The historical roots of contemporary political order in India and Pakistan


India is a stable and democratic country where Pakistan is an unstable “Hybrid Regime” which is controlled by the “Deep State” within the state. Though both the countries have similar root and colonial past, but the political orders are diverged than one can imagine. Some facts can be mentioned regarding to this discussion.

One, after the independence decade (1948-58), the Constituent Assembly of India ratified the constitution and formed a political order. On the other hand, Pakistan not only struggled to ratify a constitution, but also struggled to held a democratic election which showed the institutional weakness of Pakistan later led to military coups.

Two, Indian National Congress (INC), the party that led Indian independence movement established in 1885, earlier than Pakistan Muslim League (1905). In one hand, INC was leading the independent movement, on the other hand, PML was detached from such activities till the Indian election 1937.

Three, India was united under a single leader Jawaharlal Nehru. INC was the party that continuously winning the elections and formed the government in the post independent phase. If somehow Nehru died early, INC had national leaders with Nehru who could take the charge of INC and India. But Pakistan had only one leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After the death of Jinnah, no leaders could take the responsibilities rather everyone went for the personal gain. Before the military coup, Pakistan changed seven Prime Ministers.

Four, after the independence, Indian bureaucrats were from all kinds of backgrounds. But Pakistani bureaucrats were mainly the Muslims. They were less in numbers and not trained well. In one hand the bureaucracy was struggling, on the other hand, the political institution was finding hardship to form a government or ratify a constitution. They were no organized institutions other than the Army which had hundred years of history which let the military intervene.

Five, though INC was elite, middle-class, Brahmin, educated peoples’ party, later INC incorporated the rural middle-class, the upper-class land lords and the peasants. INC had a national ideology of socialism and it promised to the peasant class that they would reform the lands and distribute to everyone. INC was program based. The leadership was divided in several tier. On the top tier, the national leader, but in the tier two and three, the leaders were from the general public and from the different backgrounds. So, the organization and the ideology of INC was noticeable. PML on the other hand, was formed by the rich land lords of North and west India. They had only one motivation to retain their privileges. They did not have any programs or ideology rather the only slogan “Islam is in Danger”. After the independence, the formation of Pakistan, they had nothing to glue up the leaders and people.

Six, INC could make compromise between the social fractions thorough its organization. It replicated with different states and regions that joined or would like to join India. INC made compromises and concessions with the states which made the union stronger. But, Pakistan could not make such concessions. The East Pakistan was different in language and ethnically. It was also dominated by the peasant class. They were 56% of all population, but Pakistan deprived them in the constitution which led to a chaos before the constitution was ratified and the union became weaker.

INC leaders were prepared for the responsibility of nation building where PML was fighting among themselves. This sealed the fate of both India and Pakistan for the future.