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Pakistan’s perpetual search for stability

The government and the overall state of Pakistan are in shambles. It has now been 75 years since Pakistan got independence, and yet the country has failed to ensure political stability. It was political unrest and chaos that eventually led to the disintegration of East Pakistan and the subsequent birth of Bangladesh.

Now the war of survival has started. And Imran Khan’s political onslaught is pushing it to its height. The economy is heavily reliant on numerous multilateral and bilateral costly loans. But the real question is: for how long can a country of almost 250 million people deal with never-ending political and economic issues that lead to political instability and put the country on the brink of sovereign default?

The security situation is worsening as is evident from the condemnable targeted attack on former prime minister Imran Khan during the PTI’s long march. Such politics of hate should be condemned in all its forms and designs and must be discouraged by all political and religious leaders at every forum. This hatred has the capacity to divide society, which is detrimental to the very existence of the state.

Here lies the role of the leadership to work out a plan for damage control and save Pakistan from sliding down to an all-time high risk of volatility. It is also time for Khan, who is the most popular leader at present, to create a space for reconciliation and tolerance in our politics. This is important for a cohesive society which sticks to the main cause of democracy and democratic norms ensuring development, progress and prosperity.

Pakistan cannot afford another judicial murder like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s, political murder like Benazir Bhutto’s or unjustified disqualification like that of Nawaz Sharif. Terrorism should be condemned in all its forms and must not be tolerated at any cost. The assassination attempt on Imran Khan should be properly investigated to see who is behind this conspiracy to destabilize the country.

Political leaders are the pillars of a state, shaping up society as a whole. The security of these leaders is the prime and utmost responsibility of law enforcement. Countries sans political leaders descend into chaos and remain entangled in oppressive, dictatorial regimes.

Pakistan needs a democratically elected, strong political government with a clear vision and economic strategy to get out of this morass. And this is not possible without fresh elections. There is another danger looming large in the present situation of political unrest and that is about a possible military intervention. If that happens, it may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. So, it must be avoided at all cost. There should be political reconciliation through fresh elections. A ‘charter of economy’, as has been emphasized by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other political leaders likeand Bilawal Bhutto quite a few times, should be documented and signed immediately.

Khan and other PTI leaders should let go of their ego and express solidarity with the poor people of Pakistan and commit to setting up a strong welfare state which takes care of its poor. The vision of the leadership of the PTI is blurred and needs a cure. Khan has massive support, and a political figure of this level must be visionary, but he lacks political vision.

It was quite disappointing and disturbing to listen to his statements that he gave a few days back atop his container to a journalist. He said that he was not bothered about the possibility of martial law in Pakistan. Such statements do not suit a democrat and the head of a democratic party. Hoping for martial law is a self-centred approach and should be condemned. He should be concerned about any military interventions as these things prove to be disastrous for a country.

Another issue is the economic outlook of Pakistan. The current situation is disturbing and painful for every citizen who understands the economy and economic dynamics. At this point, political leaders should ideally be sitting on one table – in parliament – to debate on the much-touted charter of economy for the overall good of the people. Imran Khan needs to change his approach towards other political leaders of the country as the country needs a collective inclusive approach to get rid of the vicious circle of loans, liabilities and debt payments and march towards prosperity.

It seems that it is only the PTI which is creating hurdles in the way to economic prosperity by not sitting in parliament. They don’t want to sit with other political leaders either. This approach of taking everything for granted is not good, especially when it is the matter of the economy of the country.

The ideal situation would be to sit with each other and find a solution. All parties should also decide on a timeline for fresh elections – whether they should be held next year as per their schedule or earlier depending upon the principle of political give and take. The economy needs immediate decisions to put it on the path of recovery for which political stability is a must.

Regional trade cooperation must be enhanced. It is time to work towards reviving CPEC on an urgent basis. Work needs to be done to restore the country’s GSP plus status. These necessary steps taken for economic stability will be the right approach to stabilize the country. Our economic managers, especially Ishaq Dar, need to focus on the enhancement of exports. This can be done by extending necessary incentives to the exports sector immediately.

What is the way forward for Pakistan to achieve stability? The role of political leadership is quite important in this regard. All political leaders must show maturity and work together to stabilize the country. A grand reconciliation dialogue is a must to achieve the goal of a strong democratic and tolerant society for the greater cause of a progressive Pakistan. It is important for a democratic Pakistan to involve all groups of society.

A long term economic planning is immediately needed to ensure that the country is on the path to economic progress and development. A charter of economy is urgently needed to get rid of loans and liabilities and to escape sovereign default.

An inclusive democratic political system is the solution to all problems in society and to stabilize Pakistan.

Email: hassanbaig2009@gmail.com

Hassan Baig, "Pakistan’s perpetual search for stability," The News. 2022-11-07.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political stability , Political system , Democracy , Elections , Imran Khan , Asif Ali Zardari , Pakistan , CPEC , PTI , GSP+