Thanks to a venal elite, the colonial method of divide and rule is today re-emerging as divide and loot. In 1971, it cost half the nation. In 2011, the perils of ethnonationalism, tribalism, and provincialism are risking the rest of what is left. It is being witnessed during the month of Ramazan in August, exactly 64 years after Pakistan was created during Ramazan in August 1947. It is a plot to divide and destabilise Pakistan by trying to sub-fragment it. The real threat to the nation comes from its own autocrats, who are igniting ethnic emotions and fanning secessionist embers as a tool of political manipulation. By doing so, it undermines the values of Muslim nationhood and the founding vision of the Quaid and Allama Iqbal. The leadership of the Quaid won a nation against supreme odds. Ask the Palestinians what being stateless means. Tribalism is hardwired. That is why great leaders try to transcend it, as the Quaid did successfully during the Pakistan Movement. When the rights of Pakistani citizenship are not empowered, then divisions along ethnic, tribal, and lingual lines are easily enflamed. It fosters a dangerous Us versus Them mentality. In 1649, at London, Oliver Cromwell and his group had the King of England, Charles I, publicly beheaded because his rule was viewed as a threat to English unity and security. It is a misleading argument that one area is backward because the other area is more advanced. Disparity often discounts factors of culture, tradition, and geostrategic placement. The island of Java, for example, juts out in the 17,000-island nation of Indonesia. Who then stands to benefit from the Balkanisation of Pakistan? The barracudas in the bureaucracy-cum-political oligarchy would like nothing more than to subdivide the nation so that they can allocate lucrative portfolios to themselves and their kith and kin. The problem is never solved by robbing Peter to pay Paul. On the issue of timing, why now? The sudden upsurge in playing the ethnic card seems orchestrated. The quisling class, with its proven track record of opportunism and going with the flow, has little hesitation in joining the jackals. What is wrong with the concept of one nation and one destiny? In the Caribbean region, there are several small island nations - mostly remote, obscure, and insignificant. But only when they band together to play cricket as one, under the banner of West Indies, do they become world-renowned. An acclaimed documentary, Fire in Babylon, tells their inspirational story of the collective fight for dignity and unity. Bad leadership builds walls. Good leadership builds bridges. Sovereignty can easily be eroded from within, through slow poisoning, but it is harder to detect. It is much easier, however, to point at encroachment of sovereignty by external forces. The pitfalls of provincialism are not adequately weighed or vetted. It can set the stage for more lethal conflicts. It marginalises those not of similar ethnicity, as the majority living in that province. It opens a can of worms. In Pakistan, there is plenty of talk glorifying individual talent. But very little about teamwork. A nation easily divisible by ethnic, lingual, or tribal lines becomes a non-nation. n The writer is an attorney-at-law, writer, and policy analyst based in Washington DC. He is the first Pakistani American member admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar.