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Strategic vision & good governance

Dr Muhammad Khan

OUT of many characteristic of good governance, strategic vision is the most significant aspect; a leader must have in order to efficiently lead his nation. In order to achieve the goal (s), a leader sets for the success of his nation or organization; he must conceive a strategic vision, which is achievable and realistic. A strategic, visionary leader is ‘able to strike a balance between being a dreamer and a practical implementer having clarity what to attain at short-term, medium term and a on long-term basis. From the traces of history, one learns that, leadership is all about the ability to take actions that guide his team for attainment of laid-down objectives. In a way, the leader gives the vision and his team interpret that vision for an efficient implementation. After the death of founding fathers, Pakistan has been found wanting from the perspective of a leadership having strategic vision. Rather, the strategic vision and basic for the creation of Pakistan could not be carried forward by the subsequent rulers. This ruling class had short sighted vested interests that could neither serve the interests of Pakistan nor they improve the living standard of masses. Their actions increased the vulnerabilities of Pakistan with very low human development index (HDI) in the comity of nations. Resultantly, Pakistan lost its historical glory and the vision of founding fathers. The declining traits of leadership have provided ample reasons for the rival forces which disintegrated this first ideological Muslim State in a period of less than three decades of its physical life.
Today, after seven decades of its physical life, Pakistan is still under severe challenges at all levels. The economy of Pakistan, which acts as an engine of development is in extreme bad state with no visible indicators of recovering any time soon. Despite the armed forces of Pakistan have defeated terrorism and extremism from Pakistan, the ruling class could not attract the investment, needed for the development of Pakistan. In the absence of minimum needed economic activities, there exist serious socio-economic vulnerabilities among the masses. These vulnerabilities have been exploited by the rival forces on various pretexts. Prime Minister, Imran Khan though changed the Financial Minister, but the very question arises, why he appointed people with no practical experience to administer such an important Ministry. Had there existed strategic vision, selection of the core team (ministers) could have been done with most suitable people occupying these slots. Bringing massive changes in the cabinet just after eight months speaks of obscurity at the level of leadership. Despite these current changes in cabinet, one does not see any bright star, who can really rescue the economy from current low GDP. The new team is almost a reinforcement of the failure and historical experience guides, never reinforce the failure.
Emotional stability is the most significant character trait of a leader. A leader with strategic vision must have the element of tolerance in order to control the frustration and stress, at the most trying time. The man with emotional instability, having no control over what he says, cannot be a leader. Hazarat Ali (RA) once said, “Take care of your tongue like the way you take care of gold and silver.” A German scholar said, “If you do not have control over your mouth, you will not have control over your future.” How a reactionary and emotionally instable leader can lead a State, whose geopolitics is most important for entire world and especially for the Asian Continent. A nuclear state, with rivalries all around must have a leader with composed personality, who can unite and harmonize the masses, including political and religious forces at domestic level and safeguard the national interests at international level. The domestic issues must be debated, discussed and resolved at domestic level. What to talk of advertising the unproven incidents, a leader does not even disclose the genuine domestic susceptibilities in a third country or at any international forum. Pakistan has never allowed its soil to be used against any neighbour, whereas the neighbours did.
Accountability is the most needed element in the list of good governance in Pakistan. However, the accountability has to be done by the judiciary, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other relevant institutions, meant for that. Strengthening the institutions of accountability and freeing them from politicizing would free the Government from being blamed for political victimization. The rapidly falling economy, poor indicators of national cohesion and development and above all the increasing socio-economic vulnerabilities of Pakistani masses cannot be hidden under the carpet of accountability. Moreover, no worthwhile financial recovery has been noticed as yet. Pakistan is strategically located state; it is equipped with strategic arsenals for its defence and security. Its defence forces have proved their metal at the most trying time by defeating the global network of terrorism with a befitting response to those attempted aggression on its soil. Therefore, it is essentially to be ruled by leaders, having strategic vision and good governance.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.