National challenges & a need for capable leadership | By Iqra Jamal


National challenges & a need for capable leadership

ANY nation in this world has to face certain types of national issues that impede its growth and damage its global standing. The same is happening or one can say has always happened in Pakistan. The country has faced challenges ranging from democratic turmoil to militancy, economic instability to corruption, leadership vacuum to terrorism and the list goes on. Currently, Pakistan is passing through such a hard time that any mistake or wrong decision by leaders can destroy the country’s stability, be it political or economic. Here are a few suggestions that are necessary for future leaders to be followed to make the nation prosperous and stable.

Firstly constitution should be given priority above any individual or institute. Constitution is the one that gives guidelines about the way a country has to be ruled for the betterment of its public. Being a supreme law, the Constitution should not be breached by anybody and the lawbreakers must be dealt with a heavy hand. The judiciary must be impartial and free in this regard.

Secondly, the economic crisis, an oldest national issue, needs special efforts to be resolved. The leaders must bring innovative and rational economic reforms. These reforms vary from agricultural to industrial as well as from trading to budgeting. The budget should prioritize those fields which ensure long-term and better economic well-being. In this regard, more finances in the budget should be allocated for technical education and the industrial sector than to the development sector. Similarly, government expenditure should be lowered by removing or minimizing spending on VIP protocol. Exports should be raised by reforming the agricultural, educational and industrial sectors. Digital awareness must be raised among the public to make them capable of raising foreign reserves.

Thirdly, corruption is the biggest issue that causes injustice among the public and spreads hatred against the ruling class. Since corruption is always present in one form or another, it must be dealt with by punishing corrupts harshly. In this regard, anti-corruption agencies should be given independence to operate freely. Moreover, loopholes in the anti-graft laws must be amended. Once a corrupt gets punished, others will feel fearful of getting involved in the same.

Fourthly, hybrid warfare and terrorism are also contributing to national instability that further impedes economic growth directly or indirectly. These challenges need special strategies to be resolved. Major reasons behind terrorism and street crimes must be taken into consideration before launching any military operation against the offenders. Soft power should be given preference and measures must be taken to reduce extremism, radicalization and intolerance in society.

Fifthly, political polarization is the one that is paralyzing the country’s base. The whole nation has been divided into political parties and groups. People have become highly sensitive and do not tolerate opposing views. The resulting social turmoil has become so intense that people do not feel fear of killing each other amid political differences. The current political and social turmoil is not generated spontaneously but is the result of the Pakistani leaders’ aggressiveness against the opponents. Instead of solving the national issues, they are engaged in a blame game against each other. They issue hateful statements and use vulgar language which further adds fuel to the fire. A leader should not arouse polarization and intolerance just to raise his vote bank. He should be the one who teaches lessons of tolerance and unity to his followers just like the founder of Pakistan, Quiad-e-Azam. Hence, the leader’s responsibility is very crucial as he is the only one who can promote diversity and strengthen national integrity.

Sixthly, there is a lack of a leaders’ seriousness towards following democratic culture. Without adopting democratic values, democracy will not be different from autocracy. Unfortunately, the Pakistani political elite take democratic values for granted and moulds them as per their wishes. Resultantly, the country’s political stability, economic growth and social well-being suffer. Hence, democratic culture and values must be fully incorporated into the political system through constitutional reforms and their implementation be given special priority. In short, to implement the above-mentioned strategies, strong and capable leadership is a prerequisite. Only an honest, reliable and capable leader can take a country out of these challenges.

—The writer is working at NUST, Islamabad.

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