A STRUGGLING DEMOCRACY, 1947-1958: For two reasons Pakistan found it difficult to overcome the trauma of partition It took the country more than 11 years to create the environment within which the lingering pangs of birth could be dealt with To begin with, although the sister state of India could continue with the institutions established by the British, Pakistan had to start with a completely new state A new government, with new ministries and departments, moved to a new capital, Karachi A new diplomatic corps had to be organized and a new military force had to be created A new currency had to be printed; forseveral months, Pakistan used the Indian rupee with the word “Pakistan” stamped on it as its legal tender A new central bank had to be established A new court system had to be set up All of these were daunting tasksAll this was made even more difficult in light of the second problem partition brought to the new country Within a few months of Pakistan’s creation, it received eight million Muslim refugees from India, while six million Hindus and Sikhs moved in the opposite direction

Nobody had expected a transfer of population of this magnitude When the first population census was taken in February 1951, 30 months after the country’s birth, West Pakistan, the western wing of the country, had been thoroughly cleansed ethnically The proportion of Muslims living in this area had increased by 25 percentage points, going from 70 percent to 95 percent of the total The exchange of population had a profound social and political impact It resulted in the “Muslimization” of the Pakistani populationThe refugees came in two streams One stream originated in the north-central provinces of British India and went to Karachi and other cities of Sindh The people in this stream quickly assumed control of most of the modern institutions created after independence They staffed the civil administration; set up businesses; and went into such modern professions as banking, law, medicine, and teaching Because their political base was narrow, they were not in a great hurry to establish modern political institutions that they, because of their small number, could not dominate The other stream of refugees came from the eastern districts of Punjab, which were now part of India

The people from this stream settled mostly in Pakistan’s Punjab and took over the land and agricultural businesses vacated by the departing Hindus and Sikhs The armed forces also offered employment opportunities to which a large number of the new settlers were attracted The great migration from India, therefore, transformed the social scene of what was now West Pakistan The refugees who went to Sindh took over the modern sectors of the economy and dominated most institutions of government The refugees who settled in Punjab carved a niche for themselves in agriculture and entered the armed forces in large numbersThe fact that most established leadership groups in Pakistan had not been warm to the idea of Pakistan created political space for the new arrivals at the top of the political structure Operating from the top, the refugees sought to broaden their base but because this was a time-consuming task, Pakistan’s political development proceeded very slowlyHowever, neither of these two streams of migrants had formed clear views on what kind of political structure should be adopted in the country they helped create The host population, comfortable with the institutions the British had created-or adapted from the systems operated by the Sikh and Mughul rulers-would have preferred a strong executive capable of delivering the services they wanted Enthusiasm for the Islamic revivalist sentiment that had grown during the campaign for the establishment of Pakistan had resulted in the expectation that the new country would Islamize some of the established systems Some elements within the host population, therefore, wished to introduce some Islamic features into the mode of governance

The presence of East Bengal added the fourth variable to this complicated political equation The result was a political impasse that lasted for nearly nine years, at the end of which Pakistan promulgated its first constitutionThe structure of Pakistani society as it evolved after the country was born also had a profound impact on the way its economy developed during this period With the muhajir community in control of most institutions of government and with the National Assembly not powerful enough to influence economic decision-making, the policy-makers were able to deflect the government’s resources away from the sectors dominated by the host population Agriculture was starved of resources, while funds were lavished on the new sectors of manufacturing, largescale commerce, and construction India’s decision to terminate all trade with Pakistan in 1949 further helped the pace of industrialization The Indians took the decision to punish Pakistan for its refusal to follow Delhi which, along with other capitals in the British Commonwealth, had devalued its currency with respect to the US dollarLargely as a result of this series of traumatic events, the first period in Pakistan’s history witnessed only a modest increase in the rate of growth of the gross domestic product and stagnation of agricultural output Although the provinces that were now part of Pakistan were once called the granary of India, by 1954 the country had become a net importer of food grains

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