Discuss the following statement:  Foreign influence in Pakistan causes many problems.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that there is much validity within the statement.  In my mind, the problem exists on two levels where foreign influence is causing a sense of challenge and consternation to Pakistan.  The first is political.  Foreign governments exert so much power and influence in Pakistan.  Since Pakistan is so dependent on foreign aid and looks to use this aid as an attempt to initiate so many domestic projects, foreign governmental influence is at an all- time high in Pakistan:

Dr Maleeha Lodhi, our former representative in London and Washington, was asked about US involvement in Pakistan.  She said that she did not oppose development aid but was baffled by the scale of US involvement in Pakistan. What baffled her, she said, was the wide scope of the ‘tracks’ US-Pakistan conversations had, which included issues like women empowerment, which is a solely national issue.

The idea of Pakistan's dependence on foreign aid being a condition in which foreign nations exert a large influence in Pakistan affairs creates a domestic and international existential crisis of political leadership.  Open questions about the authenticity and legitimacy of indigenous leadership are raised in such a climate.  This is problematic in terms of sustaining effective leadership in Pakistan and garnering public support for it.

Another level of foreign influence causing challenges is cultural.  As the world is becoming more global, Pakistan is struggling with where Pakistan's cultural identity exists in such a realm.  India seems to have found a setting where cultural notions of the good have become merged with its economic growth and its proficiency in the IT and manufacturing sector.  China has found its niche in being able to be seen as a global economic workhorse with a population of growing purchasing power.  Pakistan is struggling to find its own sense of identity in this globalized setting.  With this existential crisis on a cultural level happening, there is another avenue where foreign cultural influence can pervade Pakistan, causing challenges.

The answer is not complete rejection of foreign culture.  Rather, it seems to me that the solution is to find where an indigenous strong approach to Pakistan's participation in a globalized and liberally democratic setting can be found.  The balance that needs to be struck for this is no different than any other nation that seeks to find its own voice within "the rise of the rest."  Yet, it is one that Pakistan must strive to find in this new globalized condition.

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