Finally there is light at the end of tunnel. The overcast murky chaotic and scary political situation of the last few months appears to be clearing up with two positive developments on the economic front. The first positive news is the $3b standby agreement negotiated with the IMF and secondly the 5 billion dollars facility promised by friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and UAE. On the political front good news came in the form of an announcement by the Prime Minister that coalition govt. of the PDM will bow out of their responsibilities and hand over charge to a caretaker govt. who will then conduct fair, impartial and transparent general elections on the date to be announced by Election Commission of Pakistan.
The nation awaits with abated breath to see the performance of the new elected Govt. The post-election scenario remains uncertain and rather murky. It goes without saying that the foremost task or the immediate need of the new govt. will be to bolster the economy and end the vicious cycle of foreign loans and dependence on other countries for the economic survival of the country.
A weak economy is poison for the security concerns and encourages the operations of the religious extremists and militants of groups like the TTP and Daesh. Militant activities discourages all forms of foreign investments and even local investors shy away from any domestic investments.
The new incoming Govt. will be faced with the daunting task of making do with its meager resources. Throughout our history every Govt. has depended on the IMF the World Bank and friendly countries to keep our economy afloat and very little effort has ever been made to achieve some level of self-dependence and to break the begging bowl to regain our self-respect and economic independence. The present Govt. after a lot of negotiations and acceptance of some rigid conditions managed a loan of $3b and it is very likely that the next govt. too will be looking for loans from international finance agencies and friendly countries.
The new Govt. in tandem with the powerful military establishment needs to do some serious introspection and break the chains of foreign dependence and devise a strategy for the country to stand on our own two feet without the crutch of foreign aid.About time that the economic managers and the powerful establishment wake up to the reality of the grim situation and devise an economic plan to end this economic dependence once for all. The culture of loans for everything has very severely damaged the great potential of our own people. The very small allocations for health and education by the federal and provincial Govt. is nothing short of a poisonous potion for the future generations of the country and is in fact very damaging for the safety and security of the country. Ironically the two basic requirements of the nation that is education and health are the most ignored and neglected areas by all past governments we can only hope and pray that the newly elected govt. will now give top priority to these vital needs of the country.
Our political elite now needs to stop fighting on petty issues and mudslinging on each other and get really serious about things that matter such as law and order, corruption, security, education, health care, employment. They need to plan and implement programs that can improve lot of the common man and get the country out of this economic and political mess that it is in.
The old tactics of maligning and accusing political opponents of corruption loot and plunder should be abandoned and a positive approach adopted to bring about the much needed change in our society. The electronic and social media can play a vital role in raising awareness and pinpointing the evils in society.
Our major TV channels and the print media can provide a yeoman service by their talk shows and documentaries to create more interest in the people to vote intelligently and elect capable, competent and honest people to take the reins of power and then provide good governance and competent leadership. The newly elected Govt. will be faced with some daunting and serious security problems. Top priority of the new Govt. will be to cooperate with the military establishment and deal with all security related concerns.
During the last few months there has been an upsurge in the terrorist activities in KPK and Baluchistan. The TTP from across the border in Afghanistan is again on the rampage and the Baluchi rebels too are very active. The TTP has the cooperation and backing of the Afghan Taliban Govt. and are using the Afghan territory to launch their attacks on the Pakistani armed forces and inflicting heavy casualties on the Pakistani security agencies.
The new Govt. will have to devise and launch a newcounter terrorism strategy to eliminate the scourge of extremism and exterminate the menace of religious militancy from the soil of Pakistan. On our Eastern borders relations with India have to be mended and greater confidence building measures will be needed to restart trade and peace talks.
—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.
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