How to come out of the quagmire?
Pakistan is mired in daunting challenges on, at least, seven following accounts.
With a tacit collusion of Pakistani media and some NGOs, social relations are being weakened through the creation of disunity among the people belonging to different ethnicities and religious schools of thoughts. All the negative aspects of Pakistani social life are highlighted particularly through electronic and print media and, to some extent, social media.
The morale of the nation is, perhaps, at the lowest ebb due to round-the-clock negative propaganda, especially on delivery of justice, erosion of social and cultural values and corrosion of Pakistani/Muslim culture through a cultural war. Indian dramas and films are being promoted instead of those of Pakistan, which represent our indigenous culture. It is evident from the fact that most advertisements by multinational companies show Indian actresses and models.
Pakistani and Muslim culture is being invaded by promoting the lifestyles from foreign lands. This cultural assault is to increase internal conflict in our society. It has already resulted in growing divorce rates – as per a recent survey nearly 150 divorce cases are reported daily in the courts of Lahore only – and weakening familial relations.
Some political parties and a few politicians, knowingly or unknowingly, are playing in the hands of global powers like USA, UK, KSA and Russia. Global interests are being promoted through international lobbyist firms/agents and NGOs. A very simple example in this regard is the 2015 Senate election in Pakistan where lucre was at full play. They are jeopardizing social, economic and administrative systems of the country through a well-orchestrated corruption-promoting agenda.
International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and local financial institutions are being used to destroy the economy of the country through ‘petrodollar conspiracy’. Constraints of energy (electricity and gas) remain the main instruments of limiting production and also minimizing employment opportunities for Pakistan’s youth which forms the biggest chunk of the population.
A deeper look at Pakistan’s administrative system shows that policies are imported; hence, they do not serve the interests of the country. The Federal Budget 2017-18 is friendly for big businesses but it is to the detriment of our small businesses—the biggest source of local employment. People of Pakistan, in general, suffer from abject poverty – about 29.5 percent of the country’s population is living below the poverty line – and growing economic inequality – only 22 families controlling 66 percent of Pakistan’s industrial assets.
War on terror is a battle between the armed forces of Pakistan and the foreign-sponsored forces. The armed forces, intelligence agencies and police are bravely fighting to safeguard the sovereignty of Pakistan. But, still, the country is repetitively asked to ‘do more’ by the United States. But we need to understand that the United States has its own interests in this region while Pakistan has its own. The US needs to acknowledge that Pakistan has already played a highly-positive role that even the world recognizes. However, Pakistan, too, has to set its house in order by devotedly executing the 20-point National Action Plan against militancy, terrorism and violent extremism. The writ of the state can only be established if the distinction between strategic assets and militant threats is completely eradicated. The time for proxies is over now.
We need utmost unity among people, government and all the state institutions. Moreover, efforts should also be made to restore the rule of law in ungovernable areas such as Fata and Balochistan. The capability of civilian law-enforcement agencies and criminal justice institutions should be enhanced in order to avoid the militarization of internal security. For peace and prosperity, good governance and the rule of law will have to be established.