Overcoming domestic challenges


Dr Muhammad Khan

AFTER having a state, there are two vital requirements to sustain its survivability. One, the minimum essential economic needs to run the affairs of state and its masses. Two, strong-armed forces for ensuring security and sovereignty of the state. Debating both the factors one by one, lets’ analyse the role played by the armed forces of Pakistan first. With the beginning of 21st century, a new form of warfare was thrust upon Pakistan by the international forces, who even made new regional and global maps which excluded Pakistan. The new form of warfare was the terrorism coupled with 5th generation and non-kinetic warfare. The armed forces of Pakistan defeated all these forces. Terrorism was the most serious challenge, confronted by the state and society of Pakistan, after the debacle of East Pakistan in 1971. Towards its beginning in the first decade of 21st century, terrorism posed multi-dimensional threats to the very survival of the state of Pakistan. Through their professional competence, the armed forces of Pakistan defeated terrorism throughout the state’s frontiers and brought a normalcy in Pakistan. It was a gigantic task undertaken by the armed forces of Pakistan with lot of dedication and with the help of resilient Pakistani nation. Indeed, the forces who planned this menace against Pakistan had never expected that, Pakistan will ever overcome this complex nature of multiple form of warfare and may be entrapped into a viscous cycle of civil war. It was not only a terrorism but sub-nationalism, ethnicity and misuse of religion to weaken the very ideology of Pakistan. Through its national resolve, the Pakistani nation won this war with the help of Allah Almighty, as Pakistan is a gift of God.
After restoration of peace in the country by armed forces, it was incumbent upon the government(s) to create conducive environment for the economic progress of Pakistan and financial well-being of masses by creating opportunities of trade and commerce and local jobs. It was also essential that government(s) could have strengthened the existing institutions while installing new institutions throughout the country for enabling and empowering the masses to efficiently manage their economies which in-turn could have contributed towards national economic development. Traditionally, the state of Pakistan had well defined agricultural system to sufficiently support the basic dietary requirements of its masses while efficiently supporting the economic structure of the state. If there have been shortcomings in this crucial aspect, it is not because of the dearth of resources but certainly, it reflects incompetence on the part of financial managerial team(s) and the ruling class(s). The current economic challenges, facing the state and society of Pakistan are outcome of repeated incompetence, flaws and mismanagement by the economic managers of Pakistan, who brought Pakistan to a level of economic default. Mere acceptance that, “This (sugar and wheat crises) was our negligence, I admit this” is not sufficient. And that, ‘we are conducting an investigation to find the people involved in this artificial crisis.’ Then what! The people who caused these crises are sitting in the Parliament. Indeed, the economic crises of Pakistan are beyond wheat and sugar crisis, long-drowned, unfinished and methodically planned in which state has gone poor and wealth has accumulated in the hands of few people.
The economy of the state has virtually gone to its lowest ebb while IMF and few GCC sates are at dictating terms. Today, the state is virtually run by the money robbed from the pockets of poor Pakistani masses under the garb of unprecedented inflation. The people are being asked to bear this unprecedented inflation and dearness for few more years; perhaps until they complete their five years term. Unfortunately, inflation is in the prices of those items which are purely Pakistani products. It is wrongly claimed that, farmers are being benefitted from this dearness and inflation. Indeed, the feudal and landlords are being benefitted who are either sitting in the parliament or associated with the ruling class somehow, exploiting the masses and then there is no accountability of these people by any government so far. The poor state of economy and rising inflation has pushed the masses to a new turmoil while pushing Pakistan to a state of economic insecurity. Today, even the middle and higher middle-class are finding it difficult to meet their both ends. Then there is a rising ambiguity and anxiety among the society with respect to state of economy and system of governance in Pakistan. The challenges posed by economic uncertainty and poor governance are rapidly increasing the domestic vulnerabilities of Pakistan. The non-state actors, ethnicity and sub-nationalism are product of socio-economic unrest and poor governance. Through repeated military operations against terrorism, the armed forces of Pakistan have brought an atmosphere of peace throughout the state. Therefore, let’s strengthened Pakistan by overcoming the serious domestic challenges like; poor economy, the wanting state of governance and social unrest through tangible measures. Economy cannot be improved by over taxing the masses but through structural changes in faulty economic machinery and through introduction of good governance while bridging the socio-political fault-lines simultaneously.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.