V. Belokrenitskii, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 12, Rozhdestvenka Str., Moscow, 107031, Russian Federation (email@example.com)
Abstract. The author highlights an almost unprecedented growth of Pakistan’s population. He believes that the population census of 2011, unfinished due to some home policy reasons, gives a true picture of the demographic upsurge encompassing primarily north-western and western periphery of Pakistan. The population explosion results in the six-fold increase in less than 70 years averaging 3% annually. This phenomenon combined with ecological problems worsening in the Indus basin, which constitutes the heartland of the country, augurs not well for the future. At the present stage of globalization, Pakistan experiences the increasing out-migration of labor force, mainly to the Middle East. The rapid growth of private transfers from abroad amounting to almost a half of the export earnings can be considered an asset for the economy. The negative side of globalization is revealed in the slowing pace of industrial development due to low internal demand. Investments in the energy sector and infrastructure were lagging behind because the ruling political-cum-military circles neglected them. The author distinguishes between the upper crust of politics and its lower tier. The latter is dominated by the landed (feudal) aristocracy and tribal chiefs. Their power in the vast semi-desert areas to the west from the Indus basin is being now challenged by Islamic militants of different shades and sects. The spread of Islamists is traced to the influence of the long Afghan civil war on Pakistan. Analyzing the today’s Afghan crisis the author considers three scenarios, one of which is favorable for the present regime in Afghanistan while the other two are unfavorable envisaging the return of the Taliban to power or the actual fragmentation of Afghanistan. The last scenario foresees the talibanization of Afghanistan’s South and East, with its West and central part tilting towards Iran, North – towards Central Asia, and a generally unpredictable interplay of Islamic and counter-Islamic forces and factions throughout the country. The author refers to the economic cooperation between Pakistan and Russia as a factor, which can contribute to Pakistan’s and indirectly Afghanistan’s progress and stability.
Keywords: Pakistan, demographic upsurge, globalization, parliamentary-cum-military regime, Afghanistan, Taliban, Islamic State (ISIS)
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