Monday, 31 March 2014

Muslim 'Millat' and Pakistan's Role in Ensuing Decade (1)

Muslim Millat have established their political and economic systems based on nation state concept. These political and economic systems adopted by Muslim countries are falling short of addressing the political and economic problems faced by Muslim countries.
Muslim ‘Millat’ is fragmented into 57 countries which occupy almost 22% of total land mass, constitute 23% of total world population. OPEC (which consist of Muslim and Arab countries except Venezuela, Angola and Ecuador) produce about 40% of world's oil, export about 60% of world's total oil exports. In spite of all these facts, Muslims produce barely eight percent of global GDP. According to the United Nations' 2009 Arab Human Development Report, "[f]or nearly two and half decades after 1980, the [Arab] region witnessed hardly any economic growth. World Bank data show that real GDP per capita in the Arab countries grew by a mere 6.4 per cent over the entire 24 year period from 1980 to 2004 (i.e. by less than 0.5 per cent annually). On the other hand, since 1980, the world’s GDP has grown by 6.4 times.  

Overall, the combined per capita income of Muslim countries amounts to $4,185, which is approximately 40pc of the world’s. Compared to all developed (high income) countries, the per capita income of the Muslim world amounts to 11pc of the former’s level. The reports suggest that after 1980 Muslim countries could not compete with the western world in the field of economic growth. However despite all these facts, the total GDP of the 57-member OIC is approximately $ 5.7 trillion on PPP basis.  That is about one-third of GDP of the U.S. alone ($15 trillion on PPP basis). But even then, OIC’s GDP is the world’s third largest GDP after USA’s ($15 trillion on PPP basis) and China’s ($12.2 trillion on PPP basis).

One of the main reasons of Muslim backwardness is that Muslim oil-producing countries contribute 73pc of total economy of the OIC. The western powers (which are greater consumer of oil and control oil trade) keep oil prices much below the level of wealth produced by oil. That is why we see economic disparity between Muslim and non-Muslim world is increasing. Gross domestic product (GDP) during the decade 1990–2000 grew more slowly, on average, in Muslim countries (2.02 percent) than in non-Muslim countries (2.22 percent).

Another one of the major reasons of Muslims’ economic backwardness as compared to non-Muslim countries is the rivalries amongst themselves resulting in very high expenditure on their respective defense budgets. For instance, Saudi Arabia’s per capita income in 1980 was $ 7,690, which dropped to $ 7,040 in 1996 mainly because of the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. Likewise, income of Iran, Iraq and Libya (all oil producing countries) also dropped considerably. As against this dismal position, per capita income of Germany advanced from  $9,580 in 1980 to $      28,870 in 1996. Per capita incomes of Britain, France and Australia etc similarly improved tremendously.

From above mentioned facts and figures, it may be adduced if Muslim countries are able to integrate their economies on the lines of European Union, they would emerge as world’s third largest economy of $5.7 trillion. The mutual sectarian conflicts, particularly between Iran led Shiite forces and Saudi led Sunni forces would be subsided into common economic interests  which would lead to saving of billions of dollars presently spent on defense. Such saved funds may be employed in sectors like human resource development, education, science and technology,  agriculture and industry etc which would, in turn, lead to further economic development. As a third largest economy, Islamic Economic Union would have much better clout to control oil prices to give boost to their economies. 

In short, the economic systems, based on nation state, adopted by the Muslim countries are proving to be falling short of addressing the economic problems faced by Muslim countries; Muslim countries need to change the economic systems they have adopted, if they want to make their economies more competitive.

Similarly the political systems, based on nation state, adopted by Muslim countries have failed in providing them with national security and in protecting their national interests and pride. The glaring examples of failure of these political systems are the western powers’ invasions of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan; foreign interventions in Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and Pakistan; continuation of foreign occupation of Kashmir and Palestine; fragmentation of Pakistan and Sudan each into two parts; separation of East Timor from Indonesia and Iran-Iraq war and Kuwait-Iraq war. All these conflicts and invasions were the result of conflict of interests either between Muslim and non-Muslim states or between Muslim states; but the consequence of both types of conflict of interests were the same i.e. violation of national security and national interests of Muslims. It is due to weaker position in international political scenario that Muslim countries are often bullied successfully by the western powers which have become virtually masters of political fate of Muslim countries, and Muslim countries are no more than merely pawns used by the western powers in international power politics. The western powers use their political supremacy over Muslim countries as a means to continue their economic supremacy over the Muslim countries.
The weaker political position of Muslim countries in international scenario make their cultural values vulnerable to foreign cultural invasion. The foreign (western) culture is propagated through media, cultural events, NGOs, intelligentsia, educational syllabus and governmental policies. Muslim countries are compelled to give in to such cultural onslaught due to their weaker political and economic position. 
 These political systems, based on nation state, adopted by Muslim countries are also a hurdle in the way of actualization of Islamic aspirations of the Muslims. The glaring examples are foreign interventions to block installation of Islamic regimes in Algeria and Egypt; overthrow of Taliban regime in Afghanistan is another example. In other words, present political systems, based on nation state, do not allow Muslims to install Islamic regimes in their respective countries; even if Islamic regime is installed, it may not survive in the comity of nations, due to economic interdependence among the world nations. An Islamic regime, based on nation state, has to be self-sufficient in terms of defense and economy in order to survive. A Muslim country, based on nation state, cannot be self-sufficient in defense and economic needs. In order to meet its economic needs, it has to interact with world countries, keeping within international economic system which is based on phenomenon of inflation and usury/ interest which is banned in Islam. Similarly, in order to meet its defense needs, a Muslim country has to depend on world countries which, in turn, may dictate Muslim country to deviate from Islamic injunctions. In short, a Muslim country’s political system, based on nation state,  is a hurdle in the way to establishment of an Islamic regime; even if an Islamic regime is established under such a political system, it may not become a truly and complete Islamic regime, due to its dependence on world non-Islamic systems. The experience of Afghanistan and Ikhwaan regime in Egypt show that even a partial Islamic regime, established on the basis of nation state, may not be allowed to continue. However, all deficiencies found in nation state based Muslim country may be eliminated, if Muslim countries are able to forge Political and Economic Union on the lines of European Union, which may lend, in turn, required self-sufficiency to Muslim countries in meeting their defense and economic needs.

From the foregoing, we may adduce that nation state based political and economic systems adopted by Muslim countries are dismally failed, on the one hand, in providing national security, in protecting national interests, and in addressing economic issues, and, on the other hand, in protecting Muslim cultural values and in actualizing Islamic aspirations. However, this political and economic weakness may be converted into a potent political and economic strength, if Muslim countries are able to forge political and economic union on the lines of European Union.  A political and economic union of 1.50 billion Muslims, consisting of 57 countries, generating $ 5.7 trillion GDP, occupying 22% land mass of world, producing almost 40% and exporting 60% of world oil, equipped with nuclear power and strong army of millions of men would provide Muslims what is lacking in nation state based political and economic system. A Muslim political and economic union would provide Muslims with required strength to boost their economic interests, protect their national security, interests and cultural values. Such a Muslim Union would provide Muslims with required strength to actualize their Islamic aspirations and required self-sufficiency in defense and economy to install and continue Islamic regimes. Such a Muslim Union would help Muslims in submerging their divergent sectarian and economic interests into common economic and national interests, which would eliminate mutual conflicts and wars and enable Muslim countries to spend their resources on public welfare and human development which would further lead to economic development (continued).

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