An opportunity to remake Pakistan

December 18th, 2011

Published on The Nation, by Inayatullah, December 17, 2011.

Pakistan has mostly been a crisis-ridden country. Today when this column is being written, one can’t help recalling the terrible tragedy of half of the country seceding to become Bangladesh. The events of December 16 must be recalled to mull over our follies and incompetence – a ruthless analysis of all the facts and how the disaster unfolded itself. We should learn to learn lessons … //   

… Fortunately, for Pakistan, the NRO government had to bow to the people’s pressure initiated by spirited lawyers of the country and agreed to the restoration of the deposed Chief Justice and his colleagues. For the first time, Pakistan had an independent higher judiciary. Another healthy development has been the rise of pro-active media – print and electronic. The non-stop discussions on the TV channels have done a stupendous job in raising public awareness on national issues. Mention may also be made of the communication revolution caused by the internet (YouTube, Twitter etc) and the mobile telephone.

Yet, another happy development has been – at long last – the emergence of Imran Khan as a popular national leader whose political party, the PTI, is making rapid strides. Imran’s public meetings and rallies have changed the political landscape of the country and have served to wake up the complacent and compromising PML-N whose performance as a major opposition party remained, for more than three years, less than satisfactory.

The extremely poor record of the PPP-led government – how the economy and the institutions have been ruined, how rampant corruption goes on unchecked, how lives of the people have been made miserable by loadshedding and sudden increases in the prices of gas and petrol, and how the cost of commodities of daily use are skyrocketing – has given rise to a pressing need and demand for change.

Tainted and vulnerable as it is, the government has been further weakened due to:

  • (a) The Supreme Court’s rejection of the NRO case review petition and the court calling for compliance with its directives;
  • (b) The Memogate scandal alerting the GHQ of PPP’s possible attempt to clip the military’s wings with the help of a foreign power;
  • (c) The dubious role of the President and the Prime Minister in the drone strikes;
  • (d) The humiliatingly expressed reaction of the President and the Prime Minister to the Abbottabad raid and the unpopular compromise in the Raymond Davis case;
  • (e) The split within the PPP for various reasons; and
  • (f) The failing health of Mr Zardari.

To improve its record and image and because of the firm stand taken by the GHQ and, in particular, General Kayani, the escalating opposition activities and fearing a further lowering of its political ratings, of late, the government has been showing signs of rising to the occasion to meet its responsibilities for safeguarding national interests. This is reflected in taking a stand after the Salalah Nato strikes. Counter steps, like the evacuation of the Shamsi base and the stoppage of container Nato supplies, have signalled a welcome demonstration of spine. The Parliamentary Security Committee has been asked to examine the matter and make recommendations. An envoys’ conference has been held … (full text).


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