Pakistan faces two major external foes. One is India, whose economy is eight-times larger, and hence has a much higher capacity to finance the military. The other external foe is the existence of Afghanistan, a chaotic bunch of tribes that is a country only on the map. In trying to tame it, the USSR faced humiliation and so has the USA. Being its next door neighbor has not been easy for Pakistan, as a large number of refugees and troubles from Afghanistan spill over.
Despite the above, Pakistan’s GDP on a per capita basis was higher than that of India until a mere decade back. Even today, India’s GDP per capita is only slightly ahead.
A turning point in the future of Pakistan happened in the late 1980s, when their then President, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, started the process of Islamisation. He committed himself to establishing an Islamic state and to enforce sharia law. Slowly and subtly freedom of speech was to be restrained. Collectivism got an upper hand. These higher-order changes were to greatly undermine the future of Pakistan.
Today it is impossible to think about Pakistan and at the same time not think about sharia law, Islam, and imposition of serious penalties against those who are seen to have committed blasphemy.
What happened in Pakistan in the late 1980s has been slowly but surely happening in India. In the early 1990s, Babri Mosque issue was used to start collectivizing Hindus. Since then the process of collectivization has continued unabated, and at an increasing pace.
Indians—at least the educated ones—were once proud of the freedom of speech. Today, people in very high positions in power openly talk about chopping off hands of those who do not pay respect to Prime Minister Modi, or offer bounties for beheadings. All these might look like mere populism, but that is exactly how it all started in Pakistan.
Indians today are very proud and feel superior to their neighboring countries, mostly for no good reason. They must look at the above graph again. Sri Lanka, despite having faced huge civil strife in the recent past, is far ahead of India. Bangladesh is rapidly progressing economically, exactly when India is losing its freedom of speech and is facing prospects of a stagnant economy.
Freedom of speech once lost becomes a lost habit, as Pakistan has witnessed. Arrogant nationalism and Hindutava (politicized Hinduism) will do India no good and has put it on the same path that Pakistan has been on: towards increasing collectivism.