Next half of 2019- Critical period for the people of Pakistan

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Day by day confusion is on increase on our political fronts. Opposition is only criticizing but doing nothing practically and government is maligning every opponent and sending them behind the bars. Now they have started arresting opponents even on drug charges and stopping even Speaker to issue production orders for the arrested members of the parliament till their member ship continue as member of the parliament. So both sides are busy in their own ways within their circles without giving any attention to the people of Pakistan. In fact people of Pakistan have now been left in a desert with burning Sun, with no water, with no bread, with no education, with no health facilities and with no way to survive. The government is making its full efforts to make prices unreachable for everyone.

I totally agree that one should not be pessimistic about its national fate but what to say, time and again Pakistan have always been confronted with a turbulent history with fighting’s among its provinces, its governments–as well deep-rooted conflict that always led to a nuclear stand-off with India—preventing Pakistan from gaining real stability in its preceding decades and government in the hands of those who have no brain to think upon people problems. Pakistan has always oscillated between military rule and by name democratically elected governments, between secular policies and financial backing as a “frontline” state during the Cold War and the war against terrorism. Economic crisis has always remained at its forefronts with no education, no health, no water, no safety and no employments for its inhabitants.

Scarred from birth, Pakistan’s quest for survival has been as compelling as it has been uncertain. Despite the shared religion of its overwhelmingly Muslim population, Pakistan has been engaged in a precarious struggle to define a national identity and evolve a political system for its linguistically diverse population.

All of Pakistan’s struggles underpin the dilemma they face in reconciling the goal of national integration with the imperatives of national security.

From 1947 to 2019 Pakistan saw many faces with their rule. Liauqat Ai Khan, the first PM was assassinated. Then came Khawaja Nazimuddin, Mohammad Ali Bogra,Ch Muhammad Ali,Husain Suhrwardy, Ibrahim Chundrigar, Feroze Khan Noon, Nurul Amin, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Muhammad Khan Junejo, Benazir Bhutto, Mian Nawaz Saharif, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Ch Shujjat Husain, Shaukat Aziz, Yousuf Raza Gillani,Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shahid Khaqan AbbasI and now Imran Khan with 7 care taker Prime Ministers. All of their tenures ended before their given time. Pakistan also saw General Ayub, General Yahya, General ZiaulHaq and General Musharraf as Military rulers. Nobody of these figures were able to provide stability to Pakistan.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan had always envisioned a democratic Pakistan and many of his successors have struggled towards this goal, but not more than maintaining their own platforms of power. It is ironic that such political instability plagued a country whose number one objective of their leaders should have been to bring economic and political stability to the country.

Maybe it was the time for a new equation in 2019 but with inflation picking up, GDP growth going down with huge deficits in its fiscal and current accounts, things are not looking in favor of its people. External and domestic debt has gone alarmingly high. The government is just boasting, but everybody knows that with GDP growth going down and making its economic expansion to half, how a government can double its revenue. With amnesty schemes and taxing every one cannot become a reality of making Pakistan economy self sustained as it would damage public confidence and bring down production of the country. Only visible line of action from State Bank and IMF side seems to bring immense depreciation in its PKR making inflation to go up further and making things unbearable for the people earning even Rs 20000.

Another question is that why in Pakistan people always start looking towards Military rule that has already cycled many times in its history.

The reasons are historical and structural. When Pakistan was created, it got a financial structure that was 17.5% of undivided India, and a military that was one-third of undivided India. In other words, the areas that made up Pakistan contributed just 17.5% of India’s tax revenue before 1947 and inherited about one-third of undivided India’s military. Pakistan has never been able to square up this gap. It is the structural reality of Partition that it has always remained on a fault line. And that fault line is its inability to match its financial needs.

Another factor is that Pakistan has always got a rubber-stamping Parliament with no situation changed even in 2019. There is no comparison between the election commissions of other countries and Pakistan. You cannot blame the Election Commission of Pakistan because that is the power they have been given.

Another factor is our media. Many Pakistani journalists have been very courageous.The crackdown on any media houses that tried to advance a narrative different from that of channels run by the political forces has now come under question.

However apart from these facts everyone is now asking that how Pakistan can resolve its structural problems?

The structural problem could have been sorted out, had there been a fair playing field. There seems to be a pushback and there are means available, through social media, through technology, by which people are challenging the authoritarian strains of the deep state.

Still in these conditions even if some politicians think that they can simply assert their constitutional right. The answer would be no, as practically it would not be possible. These things need practical steps and not what is written on some paper. In other countries too, it is a product of a functioning reality. It is not just about the Constitution.

Politicians in Pakistan will have to strengthen institutions instead of simply asserting their constitutional rights to shape the destiny of the country. This can only happen when they start to deliver on their promises to the electorate and create the space to assert themselves in substance rather than in form.

The PTI led by former cricketer Imran Khan will have to make many compromises; everyone has to make a compromise. You can see it in all the narratives. Sharif perhaps took on the establishment and judiciary prematurely.

Well, now we should bring ourselves into normal life. One way is of mainstreaming the people. But there are those who wonder who is mainstreaming whom.

Another thing is to call the shots on foreign policy and defense, but running Pakistan is another ball game. There are many complexities here. You cannot always deliver. It is true of India as well. The difference between India and Pakistan is the structural balance between elected and non-elected institutions.

Regardless of who is in power, difficulties always loom? Pakistan’s economy is teetering and is likely to require a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, after the Fiscal and current account deficits have gone in to dangerous zones.

Col. Butt one of my respectable colleague has asked that what can be the strategy for coming out of this crisis.

It is not very simple but not very complex. Three areas need to be targeted.

  1. New and fresh changes in legislation through parliament in the area of raising tax, making business easy and accountability for everyone and every institution in Pakistan.
  2. Structural changes in the setup, management and role of every institution in Pakistan.
  3. Compilation of digital data from A to Z information of every individual using NADRA profile.

However for reaching these objectives PTI government has to assemble every one on one table including Zardari or MNS whether one likes it or not. Nelson Mandela did it once to pull out South Africa from crisis. Since accountability of every one including Zardari and MNS would be part of agenda so including these persons would not be a bad move. Further this would be not a NRO as nobody would be forgiven if he is found guilty.

As for last words it is now an urgent need that in spite of differences in our mindset we all should have to work together for the resolution of Pakistan problems and to make it strong.

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