What Ails Pakistan? Way Forward

By Asif Haroon Raja
After the Partition in 1947,  mishandling and mismanagement of Evacuee Properties laid the foundation of corruption in Pakistan. It created a class of upstarts who prospered during the decade of development of Ayub Khan in the 1960s. 
Devaluation and nationalization by Bhutto pulverised the economy and industry. Jayala culture and promotion of secularism indisciplined the society and promoted liberalism. 
Fighting someone else’s wars for thirty years militarized the society and infected it with extremism, intolerance, ethnicity, sectarianism, religious bigotry and divides, and the cultures of Kalashnikov, drugs and other social vices. The Junejo era gave birth to bank loans, Mafias and parallel economy.
The era of the 1990s saw Pakistan getting engulfed in the aftereffects of the Afghan war which nosedived our morals and values, and craze for making big money overnight intensified. 
The political class, bureaucrats, the military and big tycoons got involved in power politics and political engineering to protect their selfish interests. 
VIP culture and cultures of commissions, kickbacks, graft intensified. Merit was discarded and was replaced by nepotism and loyalists. Pakistan’s economic hub Karachi was mercilessly plundered by MQM and PPP. 
The elite class controlling the wealth, and with all the levers of power, got detached from the commoners. They neither made any effort to integrate the nation, or to reform the state institutions. The accountability was in name only. The IPP deal was the worst which is one of the key factors of our debt burden. Agriculture being the backbone was neglected. 
These factors bolstered black economy and strengthened the Mafias. 
The post 9/11 era saw Pakistanis getting bloodied and traumatized in the US imposed war on terror. Enlightened moderation was promoted to show the soft face of Pakistan, but it heightened the secular-Islamic divide and promoted obscenity and immorality. The 20-year war destabilised the country, divided the nation, and impoverished the economy. 
The war didn’t make any difference to the rich class which continued to live an ostentatious and pompous life, and detested simplicity. To upkeep their high lifestyle, they got more loans which were pilfered. 
The spending was much more than the income which enlarged deficits. Population explosion further complicated economics. Debt burden kept mounting. More debts were taken for debt servicing.
The 3rd political experiment made by the military establishment to improve economics and  to maintain its control over power politics proved devastating for the country. Pakistan is still suffering from its consequences and is still clueless how to get out of the self-created mess.
With so many internal shortcomings and vulnerabilities, it was easy for our adversaries to keep sprinkling oil on our weak areas and keeping Pakistan perpetually politically destabilised, socially divided and economically weak and dependent. 
The tool of media was used to mind clone the educated  urbanites. The hirelings and the misled added to Pakistan’s troubles. They picked up arms against the State and their Army and unwittingly promoted the dangerous agenda of enemies of Pakistan.
The deplorable conduct of the rulers and the elites have depressed Pakistani youth who see no future for them. The youth bulge is going to waste, and the educated younger generation prefers to go abroad. 
It is because of the misconduct of the civil and military leaders and the bureaucrats that Pakistan today finds itself gripped in multiple crises which include political, economic, constitutional, judicial and moral crises. Political polarization has scaled new heights of hatred. 
With so many failings, and without having carried out crucial reforms, to what good will be the elections on Feb 8? 
Several political parties are expressing doubts and are demanding level playing fields and fair and transparent elections’.
The losers will not accept the results, the winners would be of the same stock. A tug of war between the govt and the opposition would restart, the spoilers would hatch new conspiracies to derail the so-called democracy, the snakes in the grass would keep hissing and stinging the federation, and our enemies would happily keep fishing in our dirty waters.
Steps Required
The steps that are urgently needed to be taken by the future govt are:1. Continuation of reforms of the Judiciary, Police Bureaucracy, FBR, and other State institutions that are politicized and corrupt. 
2. Continuation of economic uplift programs with the same zeal.
3. Attracting foreign investment by the SIFC. 
4. Continuation of chalked out development of Mining, IT, Agriculture, Energy and Defense Production Sectors under monitoring and implementation teams. 
5. Continuation of crackdown against the smugglers, hoarders, money exchangers and other culprits involved in mega corruption and crimes. 
6. Deportation of all the illegal immigrants and making the border management and immigration laws more stringent. 
7. Dealing with the foreign paid and equipped terrorists sternly. 
8. Banning sit-ins, and political gatherings inciting violence and hatred. 
9. Establishment of rule of law and making the accountability effective.
10. Improving governance and work ethics in all the departments.
11. Getting rid of the sick public sector enterprises that have become white elephants through privatisation. 
12. Geo-economics is given higher priority over geo-politics. 
13. Effective measures taken to offset negative effects of Indo-US-Israel controlled social media and of the hybrid war.
14. Measures should be taken to make our economy self-reliant by  getting rid of the dependency syndrome. 
15. At the same time, efforts should be made to gel the society and unify the home front.
United Home Front
The united and strong home front will be possible, if: –
Our elite class mend their ways.
The policy of one-sided appeasement is shunned.
Foreign, economic and defence policies are balanced, serving our national interests.
Political stability and harmony between the power centres are achieved.
The confidence of the youth is rebuilt and they are put on constructive channels.
The yawning gap between the rich and the poor is narrowed.
Poverty is alleviated.
Equitable dispensation of justice is ensured.
Moral turpitude improved and national character strengthened.
The above looks impossible, but where there is a will there is a way. Sincerity and honesty of purpose, combined with total dedication and commitment, and faith in Allah, can remove all hurdles howsoever insurmountable. 
Asif Haroon Raja

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