India and Pakistan: Most Different Systems

Category: Islam, Pakistan
Last Updated: 28 Jan 2021
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It is a cardinal truth that one of the most important factors in the political environment of the Asiatic region is the relationship between India and Pakistan. The system analysis with regard to India and Pakistan is a most interesting affair for an obvious reason. It shows how a people who had lived together for centuries can drift apart on communal question. Not only that, it also shows that due to differences in political culture the two states have, in spite of an equal start, chosen two divergent ways.

As such, their fundamental differences have become clearly visible and practically speaking, it is very difficult, if not impossible to bridge the gulf. Particularly, their conflict has, in the meanwhile, turned this Asiatic region into a storm centre which may at any time trigger off a nuclear holocaust. Above all, this political tension has merged with global politics and, hence, the problem has become more acute.

Before August 15, 1947, India was a unified state. The two dominions – India and Pakistan – came into being as separate states on that very day as a result of communal frenzy and blood-strained riots. It is a significant fact that the British rule was introduced in India by overthrowing the Muslim rulers and, hence, the Muslim community had a bitter hatred of the British. This hatred soon turned into an enmity with the western culture as well as their science and literature. But the Hindus accepted English and, thus, soon they were acquainted with the western culture and their thoughts – specially the concepts of liberty.

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As such, political consciousness grew up rapidly and in 1885, the Congress came into being as a national organization for political agitation. Though it was a secular entity and many Muslims joined it with a genuine eagerness, some Muslim leaders dubbed it as a Hindu organization and Sayid Ahmed, in particular, taught the Muslims that their interests were different and even at cross purposes. Thus, a counter movement came to the fore, swearing loyalty to the British. “The British also pulled strings behind the scene” (De, 103). In this way, the British authorities pursued the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy for its own interests and, thus, the gulf began to enlarge.

With the British encouragement, the Muslim League was formed in 1906 for acting as a counterpoise for the Congress. Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy, once observed that ‘fifty millions of men were themselves a nation and a very powerful nation’. Similarly, Lord Salisbury, the Secretary of state for India announced that ‘it would be impossible for England to hand over the Indian Muslims to the tender mercies of hostile majority’. The British government was, thus, sowing the seeds of Pakistan more than half a century before it was actually born (Chopra, 16).

But the elections of 1937 under the government of India Act hastened the crisis. While the Congress captured power in eight provinces, the league was totally disillusioned. The poor election results convinced Jinnah, the League-leader, that the only way to counteract the Congress was to inflame communal feelings among the Muslims (Sen, 263). Soon, in 1940, the League passed the Pakistan resolution for a separate state (Moon, 41).

The rift soon reached the boiling point. The differences bitterly came up during the Cripps Mission and Cabinet Mission. Jinnah called for the ‘Direct Action Day’ on 16th August 1946 which resulted in a terrible blood bath. Soon an interim cabinet was formed – but it was torpedoed by the League Ministers (Bose, 135). It was, thus, realized that the two communities would not be able to live together – on August 15, 1947, two Dominions came up after a partition.

Basic Differences

Though both India and Pakistan had an equal start, the differences have become discernible which are discussed hereunder as follows:

Political: Constitutional

India has adopted a democratic system in which the actual power resides on the people. The central and provincial cabinets are, under Art 75 (2) and  Art 164 (1), responsible to the Lok Sabha and local Assembly respectively, which are composed by popular election. Moreover, Art 326 has granted the right to vote to each person irrespective of class, creed, religion etc. after reaching the age of 18. Thus, this is a dynamic representative democracy (Basu, 23).

However, soon after the birth of Pakistan, it came under military dictatorship. Though on occasions, civil governments came to power, it is primarily a military system virtually from 1969 (Agarwal, 422).

Foreign Policy:

India has adopted the principal of non-alignment in its foreign policy when in the post war period most of the states joined either of the two power blocs, India, along with a few other nations, adopted the policy of equidistance from them. It means the independence of action. India’s foreign policy does not allow herself to follow a previously defined path. This independence of action enables India to judge each issue in its own merits and without any prejudice (Keswani, 512).

But, in order to enlist American support on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan, soon after its birth, joined the American bloc. Pakistan sought artificial strength by her alliance with America and through SEATO and the Baghdad pact (Khanna, 78). But, curiously, after the Sino-Indian war of 1962 (when America came forward with its men, machines and money to save India from a probable Chinese destruction), Pakistan entered into a friendly treaty with China, a stalwart of communist camp. It means, unmistakably, that Pakistan has no consistency in its foreign policy. Most surprisingly, while Pakistan resorted to a friendly relation with America, it is also maintaining (at least reportedly) a positive relation with the Middle Eastern states – some of whom are even arch rivals of the United Sates. Its main consideration is enmity with India.

Party System

India had, initially, a ‘one party dominant system’ (Morris-Jones, 215). However, with its gradual eclipse, coalition politics has spread over the country. It obviously implies some alliances and compromises among the leaders of various parties for directing the political affairs.

But, Pakistan is dominated not by the political leaders, but by the military Generals. One General has captured power by removing another through military coup. Thus, politics has been dominated there by militarism and an understanding between the Government and the Opposition has been a rare affair.


India has accepted the principle of secularism which implies governmental impartiality in religious affairs. Its Preamble has granted ‘liberty of thoughts, expressions, faith, beliefs and worship’. Moreover, Articles 25, 26, 27 and 28 have been the sheet anchor secularism (Johari, 394). Above all, by the 42nd amendment of 1976, it has inserted the term ‘Secular’ in the Preamble. Thus, religious tolerance is the basic feature of the Indian system.

But, Pakistan is an Islamic country which has accepted Islam as the state religion. However, on the morning of July 13, 1947, Jinnah declared

Minorities, to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion, or faith or belief will be protected in every way possible. Their life and property will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, their faith, their life, their property, and their culture. They will be, in all respects, citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or color, religion or creed. (qtd. in Kauba 89)

However, being a typical Islamic state, Pakistan accepted Islam as the state-religion and, in most cases, knows no tolerance of other faiths. The laws are based on ‘Sheriyat’ which is claimed to be derived from the sacred Quran. In such states, ‘Ulemas’ and ‘Imams’ guide the social and religious life and a sharp discrimination exists between the Muslims and the other subjects living within the state.

People belonging to other creeds such as the Christians, the Buddhists, and the Hindus etc. are looked down upon and seldom treated with dignity and honor. The public sectors hardly tolerate any of these creeds at higher designation in the organizational hierarchy. Moreover, the educational syllabus is over burdened with religious lessons instead of practical industrial requirements.


Economic systems of the two countries are quite different. India adopted a unique blend of the ideals of socialistic and capitalistic economies. Since the early 1950s it has been proceeding towards economies of development through Five Year Plans (Bhattacharya, 1). It is thus a planned economy with big private sectors. Since its globalization and liberalization policies of 1992, giant multinationals throughout the world has shown serious interest on the Indian market. Resultantly, India has emerged as the fastest growing and the fourth largest economy of the world (Paul, 215).

However, Pakistan has adopted purely a capitalistic economy where planning has no place at all. Due to its religious intolerance, political disorders, and dictatorial environment the foreign companies are often too much hesitant to invest in that market.

Natural Resources

India is much richer in natural resources. It has a vast territory where different types of agricultural crops are produced and mineral resources are harvested.

In comparison, Pakistan is surly poor. Rice and wheat are the main crops. It has some mineral wealth, textiles, jute and tea – (Clement, 64).

Some Problems


Both India and Pakistan are disturbed by some acute problem. After the gradual erosion of the Congress, a multi – party chaos has gripped India and it has evoked political atmosphere. There are nearly 350 political parties and most of them are leased upon narrow opportunism. Naturally, the task of nation-building has been cast down by such trifling conflicts.

Economically also, India is facing a crisis. In spite of planned endeavor for five decades, a gross disparity of income and wealth has been. Communalism is also a formidable problem. Hindu-Muslim conflict has become a common affair and there may be riots just for anything or nothing (Das, 400) In foreign affairs too, some problems seem to be insoluble. With America and China, two super-powers, its relationship is less than normal. Pakistan, its neighbor, is the worst enemy and, Bangladesh, for which it fought in 1971, has drifted far away.

Pakistan is, similarly, disturbed with some crucial problems. The conflict between the Siyas and Sunnis often result in severe blow-birth. Moreover, some political parties often agitate against the autocratic Government and it ultimately results in awful bloodshed. But, above all, while there is a large-scale poverty, a considerable part of the national income is to be diverted to the war-preparation.

In fact, the Government has to encourage a frenzied bellicosity in its relations with India in order to mobilize public support. In 1949, Pakistan was pushed back in Kashmir and in 1951, 1965 and 1971 it suffered a terrible defeat by India. So the Pak-rulers have been forced to adopt a war-economy, though the national poverty badly needs a peace-time growth-program.

Nuclear Preparation  It is interesting to note that fear of war has compelled both India and Pakistan to enter into a race of armament. Thus, through a prolonged endeavor both of them have now become atomic power. But, it is well known that fear of war increases armament and increase of armament increases the fear of war. In this way, their rivalry has ushered in an era of permanent panic.

If a war actually breaks out, it would be profitable to none, because the nuclear bombardment would surely bring about a total catastrophe for not only the belligerents but also for the entire region. For this reason, some sort of understanding is urgently necessary. Of course, Kashmir is the bone of contention between them and none is prepared to give up its claim over this strategic spot. But, unless some compromise is reached, the conflict of Kashmir might one day, obliterate the both of them from the global map.


But, by any means, they must find out a way towards the lasting peace. It is interesting to note that though Germany was divided into two parts after the Second World War. However, they have, after five decades, merged together. In this sense, India and Pakistan cannot, perhaps in the near future, mingle together in this way. But, for realistic reasons, they must come nearer and build up a workable relationship.

Of course, Kashmir has stood up as the stumbling obstacle. But mutual war and conflicts can never bring about a peaceful solution. Only an understanding on the basis of ‘give and take’ policy can solve the problem which has thrice dragged them into armed conflict. Particularly, Pakistan must remember that it has no legal claim over Kashmir. Before the partition of undivided India, the Instrument of Accession offered the Princely states the right to join either of the two Dominions.

The king of Kashmir (Hari Sing) duly signed a treaty with India for joining it. (Mahajan, 343). The portion of Kashmir (Pak occupied Kashmir) which is now under Pakistan’s control, was captured only by illegal infiltration by several terrorist groups. Hence, it is beyond any iota of doubt that history can go a long way in setting the problem to the right perspective.

Works Cited

Agarwal, R.G. Political Theory, Chandra Books, Allahabad, 1996, 422

Basu, D.D. Introduction to the Constitution of India, Prentice Hall, 1978, 23

Bhattacharya, D.C. India’s Five Year Plans, Joy Library, Calcutta, 1996, 1

Bose, N.S. Indian National Movement, Pharma K.L.M. Pvt. Ltd, 1974, 135

Chauba, K.L. India and Pakistan, Raj Kamal Publications, New Delhi, 1948, 49

Chopra, P.N. India’s Struggle for Freedom, Publications Division, 1984, 16

Das, H.H. India: Democratic Government and Politics, Himalaya Publications, New Delhi, 1991,


De, B. Freedom Struggle, Publications Division, New Delhi, 1992, 103

Johari, J.C. Indian Government and Politics, Vishal Publishing House, New Delhi, 394

Kauba, K.L. Inside Pakistan, Raj Kamal Publications, New Delhi, 1948, 89

Keswani, K.B. International Relations, Himalaya Publishing, Mumbai, 1996, 512

Khanna, V.H. Foreign policy of India, Vikas Publishing, Chennai, 1997, 78

Mahajan, V.D. The Constitution of India, Modern Books, New Delhi, 1979, 343

Moon, P. Divide and Quit, Modern Books, Mumbai, 41

Morris-Jones, W.H. Government and Politics of India, B.I. Publications, New Delhi, 1979, 215

Sen, S.N. History of Freedom Movement in India, New Age Publications, 1978, 263

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India and Pakistan: Most Different Systems. (2017, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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