Exploring current images of Pakistan's futures is the task for this essay. Based on a literature review of Pakistani magazines, newspapers and journals as well as conversations with Pakistani scholars and interviews with members of the general public, we develop and evaluate five images or scenarios of the future. This essay concludes with suggestions for designing alternative futures for Pakistan.
The first image of Pakistan's future has many anchors, the most version recent uses S. Korea as a compelling image of the future. Both countries were underdeveloped thirty years ago but now S. Korea has joined the ranks of the developed, it is become an integral part of the "Pacific Shift." Through state managed industrialization with strong private spin-offs (and the economic activity caused by the Vietnam war) Korea has dramatically raised its standard of living. Along with a strong confucian ethic (respect for hierarchy, family, hard work, and an emphasis on education) Korea was a strong national ethic. However, given Pakistan's social structure perhaps North Korea is a better example of Pakistan's possible future as both have strong militaries. However, while North Korea has a strong totalitarian ideology, Pakistan does not. Islam is in many ways a legal/social doctrine and in that sense that it defies any particular authoritative interpretation rather it is up for grabs by a variety of ideologies. While a theocratic military state is possible so far this mixture has not occurred nor has a one-man state managed to succeed. The best way of stating this model of the future is the "disciplined capitalistic society." The military rules directly or indirectly under the guise of "law and order." Not only is civil society disciplined but so is labor. Labor exists to aid capital in its national and transnational accumulation. The Islam that is used is one that aids in societal discipline at the individual and social level. The head of the nation is then the strict father who knows what is best for the children. The mother is in this image is apolitical, remaining at home to take care of the nation's children so they can work for the larger good of capitalist development.