Since its inception Pakistan has come a long way from a country that had hardly any industries to speak of. Today Pakistan is a nuclear power. Well-developed industrial structure all but brought down owing to inept leadership and domestic as well as foreign relation issues.
“Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policies face formidable multiple challenges. India is virtually on the warpath for our support of the Kashmiri resistance against Indian hegemony and atrocities. It has placed diplomatic exchanges on hold, while incendiary rhetoric from its leadership is on the rise. It refuses to discuss Kashmir but is willing to engage on a one-point agenda of discussing terrorism. Afghanistan is deeply resentful of our policy of harbouring the Taliban and its policy towards us is closely linked to its relations with India. Apparently we are the least liked country despite what we have suffered as a consequence of supporting the Afghan jihad against Soviet occupation. Ironically, Afghans have forgotten which side India was on at that time, but now it is considered Afghanistan’s closest ally. Adding to our woes, the US finds our tacit support for the Haqqani network and presence of the Quetta Shura a serious breach of good faith. As a consequence, our assistance has been curtailed by $300 million by an angry Congress. Americans, too, have short memories, as most of their present enemies in Afghanistan were at one time their closest allies. With Iran we have yet to develop a relationship that inspires confidence on both sides. It would require earnest effort at addressing political, economic and security-related issues before a durable relationship emerges.” (Gen Talat Masood Aug 23, 2016)
Pakistan must prioritise internal governance. It must focus on improving the lives of the common man. Electricity provision remains an issue with a huge disparity between supply and demand. Industries are under producing owing to this issue. Bad policies for different industries have badly damaged these sectors. Increase in extremism needs to be curbed. To date there does not seem to be a serious effort to tabulate the number of madrassas in the country, the syllabus being taught and from where they are being funded from. Efforts by army to contain terrorism has not been followed up by work on ground aimed to eradicate it from grassroots by the respective civilian governments.
Pakistan needs a National Security Council. In 2009 the National Security Council was abolished in Pakistan by the former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani. Majority of PML-N, too, did not support the NSC then. Hence this organisation was trashed.
The National Security Council’s benefits will directly relate with the acumen and capability of its members. Having said that, the goals must be clearly defined, all long-term goals and short-term goals must relate to the goals to be reached. National Security Council is essentially an organisation that should help in attaining policies formed.
Pakistan needs an honest leadership. Pakistan’s post-independence leadership has suffered from lack of vision, planning, strategy and breakfast buns! Pakistan is not the only country, which has been stigmatised with corruption. However, Pakistan is one of the countries where lack of accountability at many levels rules supreme. Countries like Pakistan must target towards strengthening institutions, going strictly by the formal rules, inculcate accountability and develop long term sustainable policies geared to support economic and social development. The government needs policies that co-relate with the needs of the citizens.
Lack of accountability is the head of the fountain from which cascades other issues. Columnist Emmanuel Asakinaba, writing for ‘Modern Ghana’, says, “Ideally, the implementation of a “no corruption policy” must begin with politicians; they wield all the coercive power, and more importantly, their acts of corruption have far-reaching consequences than whoever is so unlucky to be referred to as “the average Ghanaian”. Yet they never fail to remind the electorate that the fight belongs to everybody. Little wonder that all the blood-curdling corruption scandals have their roots in political power. So the citizenry must constantly remind the politicians that it is part of their contract to lead the way in corruption. In countries where politicians have risen “to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are hallmarks of true leadership”, corruption has been made unattractive and unrewarding. Singapore readily comes to mind.”
Panama case has held the nation’s attention and the government riveted to the issue at the exception of everything else. We need to ask ourselves some questions: Is our loyalty to any political party greater than our loyalty to Pakistan? What constitutes the stability of Pakistan? What are the roadblocks serving as impediments to the development of Pakistan? How best may these be addressed? Should we look at the lack of accountability permeating at every segment of our society or raise a hue and cry why it started from any one province? One can do nothing but feel sad at those who feel that questioning charges of corruption and questioning lack of transparency in governance results in destabilisation of the country. Can anyone sanely put forth an argument that this is the cause of an unstable Pakistan?
What is important is that accountability should be; a) across the board and not restricted to any one or more political parties so as to form a perception of political victimisation and victimisation within any one given province; and b) charges if proved must be taken to a logical conclusion. (August 31, 2016)
‘A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.’ Lao Tzu
In the meanwhile, Pakistan struggles to make sense of Pakistanis.
Endnote: By the way: happy 14th August.