Pakistan – Dependent or Independent?

Pakistan – Dependent or Independent?

Over half a century ago, our forefathers gave their lives to the cause of a separate nation where the minorities of the subcontinent could live independently. Thus, eventually ‘Pakistan’ came into being.

Today, 67 years later, Pakistanis around the world celebrate this independence and freedom. However, is Pakistan actually free or is it dependent rather than independent?

Over the years, Pakistan has faced a number of problems, which are evident to people across the globe. With terrorism targeting its roots the economic situation has tremendously deteriorated. Does this make our dependence under the perception of independence justified?

Let’s now focus on Pakistan’s dependence on other nations of the world. Pakistan-China relations date back to the 1950s. Since then, Pakistan has been partially dependent on China for its economic and military strengths. China has been a steady source of military equipment to the army of Pakistan, providing technological assistance and modernizing the existing facilities available. Moreover, most of the infrastructure developments undertaken in Pakistan are heavily funded by China such as the ‘Orange line’, currently under construction. Thus proving that all major developments in the country, such as the Gwadar Deep Sea Port, are externally funded and initiated.

Furthermore, strengthening the argument of Pakistan’s dependence, the phenomenon of ‘US-aid’ needs to be considered. We as the citizens of Pakistan have frequently heard of US-funded projects as well as the frequent aid transfers to Pakistan. Initially the government of the United States of America emphasized its will to assist Pakistan’s democratic government in the areas of stability, development and security. However, the situation is much different now. The US-aid received has become a bad habit that our government is not willing to let go of. All the locally conducted projects are being funded from this US-aid that Pakistan receives, such as the schooling of underprivileged children or the reparations made to the flood victims. Every year the government of Pakistan faces the problem of flooded rural areas and every year it calls for foreign funds to make reparations. Recently the US government itself has signaled to the authorities in Pakistan that they should not rely on a regular flow of funds from the United States.

The government has promised time and time again to improve conditions – focus has been placed heavily on improving infrastructure. Several initiatives were recently undertaken, such as the waste management initiative in several cities of Punjab executed by a Turkish Company, Al Bayark and OzPak. The ‘Orange Line’ that aims to make transportation accessible by connecting different areas of Lahore, is financed through soft loans from the government of China. The recent airplanes inaugurated by Pakistan International Airlines known as ‘PIA Premier’ have been occupied on lease from Sri Lanka. Is this actually how Pakistan aims to flourish? Can the government not even improve its national airline on its own?

A locally funded project being dependent on foreign aid does not constitute the ‘independence’ of the nation. The concept of independence is perceived to acknowledge freedom, the ability to do whatever one pleases and not be influenced or controlled by others. The idea behind Pakistan being made an independent and sovereign country could not have been for it to rely on other nations to develop it. The reliance on external loans has only made Pakistan’s economic position worse. Hence, Pakistan should be known as a ‘dependent’ nation as the concept of independence is nowhere in sight for the country.

Will Pakistan keep celebrating this perception of independence?


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any other organization with which she might be associated.

Zealaf Shahzad

Author: Zealaf Shahzad

The writer is a corporate lawyer, currently practising as an Associate at Lex Legal Practice (Solicitors & Attorneys), prior to which she worked as legal counsel in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. She completed her LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law from Queen Mary University London in 2019 and graduated from UOL International Programmes in 2018 with an Academic Roll of Honor.