General who suspended the constitution.

General Zia’s sham economic success

Over the years, Mr. Burki has been signing praise of the economic success achieved during General Zia’s tenure, which Mr. Burki attributes to the fact that the General had given a free hand to his handpicked technocrats, i.e., Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Aftab Kazi, Vaseem Jaffery, and Mehboob-ul-Haq, to run the economy. “During Zia’s eleven years, the economy was able to sustain one of the healthiest GNP growth rates among countries of the Third World.” Mr. Burki credits general Zia’s civilian best man, Ishaq Khan, who “performed superbly” and re-established relations with “Pakistan’s traditional donors”, read IMF and USAID.

If one were to discount economic jugglery and the handouts by the US government, not much else is there to support the claims of a stellar economic performance. Note that Mr. Burki refers to an increase in the GNP growth rate, which unlike the GDP, accounts for earnings by Pakistanis settled abroad. This implies that as those who left Pakistan (because of poor economic and political prospects) earned more abroad, Pakistan’s GNP improved as a result. A more telling number is the growth in per capita income at 34 per cent (4.25% annually) during 1977 to 1985, which in fact was lower than the annual inflation rate, thus negating any real gains in earning potential.

Source: The World Bank, data provided by Professor Amar Iqbal Anwar.
Source: The World Bank, data provided by Professor Amar Iqbal Anwar.

And whereas, Z A Bhutto tried to reduce Pakistan’s dependence on traditional donors partly because of his “aggressive neutral foreign policy”, which Mr. Burki thought impacted relations with most donor agencies, the technocrats, however, were keen to put Pakistan back on the path of economic dependency with the IMF and the like.

One would have to consult a paper by Robert E. Looney in the Journal of Policy Modelling to get a clear picture of Pakistan’s economy under General Zia. Mr. Looney wrote:

“Toward the end of 1988 [General Zia died on August 17, 1988], Pakistan’s deteriorating resource situation caused a financial crisis … [T]he government’s budget deficit reached 8.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation accelerated, the current account deficit doubled to 4.3 per cent of Gross National Product (GNP), the external debt service ratio reached 28 per cent of export earnings, and foreign exchange reserves fell in half, to $438 million, equal to less than three weeks of imports.”

At the same time, defense expenditures under Gen. Zia increased significantly from 5.4 per cent of GNP in 1980 to about 6.8 per cent in 1985. This is hardly an evidence of stellar economic performance, which Mr. Burki associates with the dedicated service of the civilian technocrats who served the military regime.

Mr. Burki writing in 1988 believed that by intervening in Afghanistan against the Soviets, Pakistan would be able to reap dividends of the high-risk adventure for a long time. He wrote: “It is unlikely that the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan will move Pakistan out of the niche it has carved for itself in world affairs, and the carving was done by Zia.”

Instead of reaping dividends, Pakistan is paying dearly for its misadventures in Afghanistan, first under General Zia and later under General Musharraf. If Pakistan were to implode completely under the religiously motivated violence, we should remember that this niche was carved by General Zia.


Murtaza Haider, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. He can be reached by email at

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

He tweets @regionomics

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (59) Closed

Ahmed Dec 13, 2012 05:49am
Murtaz's column is full of inaccuracies and a general broadside against Zia, whereas full of praise for PPP governments. This could be because of blind faith of Shia's in Pakistan in Nusrat Bhutto(Shia of Iranian origin) and her family. Zia's government was illegal and did not do any good for the economy but PPP's govenment were resposible for destruction of Pakistan's economy(Bhutto's nationalization and Benazir's rampant corruption).
AM Dec 13, 2012 05:37am
Wow! What a revelation about <r.Burki, who sounded like a progressive and rationaolist in his opinion pieces for DAWN until his apparent defection to the Express Tribune. Perhaps between 1988 and today, he changed his mind?
Faisal Dec 13, 2012 09:36am
I agree with you Goga, every word you wrote,,on a side note,,,some unique pseduo name you got
Karachi Wala Dec 12, 2012 09:45pm
Well said about Zia and Shahid Javed Burki.
observer Dec 13, 2012 11:17am
Most Pakistanis who have enough formal education to read newspapers of English language consider it their religious duty to condemn Bhutto (rightist Pakistanis). Many will condemn Zia as well but people are extra-harsh on Bhutto. Remember, Bhutto (or for that matter, any election politician) did make mistakes but he was accountable by people directly. So, if owners of the country (the people, that is) re-elected him, they must find the policies okay. What is an issue is that people talk about Zia and Bhutto in the same breath forgetting that Zia was an illegal usurper for 11 years and Bhutto was a Constitutionally elected PM for 4 years. But if Pakistanis believe in monarchy, they see Bhutto as a monarch and Zia as the next monarch and so on. To me, the problem lies in the heads of most people.
OK Dec 12, 2012 09:32pm
To the author: 1. Theoretically GNP includes the "product" of pakistani expats...but does it? Ive earned outside of they include that money in GNP?? I do not think that is possible unless I register with the consulate / embassy, which no one does...and even if they did, do they keep a track of your income?? NO 2. Is the GDP per capita growth number computed off the numbers in USD terms?? If so, its not right. What was the per capita gdp growth number in local currency terms. PKR devalues. Take that into account. not defending sjb or zia, but at least dont mislead people on trivial points.
NASAH (USA) Dec 15, 2012 04:22am
"Can we please leave Gen. Zia Soul" -- of what is left of Gen. Zia's soul.
Ajaya K Dutt Dec 12, 2012 09:27pm
Excellent analysis.
usamauk Dec 12, 2012 09:10pm
A wonderful article
nasser yousaf Dec 13, 2012 05:34am
A very erudite analysis, Mr. Haider. Dr. Shahid has been delivering sermons since Adam's days about the economic ailment of Pakistan with the avowed aim of projecting his expertise. The problem with Dr. Shahid and those of his ilk (graduated from the IMF and World Bank schools of thought) is that they believe that they hold the key to Pakistan's myriad problems whereas in fact six decades of their stay at the helm in one guise or another has brought the country to the brink. I hope someone will come up with doctor Hafiz's report card very soon as people have been forced to pay through their noses for the fuel and other necessities under this gentleman's reign.
qamar Dec 14, 2012 08:04am
Informative article...appreciated effort...
shiraz Dec 12, 2012 08:27pm
Lovely piece of work.
Tahir Dec 13, 2012 01:20pm
Can we please leave Gen. Zia Soul and move Forward? Law and order Situation, Curruption, mismanagement, economic meltdown is at worse at the Moment. We Need a goverment that can do this, not whining about Gen Zia or Gen Ayub in 2013.
muhammad Dec 13, 2012 01:30pm
raika, You are correct but the ideological damage Zia caused to this nation will take some time and some real serious and concerted efforts but successive governments after Zia have failed badly, no government after Zia dared to reverse his legacy now the tree of terrorism has grown its roots very deep in our society
TrollyMcTrollton Dec 13, 2012 01:32pm
How long are we going to blame Zia for our ills? We have largely been at the mercy of ZAB heirs since Zia's passing, and all the numbers in the world cannot change the fact that life has become more difficult since the eighties, and our standing in the world has become much diminished. You can't blame Zia for that. Things have went horribly wrong since then, and Zia cannot be the scapegoat for all that. As far as Burki's pro-Zia sympathies are concerned, they at least may be partly driven by an antipathy to ZAB, a feudal full of socialist platitudes, who cultivated a cult of personality, who was as brutal as Zia towards his opponents, which included everyone from Cowasjee to Mufti Mehmood. Zia's use of Lahore Fort to house 'jiyalas' was apt, as it was previously used by said 'jiayalas' to imprison and torture opponents of ZAB. It is remarkable how the FSF never gets mentioned in the various ZAB hagiographies rampant in the English language press.
AR ZAKI MASUD Dec 13, 2012 08:05am
I agree with you. Afghanistan and present Pakistan have more than a thousand years of relationships that can not be forgotten nor should be
Pinto Suma Dec 12, 2012 05:12pm
The perfect elaborative article on how the policies adopted by previous regimes undermined the democratic process in the country and the desire to play bigger role in regional politics boomranged domestically.
fus Dec 12, 2012 05:27pm
Great and true Analysis.
ali Dec 12, 2012 05:30pm
Excellent article - from start to the end informative
afzaalkhan Dec 12, 2012 05:27pm
cry me a river another its all zia's fault. May be when a country gets millions of refugees and war from neiughboring country with whom we have long and close relationship one doesn't really have a choice not to be part of it. Even ANP admits they told zia to shake hands not hug US. This is the problem with so called liberals here ground realities are not something they bother with and facts are only to be used when it suits their narrative.
Noman Dec 13, 2012 11:04am
Excellent article
Arshad Dec 13, 2012 01:40pm
A good Article. We hate the support for extremism and secterianism and proxy wars in Afghanistan...
observer Dec 13, 2012 07:43am
Zia had Sharif-ud-Din Peerzadas for legal cover and Burki for economic cover to his policies.
SHH Dec 13, 2012 06:52am
I have gone over Mr Burki's article. It is clearly a piece of writing by an economist at core with no human side to it. Pakistan needs captial; it can come only from the West; West is worried by the sectarian violence; therefore, Pakistan needs to present a good image; the way to do that is to tell them that we are going through a transition period and will emerge a better nation somehow. Can't think of a poorer chain of arguments. My main criticism, which Mr Murtaza seems to have missed, is the fact that Mr Burki is raising the issue of sectarian violence only because it affects investment; per se, it does not seem to be an issue to him. He neither condemns the killing or the killers; he does not provide any advise on how to stop it; and then he advises the government to lie to the West about an imagined "period of transition".
S. A. M. Dec 13, 2012 01:20am
People like Mr. Burki that sing without any let ups for the mard e momin should come and meet the families of those killed in Karachi and Quetta. around 2 decades ago Pakistan was a comparison with India and other better countries but now it is compared with Afghanistan. even Bangladesh has fared far better and has succeeded to a great extent in portraying to the world that they are a more matured and responsible nation. By letting the afghan refugees come in large numbers to Pakistan the Pakistanis have been forced by the same refugees to seek shelter in other countries. Those that are lucky have managed to escape from the frightening and already worsened law and order situation in Pakistan and particularly in Karachi. Those that could not are hoping either they will manage to go to a safe country or the situation in Pakistan will improve ONE DAY!!!!!!!
Ahmed Dec 13, 2012 07:07am
shame on you Burki
Pinto Dec 13, 2012 10:50am
Its refreshing to see English speaking Pakistani readers expressing their views which is purely for the progress of Pakistan and humanity there in general. The moderation of thoughts coupled with a good education system is key to create better future generations, its proven around the world. I wish better sense shall prevail in political circles and in those who are at the helm of affair and may almighty provide them strength to swim against the current which is necessary some times for hard decision making.
Ahmed Dec 13, 2012 07:06am
This is the real face of these so called intellectuals who are rather there to propagate the very ideology of dictators
pratham Dec 13, 2012 10:13am
Wonderfully scripted, in easy and understandable terms. Kudos to author for such great article. Thanks
Asim Jaan Dec 13, 2012 07:02am
Murtaza Haider deserves praise for debunking the sham economic development of Zia era and its foreign policy misadventures that served to perpetuate his military class's rule by taking active part in US military intervention in Afghanistan without any regard for its long-term social costs on Pakistani society. But, we need no blame one individual, in this case, Zia, for this, but the whole Military,as an institution and also the civil bureaucracy that also supported these short sighted policies. Hence Zia era should not be seen as an isolated bad period in an otherwise previously kosher state-society relations in Pakistan. Since its inception, Pakistan was beset by, what Hamza Alavi calls, an overgrown State, a legacy of the British Colonial period. This Overgrown state hegemonized society and politics and, from the start, discouraged, pushed back all genuine political forces with roots in the masses that tried to bring the masses' interests. Instead, it created create a clientele class of false politicians so that a sham of democracy can go-on, helping to legitimize their rule. Secondly, Pakistani state's dalliance with western and US imperialism did not start with Zia, but very early on in 1954, when the first defence agreement with signed with US , where Pakistani state agreed to a client status in the western capitalism cold-war against USSR and in return strengthen Military and civil bureaucracy thru US aid. In short, we need to take the long view, and not take Zia era in isolation, but see the seeds on all we see today in the genesis of Pakistan movement and the Muslim ruling classes of undivided India, the Salariat class of UP & Bihar and Big landowning class of Sindh and Punjab, who spearheaded the separatist movement. Pakistan's history has shown that these classes not only preserved, but extended their class interests in the atmosphere of a separate state which they easily monopolized.
Jadoon Dec 13, 2012 06:59am
Sir, no doubt Zia was one of the worst things happening to Pakistan, Bhutto too miserably failed to achieve what was expected from a man of his so called statures. His policy of nationalization destroyed the industry. for instance, in 1971, Pakistan had a share of 11 per cent in global textile export, which fell to less than one per cent in 1977. Yes, he did pass the constitution but elements of religion were introduced for the first time in the constitution. Ahmadis were declared non-muslims, alcohol was banned, and article 62 was introduced, stating that a member of parliament has to be a true "true momin". This only led to more hypocrisy in the society. Your graph on remittances is misleading. It gives remittances as a percentage of GDP. If GDP has grown very fast as compared to remittance, then percentage of remittances have definitely fallen. A fall in remittances should have been accompanied with a large scale return of expats, which never happened. (either I have not understood it properly or you need to explain it more as Phd can't commit such an error) In nut shell, Zia destroyed the social fabric of the country, while Bhutto destroyed both social and economic conditions of the country.
observer Dec 13, 2012 11:26am
Asim Jaan, your analysis is outdated and reflects 1950s and 1960s thinking. We are close to 2013 and considerations have changed since long. What is a problem is that rule of law and supremacy of Constitution are weak in Pakistan. Also, the electorate is not trained enough to take their governments by collar in next elections. Results are weak governments, lack of infrastructure, and poor education. Most of our ills are direct products of prolonged military rule. What is encouraging is that present military leadership, politicians, media, and judiciary have contributed to discouraging next military takeover. If the political system continues, self-cleansing feature of democracy should take care of many problems of Pakistan. If Pakistan can sustain an economic growth rate of 7-8% per year for 10 years, a lot will improve (Indian model).
Arun Dec 13, 2012 06:44am
Excellent article. Although I do not personally dwell on Mr. Burki, he reminds me of Nehru, for whom pride and nation love were paramount, and pride twisted the facts such that negative facts became positives. Zia was definitely smart in tricking the US into providing free arms and money, as well as developing the A-bomb during his tenure, but the foundation he laid for Pakistan has made it a nearly failed state. Hope for Pakistan lies in not letting pride and nationalism distort the facts - Dr. Haider is certainly able to see facts, but nationalists will dislike him for hurting their sentiments. It reminds me of Jinnah - a man who could see facts clearly and use them to his advantage, but today's Pakistan would quickly destroy a man like Jinnah and dub him anti-nationalist!
Aamir Dec 13, 2012 06:38am
You are right and wrong at the same time. Pakistan must mend its ways at the same time we must not forget the evils of the past. We must put the blame on whosoever deserves.
Naved Dec 13, 2012 06:34am
History will never forgive Zia ul Haq and his supporters/admirers for their biased thinking and wrong policies.
Naseer Dec 12, 2012 05:06pm
A very well written article as usual by Mr. Murtaza Haider. Zia's time was the darkest time for Pakistan. Apparently country is unable to get rid of Zia's legacy, partly due to influence from certain politicians and certain quarters within Pakistan. Taliban are the greatest threat to Pakistan and Islam.
Naseer Dec 13, 2012 02:01pm
It looks impossible that Pakistan will ever be able to get rid of the hate culture created during Zia's time. We will always miss the peace and cooperation that existed in Pakistan prior to that time. There were some problems but the masses were generally united. Taliban are the torch bearers of Zia legacy and the greatest threat to our country and to Islam.
Rehan Dec 13, 2012 12:17pm
what i understand at every point pakistan and his poor people face a lot of hardships in world politics .
muhammad Dec 14, 2012 03:55pm
People like Mr Javed Burki always ready to grab an opportunity whether they have to spill blood of millions of people they will always quick to give justification for killing of innocent people
Muhammad Akhtar Dec 14, 2012 05:37am
Well done Haider, Mr Burki it should be an eye opener for you, Zia is a name of curse for Pakistan, what all is happening in the country is due to his short sightedness of policies and his inclination towards one sect of muslims.
Ahmad Dec 13, 2012 05:41am
Zia's era was the darkest in the history of Pakistan. The nation is still under the dark shadow of the Afghan Policy adopted at the time to get favor of the Americans for the prolongation of the military rule of the General supported by the Religious right. How much damage it has caused to Pakistan cannot be rightly assessed at this time. Only time will tell. At the moment we are reaping the fruits of the policies of that era. God bless us. Ahmad.
Muhammad Murad Iqbal Dec 13, 2012 06:15am
Thought provoking and well written. It seems it was indeed a misadventure. We would have been far better without that Afghan Russian war. The problem is, how to get out of the mess now?
GhostRider Dec 13, 2012 09:01am
who should we blame then? Scooby doo or dish antenna?
Wajeeh Dec 14, 2012 02:21am
Gen. Zia's policies and misadventure had destroyed the future of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. All evils of this era are rooted in his regime. God knows for how long and how many generations would have to pay the price of his so called prudent decisions which have been and still being supported by the people like Mr. Burki. For how long these people will hide the truth.?
AR ZAKI MASUD Dec 14, 2012 01:58am
Rightly said, Pakistanis need to differentiate between legal and illegal heads of the state.
Kabir Dec 14, 2012 04:02pm
Do you thing Mr. Burki will ever feel ashamed no my dear the person at his age giving false justification for killing of hundred of innocent people must be a totally shameless person
Silajit Dec 12, 2012 05:57pm
Pakistan was better off with the Russians in Afghanistan. If they were still around, Pakistan would have been a frontline state getting US largesse without having to devote men and material (like Germany, Austria, Turkey or the Scandinavian countries in Europe). If the Soviet Union still collapsed, the subsequent power grab would still be internal to Afghanistan and would be of a non religious nature. Pakistan could have watched without getting involved. If they did, Afghans would actually like Pakistan. Getting Pakistanis involved in a turf battle between the US and the Soviets was a poor choice. The only thing Pakistan got was to have the US look the other way while they developed their nukes (assuming that was a useful thing) - something they could have got without radicalizing the population.
darr Dec 12, 2012 06:06pm
good job, Why Pakistani technocrats are concerned about Pakistans image. Sickness requires proper treatment not flashy garments.
sana Dec 13, 2012 11:41pm
i always find it very fascinating when someone write only one side of the coin and then believe it. Because he only consulate himself and unknowingly but willingly waste his time. My friend i dont know which Pakistan are u talking about. Dawn news talks about the Pakistan which is located on Mars.
Hari Dec 12, 2012 06:15pm
Thanks for calling a spade a spade. I have known Mr. Burki through his writings too and he always comes across as someone pandering to people in power. Objectivity was always missing. -Hari
AHA Dec 12, 2012 06:22pm
Excellent analysis. I had never had any respect for Mr. Burki. He was always the face of the 'establishment'. Who cares about his World Bank credentials. Many of the World Bank appointees are useless and good for nothing political appointments in any case.
Ali Dec 13, 2012 10:27pm
Zabardast...What an insightful artilce, Shame on Zia Ul Haq & Burki.
Huma Dec 13, 2012 06:44pm
great article. thank you murtaza haider.
shuaib Dec 13, 2012 08:30pm
How many of you, who have commended the writer of this article, have actually read the Burki's article?
Azeema Dec 13, 2012 05:58pm
Excellent analysis!
raika45 Dec 12, 2012 01:59pm
Years have passed since Zia"s death.It is time Pakistan stopped calling Zia the nation's bogeyman and blaming your current predicament on his legacy. Move forward.Talking of the past will do you no good. It is the present and the future that you the people and the government must look to.
Goga Nalaik Dec 12, 2012 02:19pm
OMG A great, brave and well documented article. I'm persuaded that Shahid Javed Burki will never dare replying to this article. Anyway I'm utterly disgusted about this personage! Keep fighting with your pen Ciao
anal haq Dec 12, 2012 02:33pm
"....Islam in which man was to seek communion with God only with the help of the Koran and teachings of Prophet Mohammad. There was no need for intermediaries
kanwal Dec 12, 2012 02:32pm
excellent work Dr Haider. Somebody needs to show the mirror to these pseudo intellectuals sitting in the safety of their drawing rooms.