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Governance and National Interest of Pakistan

Muhammad Ijaz
PhD Scholar,

The term “National Interest” is a riddle on the
land of the pure. Out of the many factors
attributed to it, the misuse of the term by our
rulers to suit to their personal interests is the
major one. Determining the national interest of
a country is always problematic in almost all
developing as well as third world countries
thanks to the ruling elites of these states, even
the phenomenon can be observed in some
developed countries, France and South Korea
are to name a few. Whenever, national Interest
is going to be studied by the student of Political
Science and History, the ambiguity related to
the term can be unknot by referring Charles A.
Beard, a well-known American Historian who
defines it: “if citizens are to support the
government which prosecutes it, soldiers are to
die for it, and foreign policies are to conform to
it, what could be more appropriate than to ask
what National Interest is”. Through the
spectrum of this definition, unfortunately we
are unable to declare any of the previous
government’s mega projects like Metro Bus,
Orange Train, Laptop Scheme and others to be
in line with the national interest, though these
are labelled as ‘poverty eradication projects’,
since none of these are simultaneously aligned
with the four parameters (citizens, government,
soldiers and foreign policy) mentioned by
Beard. The foreign policy element concerning
the national interest was altogether missing in
the previous government’s tenure. Regarding
ignorance of importance of foreign policy, our
military junta also felt a civilian vacuum and
COAS himself expressed his reservations during
senate briefing on Dec. 2017 that our
government failed to secure the national
interest in international politics on the platform
of foreign policy with the perspective of
“terrorism” and economic security.
According to Chinese policy makers,
national interest of a country can be secured in
two dimensions. One falls in the domestic ring
and the other lies in the international political

arena. The Chinese national interest was
designed by two leaders at two different time
frames. First, their national interest was defined
by their beloved leader Mao in 1950s in
domestic politics at that time when China was
isolated by the capitalist block and in
international politics; second, Chinese national
interest was designed by “Deng Xiopang” in
1990s. Through this way, Chinese designed their
national interest based on their domestic
outcome and leads to international politics and
finally they are going to hijack even
international interest in the form of Chinese
Globalization in the start of 21 st century.
In most of the developing countries
where national interest is determined by a
ruling class, there will be always be a likelihood
that national interest will be compromised by
the personal interest of the ruling class. To
design the national interest in such type of
countries, it is a test of rulers that how they
design and secure the national interest or
sacrificed it in return of the personal interest.
The scarification of the personal interest over
national interest converts the rulers into
leaders. It is a major litmus test of our rulers
that why they can’t be considered by our
society as a leader of nation after Quaid-e-Azam
because they were always interested to secure
their personal interest instead of national. Best
example we have to discuss regarding this
discussion is the so-called announced national
interest by our former rulers which have a long
history to secure the personal interest as well as
international interest rather than national
interest in the form of mega projects which he
started in 90s, 2000s and even in this decades
on the name of poverty eradication. In other
words, we can say that personal interest was
going to be wrapped up on the name of
national interest and cashed out as political
stunt in the low literate society with the famous
slogan of “Kahata hay to legata bhe tu hay”. The
country where literacy rate is not more than
40% according to international standard of
primary enrolment, there such type of national
interest remained popular which are going to

be hijacked by the personal interest of ruling
class. Such type of personal interest can be
observed in other states as well, like in Malaysia
during the tenure of Najib Razaq, South Africa
during the tenure of Jacob Zuma, France during
Nicolas Sarkozy’s era and South Korea during
the tenures of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-
hye and final name which is pending related to
this issue is Narendra Modi in India.
Interestingly, all these personalities except
Modi are behind the bars due to securing the
personal interest in the form of corruption, mal-
practices, money laundering, kick-backs and
The dilemma of poor governance is also
going to directly hit to the security of National
Interest. Best example of it in Pakistan
regarding poor governance of our previous
rulers since 9/11, where our foreign policy
failed to secure our national interest against the
international interest. The actual job of any
rulers is to unify the nationalism with the
internationalism in such type of circumstances
such as the excellent job was done by KSA
government. In 9/11 the most alleged country
was KSA because all the hijackers and master
mind was also belong to KSA, in spite of all
these facts and figures KSA skipped herself in
that bloody game of international politics due
to active foreign policy and credit goes to the
government of KSA. While the whole burden of
that major incident was carried out by our
rulers with weak foreign policy. The major
justification of that governmental gesturing,
was weak economy along with poor governance
and personal interest of our ruling class which
was completely failed to secure national
interest and sacrificed it in return of
international and personal interest. Even we
failed to get the benefit of our geo-graphical
importance in that war and due to our weak
policy making of ruling class we become victim
of geographical curse for ourselves. With almost
3000 casualties in that incident, USA is going to
design new century’s war strategy named “war
on terrorism” in the form of international
interest being sole super power of the world

and we failed to secure our sovereignty as well
as national interest despite of losing 100,000
Pakistanis and 10,000 our veteran in the form of
martyrs along with 100 billion $ loss of road
infrastructure due to NATO supply. That was
third time in our political history, when our
military ruler was going to prefer international,
personal and regional interest over national
interest in the form of poor governance, weak
foreign policy and economic dependency after
Ayub and Zia, into the hands of super power
through carrot and stick policy. In short,
currently government is also facing a
monumental complexity of the issue related to
national interest because still we are on the
same place where we stood forty years back
regarding policy making and designing the
National interest. Every positive and negative
step is taken by the rulers with official
statement that it is a part of our national
interest like their predecessors. The major
reason is the same which they faced and that
was lack of think tanks. Till today policies are
made and declared by the rulers, clergy and
economic influential class and wrapped these
policies with the shining wrappers of national
Now question is this, how we can get
rid of from such type of blunders which was
done by our ruling class? Simply we should
followed the developed countries regarding
policy making infrastructure in the form of
national interest through think tanks like USA,
Japan, China and India to some extent. These
think tanks should be responsible of national
interest and implementations of their policies
so that we can get rid of the personal interest of
ruling class, drawbacks of political instability,
reduce the ignorance cost of our mobocracy,
shrink the effect of hegemonic babocracy and
save the nation from the naked policies of
clergy on the name of religion.
The major challenges of current
government with the perspective of national
interest will be on two fronts. First one will be
in domestic politics and second one will be in

international political arena. To meet these
challenges, our rulers should adopt the Chinese
model regarding designing the national interest
through active think tanks in interior and
foreign ministry respectively and secure the
national interest in the form of regional politics,
threat from the rivalry country, revival of
strategic depth doctrine on western border, to
curb the factors of proxy war and war on
terrorism, finance terrorism and nuclear
reservation of international community, clash of
regional and international interest v/s national
interest. While domestically, government has
the challenges of national interest in the form
of National Unity through doctrine, non-
democratic culture, political instability, and
socio-economic development, safety of
strategic assets, non-traditional security threats
and basic needs of life such as water, food,
health, education and employment.
Being a student of History and Political
Science, I can favor ‘education’ as the most
important element of national interest. Through
education, you can trigger a change in your
nation by developing awareness that can
ultimately convert the mobocracy into
democracy in true sense., to me will be
‘Economic security’ can be termed as the
second most important element of national
interest that can secure our national
sovereignty as well integrity.

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