ONE does not know in what fit or frame of mind the Prime Minister of Pakistan indulged in self- delusion choosing to be proud of his Government’s achievements, which has been faltering both at home and abroad; particularly in managing its dwindling economy and yet making unconvincing claims of successes at macro levels envisaging long-term gains which has been a common ploy with successive Governments, none of which would obviously survive till then to claim realization of projected ‘Long-term’ benefits with such flawed performance as witnessed ever since Pakistan’s creation.
On the Diplomatic front , just when Pakistan at long last was beginning to be heard with Imran Khan’s bold and forthright dissertation at the UN Assembly over Kashmir, Islam-phobia and causes of the third world, this sudden extension of the olive branch into a pit-hole from where Pakistan has been repeatedly bitten, is unfathomable.
It amazes you that just when for the first time India due to its own drunken follies of self-aggrandizement was getting exposed and found on the defensive, you get entrapped into the so-called back channel normalization process with it, and none else but UAE as the interlocutor; a State among those Imperial puppets which only recently capitulated to normalize relations with Israel which had usurped Arab Lands for over half a Century; countries which have reneged from coming out openly in support of Pakistan’s position on UN mandated Plebiscite in Kashmir.
No sane person would not wish normalization between two nuclear neighbours for the sake of welfare of the people on both sides, but how can you hope to mend fences with an adversary which openly brags about dismembering you and still vows to continue doing so; is a simple question to the protagonists of ‘Aman ki Asha’.
Contrary to his commitment to be the Ambassador for the Kashmir cause, Imran Khan contemplating any dialogue process with India without reversal of Article 370 pending resolution of the Kashmir dispute through plebiscite would run the risk of being branded as Kashmir’s Mir Jafer.
It is time for him to chastise his Foreign Minister to mind his latest articulation on the subject which smells of a retreat on Pakistan’s stated position.
Mr. Prime Minister! Kashmir is bleeding not just because of the obduracy of India and inaction by the United Nation, but largely because of Pakistan’s failure to articulate its claim as the unfinished Agenda of Partition, whereas reducing it to a mere humanitarian Issue would amount to denial of Kashmiri right to choose which has led to the humanitarian disaster.
On the domestic front, except for Ayub Khan’s time when an Agricultural thaw was witnessed after commissioning of Tarbela Dam, Agha Hilaly hosting Henry Kissinger to facilitate Shuttle Diplomacy with China on the diplomatic front during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s tenure, and Dr Mehboobul Haq the Internationally acclaimed Economic wizard serving General Ziaul Haq’s Military Rule with his work on Human Development and Human Security which culminated in his famous 6th Five Year Economic Development Program emulated by South Korea and Malaysia which are economic giants today, and attainment of nuclear capability to guarantee National Security, there is practically nothing to look back with any sense of honour, pride or achievement by Pakistan.
Despondency and dismay at the performance of all rulers without exception seeking to prolong their stay for personal power rather than National Development has been the tragic story of this great Nation with immense potential.
Particularly ever since the US made Middle East and then South Asia its happy hunting grounds; all Pakistani Rulers have been launched into power by circumstances rather than their acceptability among the masses making Democracy only a farce in this Country; Bhutto as a result of separation of East Pakistan and the rest which followed, invariably through foreign-backed support serving alien interests.
Ironically no one was ever branded as ‘selected’ when facilitated by outsiders, but when the Armed Forces of the Country sees eye to eye with the Government of the day which it is Constitutionally bound to support, it is branded as selected.
The political leadership of the Country never raised its voice against foreign meddling in Pakistan’s affairs, but asks whose job it is not only to safeguard the geographical boundaries of the State but also its ideological frontiers namely the military Establishment; the cat in this case, to stay away and let the mice play.
Where democracy is sought to flourish, genuine leadership eventually emerges from the grass-roots; even in countries with symbolic Kingship like Malaysia out of sheer sincerity of purpose where they do not rely on rhetoric nor keep blaming the past but get on with the job.
The leadership in Pakistan promises the moon to the common man but soon after attaining power starts by complaining about the state in which it was handed over power, and then nurses this hapless class with cosmetic Income support programs with different nomenclatures being funded out of International borrowings instead of being garnered out of National income from areas of productivity which are next to none; the Country importing wheat, sugar and cotton which it used to export.
The fact is that contrary to PTI Government’s Election rhetoric of bringing back siphoned off monies within 100 days, the big fish are still at large, and instead of providing millions of jobs, millions have been rendered jobless besides the ironical fact that the Government could not find expertise within this huge human reservoir, and had to import Hafeez Sheikh, ZulfiBokhari and Shehbaz Gill none of whom qualify even as errand boys for the likes of Dr Mahbubul Haq.
Corruption instead of being eliminated has travelled down to grass roots for lack of justice and effective control.
You have devalued your currency by 50%, raised petroleum prices by Rs 30/- per litre and doubled electricity tariff.
Much as one may like to stand behind the sincere-sounding Captain, his team-performance is squarely reflected in the recent electoral defeats of PTI, which must now deliver to stay.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.