Nation state is the pattern of the political life of the people in the world who are divided into separate political entities, where the nation states are the main actors of the international system. In simple words, a nation-state refers to “a nation in a state.”
In International Relation, the states are principal actors which act unitarily. Basically, there are Liberal, Marxist, and feminist concepts of the state which are different. The liberals define the view of the state as an institution originated by economic ties. The Marxists believe the state is the creation that came into existence as a result of class antagonism and the state is the machinery of exploitation at the hands of the upper class to exploit the lower class. The feminists, however, expound that the state is the institution where the male dominance is maintained.
The nation, as per the Oxford advanced learner dictionary, is a “large community of people, usually sharing a common history, language, and living in a particular territory under one government.”
There are certain elements that compose a nation: the subjective elements and the objective elements, which are classified by modern political scientists in order to define the concept of the nation well. The objective elements are demographic and cultural similarities and a common history. These similarities include certain objective elements such as language, common history, common values and beliefs, race, ethnicity, religion, and regular socio-economic and political interactions.
On the other side, the subjective element is the feeling of community and desire to be autonomous or independent. The feeling of community is the character of the nation which is important to form a nation-state. Whatever the demographic and cultural similarities may be among the groups of people, they will not become a nation until and unless they feel like a nation. The sense of oneness is an important element for the formation of a nation state; therefore, a nation desires to be separate and struggle to remain politically independent.
Moreover, it has been observed that in the new world order, the national identity has become a reality and they are in a struggle to gain independence in order to protect their unique cultural identity.
The nation-state may either be defined as a “group of people having similarities in demographic characters and must possess the feeling of a community, living in a definite territory within its own independent government.”
The nation-state is a way of political life in which people are separately organised. Britain, for instance, is an example of a pure nation-state, according to some thinkers, while some other scholars believe that America is the pure example of a nation. But some new thinkers also believe America is a state-nation which historically was the combination of thirteen states that formed a confederation and later became a federal state.
Now, the question arises here: “Is Pakistan ideally a nation-state or anyways fits in as a nation-state according to the definitions of modern political ideas?”
Before we go on to that, it is to be analyzed first that “history is something which cannot be understood without experience.” A person, who has not lived a full life, not suffered, not struggled, and not thought about the world, cannot understand history. In the seventeenth century, many African and Asian nation-states emerged on the political map of the world.
These nation states emerged in colonial settings which might possibly lack a cohesive basis of nationalism. Pakistan is an example of that; having various ethnicities with their own indigenous history, lingual diversities and heterogeneous motivations have persistently kept Pakistan lingering around identity crisis.
The sole basis for maintaining homogeneity has been out of necessity imposed on the nations living under the banner of Pakistan. Nothing more probable than the common religion they practice, denying all the other elements which are means of utter contradictions throughout, therefore, have been practically indulged with skiptical arousals and uncertainty. This very disorder led to visious political competition, movements of separatism, and antagonism. To maintain that, religion has been practically proved futile as an agent of political uniformity and order.
Lacking the formal consensus of the nations, Pakistan has performed poorly to form a stable confederation, saying that the very basic concept of the nation-state is nationalism and what nationalism carries. But the demand and struggle of the people by having collective consciousness and national identity is to form a state on the basis of a common culture, language, geography, and history.
Irrespective of all that, the feeling of oneness is the utmost spirit and the essence for nationalistic motivations in order to intend to form a nation state, while Pakistan draws an unfortunate scenario in that regard. Not only that but several Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan became the subject of the19th century’s “Great Game” played by the great powers, in which different nations were divided by the British in assistance and collaboration of the United States to counter the Soviet revolutionaries.
As the factual details are concerned, the demarcation of Pakistan was settled by the colonial lagecy of Britain with no account of the geographical, cultural, and historical factors. The creation of Pakistan was specifically the motive of the Britain and the United States as their strategic plan to maintain their influence in the region and achieve their specific goals. America feared the Red Revolution of the Russians which was rapidly spreading in different parts of the world. This very fear led to an illegitimate and quite irresponsible demarcation of boundary lines after leaving the colonies. It became quite evident during the cold war as the United States implemented the plan of pushing the Soviets back with the help of the buffer states, and interestingly Pakistan was utilized as it was meant to be and the plan worked as it was intended.
May you also like: Democracy VS Autocracy in Pakistan
The crucial challenge which Pakistan faces in an extremely challenging environment is the failure of building national integration. National integration is the pursuit of harmony in a state irrespective of democratic, cultural, and historical differences. But due to some factors, Pakistan could not build a strong sense of national integration which generated several issues eventually pushing the country into an identity crisis. Pakistan has been failed to pay good attention to the process of national integration where the state institutions have been ineffective to provide uniform and equal attention to the residents of the state regardless of their origin, culture, and ethnicity. In fact, in Pakistan national integration seems to be impossible.
Logistics imperialism is a part of the disorder that has contributed to intensifying distrust and insecurity amongst various national entities; denying them institutional access for the progress of their local languages while unreasonably imposing Urdu as the national language, which is the mother language of less than three percent of the overall population. This idea was ploted to bring about an artificial uniformity but it resulted in exactly the opposite. Skepticism of East Pakistan is an example of that. The people of Bengal strongly protested against the discriminatory attitude of the status quo and condemned the unjust policy of imposing an alien language in order to form uniformity, demanding Bangali as an official language for East Pakistan.
The growing tendency towards national identity is one of the challenges of Pakistan not only for becoming a nation-state but surviving as a state too. The most dangerous challenge which Pakistan has within is the growing inclination of the national identity. As there are cultural, geographical, and ethnic diversities among the nationalities of its population. Erstwhile, the cultures or nations were unknown but presently even in this global world, the national identities are getting their roots sturdy among the nation states. Simultaneously, the national identity in a country like Pakistan is inclining towards regional or national identity instead of federation of Pakistan.
The consequences are no less than the prior disintegration of Pakistan. In Sindh, for instance, Pan Sindhi Nationalism and militant groups like Sindudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) has taken roots. Pashtun nationalism and slogans for separatism and mistrust have also become a concern. Baloch nationalism and separatism movements are on the highest peak from the word go.
These conditions did not take place overnight. From the day first of inception, the question of ideological crisis had emerged and several efforts were applied to fill this space but all in vain. It was supposed to be as no rational efforts have yet been applied to maintain uniformity despite diversities.