Fictional Reasoning Versus Reality of Pakistan

DND Thought CenterFictional Reasoning Versus Reality of Pakistan

By Shazia Anwer Cheema

Greek Philosopher Aristotle says “Nothing Happens Without a Reason”. Logicians believe that there is usually more than one reason for “happening” and the school of Pure Reason advocates that there is a “chain of reasoning” for the occurrence of everything. 

   

In simple words, life follows an unusual logic, where each thing has a reason and there is an overt or covert cause that is responsible for any form, situation, and circumstances that may arise.

The philosophical and scientific concepts of Greek philosophers have been incorporated into Western thinking and are still studied. A dialectical approach to political and international developments suggests that “Reason” can be created even sometimes through fiction and that approach has been instrumental behind Western mechanisms steering foreign affairs where countries are bombed under the pretext of “there is a reason to believe” and the United States is the greatest dramaturge of this “Theatre of Reasoning”.

In conventional wisdom, fiction and non-fiction are often seen as different genres based on different ontologies. International Relations (IR) as part of non-fiction is a study of facts, empirical evidence, and data, which is the birth of Empiricism.

Dr. Jittipat Poonkham is a Professor of International Relations and Director of the International Studies Program in the Faculty of Political Science, at Thammasat University, and the writer of several books and hundreds of academic papers. In one of his works titled “Fictional International Relations: Problematizing Fact and Fiction in Global Politics”, he says that in reality, fact (out-there in the world) and fiction (in here) are not totally separable, but mutually constitutive. He writes:

“Consider Star Wars. We know (factual) “Star Wars” only when we know (fictional) “Star Wars”. That is, Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program (1983) is not meaningful without the Star Wars film franchise, beginning in 1977”.

The significance of the fictional is universal and even in mainstream IR theories, the fictional is used as a metaphor. For instance, the metaphor of zombies attacking the world was used by Prof Daniel Drezner in his book “Theories of International Politics and Zombies” as a metaphorical use for IR theoretical proof and relevance.

The above-mentioned references may help readers to understand that Western powers often use fictional moves to establish “reason to believe” as they did in the case of attacking Iraq (Weapons of Mass Destruction), Libya (chemical weapons), Syria (biological and chemical weapons), Afghanistan (dirty bomb) and now Gaza (underground establishments of Hamas).

Recently, the US sanctioned Chinese companies after pitching information (may and may not be fiction because the US has yet to provide substantiated evidence to Pakistan) that, it intercepted a vessel having parts of missile technology and this vessel was going to Yamen and parts were presumably coming from Iran and providers could be China or Pakistan or both. Three Chinese companies and one Belarus-based firm were sanctioned for their alleged links to Islamabad’s missile development program under the claim that these entities have supplied missile‐applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program, including its long-range missile program. The US said that the sanctions are part of U.S. efforts to disrupt and target “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery” and strengthen the global nonproliferation “regime.

This was the first step and now Western media is weaving fiction that China, Pakistan, and Iran could go hand in glove for providing ballistic missile programs to some Middle Eastern characters. Pakistani foreign office responded to the ballistic missile program issue but avoided addressing the larger picture that is being portrayed now. Pakistan always follows the policy of “avoidance” to accept and share dangers till such time they are officially imposed on so the Foreign Office’s lukewarm response was expected.

This is not the only “fictional reasoning” assault Pakistan is facing nowadays.  The “2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices” issued by the US State Department on April 22, 2024, blames Pakistan for almost everything that is on the list of “abuse against humans”.

023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices

The report starts:

Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearance; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government or its agents; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary detention; political prisoners; transnational repression against individuals in another country; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; punishment of family members for alleged offenses by a relative; serious abuses in a conflict, including reportedly unlawful civilian deaths and enforced disappearance; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, including violence against journalists, unjustified arrests and disappearances of journalists, censorship, criminal defamation laws, and laws against blasphemy; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws on the operation of nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations; restrictions of religious freedom; restrictions on freedom of movement; coerced or forced return of individuals to a country where they would likely face torture or persecution; serious government corruption; serious government restrictions on domestic and international human rights organizations; extensive gender-based violence, including domestic or intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child, early, and forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, and other forms of such violence; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of religious, racial and ethnic minorities including members of the Pashtun and Hazara communities; threats of violence motivated by antisemitism; enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex persons; and significant or systematic restrictions on workers’ freedom of association.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has yet to contest the US report point to point, though, a generalized statement has been issued stating that “Pakistan categorically rejects the recently released 2023 Country Report on human rights practices issued by the US State Department. The contents of the report are unfair, based on inaccurate information, and are completely divorced from the ground reality”.

The report of the US State Department is surely an outcome of accusations Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), and Westren-funded NGOs are raising against Pakistan and corresponding with the US State Department.

Discrediting Pakistan as a state has been an integral part of adversaries and PTI is now leading this campaign within the country and abroad. Instead of discussing known facts of writing letters by PTI leadership against Pakistan to the United States, to US Congress members, and to IMF, I prefer to move ahead and try to find the reasons why “fictional reasoning” has got fast pace during the last two years.

During PTI’s tenure, Pakistan was thrown into isolation internationally by design, and relations with China, Türkiye, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, UAE, and Qatar were at their lowest in our history. Chinese flagship project —China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was halted, threatening statements against the EU and US by the PTI founding Chairman in Vehari public meeting put Pakistan’s exports to Europe and the United States in danger.  Maltreatment of the Türkiye company in Punjab caused a halt to all Türkiye projects in Pakistan, corruption blamed on Qatar Gas Import caused a blockade of gas imports to Pakistan, and reckless statements against Saudi Arabia by the then Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi created enormous problems for Pak-Saudi relations.

During the PTI government, it looked like Pakistan would never be in normal relations with any country in the world but things started changing when the PTI government was voted out.

The teaming up of COAS Gen Asim Munir and Mian Shahbaz Sharif broke the vicious circle and both extensively worked to mend Pakistan’s foreign relations with brotherly countries and then the formation of SIFC and initiatives like the Green Pakistan Initiative (GPI) helped Pakistan to come out of global isolation.

Of course, adversaries of Pakistan are not happy with this situation because Pakistan has become a hub of regional and international activities and Islamabad is hosting investors from all over the world. Recently Saudi, Iranian, Chinese, Emirati, and European delegations have not only visited Pakistan rather announced their investments in Pakistan. This development is of course a havoc for those who wish to see Pakistan a failed state. Just after the recent visits of Saudi, Iranian, and Chinese investment delegations, the PTI’s Chief Minister of KPK Amin Gandapur addressed a party meeting in which he threatened the state of Pakistan that KPK (a unit of the Federation of Pakistan) could attack the Centre (Islamabad) anytime with full force. PTI did it in the past also and PTI’s founding Chairman Imran Khan marched to Islamabad along with the entire administrative machinery of KPK in May 2022 but failed to get desirous results because of the successful management of the central government to defuse the situation because PTI failed to gather even 5,000 workers to enter Islamabad. Nonetheless, such an announcement of a federating unit against the center would definitely send a negative message to foreign investors and Gandapur’s statement could be used as “reasoning” to avoid investment in Pakistan—a country where the political situation is so grave that a federating unit is planning to attack the Centre. It can be just a “fictional reasoning” but of course, it is a reason for this reasoning.

Today, Pakistan is facing such a situation where foreign powers are creating “fictional reasoning” for “reason to believe” that Pakistan is supporting anti-western components in the Middle East and US reports are creating fictional reasoning that there are no human rights in Pakistan and politicians like Gandapur are providing fuel to fire and PTI leadership at larger spectrum providing fictional data to Western powers that Pakistan is a country where there are no social norms operate.

As said by Aristotle “Nothing Happens Without a Reason”, so what is the reason that West is continuously targeting Pakistan? The reason is simple. The Western powers have fundamentally reached the point where if Pakistan does not assimilate with them, they will put their elimination mechanism in full gear. Now Pakistan has to decide its next step, starting from a cleansing of anti-Pakistan so-called political elements, strict scrutiny of Western-infested NGOs, and posturing firmly not to become a Western proxy in the region. Only then the fictional reasoning to harbor the larger cynical agenda can be stopped.

Shazia Anwer Cheema is an author, and analyst and writes articles for national and international media outlets. She did her M.Phil in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is completing her Ph.D. in Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

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