By Sultan M. Hali
Pakistan is faced with extraordinary challenges and harsh predicaments. Economic disparity, political instability, Government-Judiciary row, conflicting interests and divergence of views between ruling coalition partners (PPP and PML-N), mutual games of mudslinging and point scoring, inflation, poverty, corruption, war on terrorism, rising crime rate, target killings, scarcity of food, medicine and drinking water, ineffective criminal justice system, energy crisis, deteriorating moral values in the face of foreign media invasion, intolerance and ethnic division in the society are some of the factors which draw similarities between Pakistan and protest ridden conditions in the Middle East.
Certain political elements are also trying to instigate emotions by motivating domestic masses, sending special message to students to create Bahrain and Tunisia like conditions and protest against the Government. Such elements will never succeed in their design to destabilize Pakistan as conditions in Pakistan are not similar to Bahrain, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Tunisia where prolonged autocratic rule is being challenged. The system in Pakistan guarantees political stability, social justice and economic growth.
In Pakistan, the democratic Government and independent Judiciary are in place while the Armed Forces are committed to their cause. Despite economic recession in the country the national morale and sense of optimism are high. National resolve can well be measured through peoples’ enthusiasm shown in support of Pakistan Cricket Team on winning the quarter final match against West Indies. Actually the people of Pakistan are full of determination, hope and self-assurance to face the challenges and overcome difficulties to make Pakistan a viable economy and even a real welfare state. This only goes to prove that the people of Pakistan basically comprise a healthy vibrant society, which harbours no ill will against anyone. It is keen to play its part in bringing normalcy to the situation prevailing here.
The harbingers of doom and gloom paint dismal pictures and foretell doomsday scenarios to grind their own axe. Indeed the situation is grim as far as the state of the economy; the terror attacks, energy shortages and growing inflation are concerned. However, the people require sound and sincere leadership, which can guide them out of the current morass and quagmire. The patriotic citizens of Pakistan have demonstrated time and again that they have the will and perseverance to gird their loins and unite to meet any challenge, calamity or vicissitude.
The 1965 Pak-India War tested Pakistan’s mettle when it was attacked by an enemy five times its size. However, the people of Pakistan expressed solidarity with the Armed Forces and stood behind the defenders of Pakistan and together they formed a solid edifice, which dealt a crushing blow to the adversary.
In 1971, Indian forces invaded Pakistan and severed its eastern wing forming Bangladesh. However, Pakistan did not accept defeat lying down. Its people, under sound leadership gathered their wits and through their collective efforts, became a force to reckon with even becoming a nuclear weapons equipped state, much to the chagrin of its detractors. The defeated and truncated of Pakistan in 1971, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, in 1998 surprised the world by crossing the nuclear threshold declaring itself to be a nation, which could master science and technology and work wonders for itself. The 2005 earthquake and 2010 deluge too tested our mettle and Pakistanis proved equal to the task.
Once again the problems besetting Pakistan are myriad and the challenge is tremendous. The people are willing but it is the political leadership, which is dithering and needs to sink its differences to rise to the occasion. Personal vendettas, settling scores and petty differences must be put on hold for the greater good of Pakistan. The politicians need to be reminded that only if there is a Pakistan, can they rule the roost. The enemies of Pakistan are busy gnawing away at the very roots of our existence and the only way to stop them from achieving their heinous aim is to unite. If our politicians continue with their game of backbiting and attempting to bring each other down, they do not need any enemies.
There is no other way out of this maze of trials and tribulations but gearing ourselves together, applying our collective wisdom to resolve the problems and taking them head on. Passing the buck will not do. The Federal Government blaming the Provincial one and the political dispensation in the citadel of power blaming the opposition and the haves finding culpability with the have-nots has to stop. The political leadership must create a sense of optimism among all segments of society; political factions sacrificing their party lines to bring more cohesion, integrity and harmony among the nation creating an atmosphere of reconciliation, tolerance and tranquility.
The politicians need the masses as a fish needs water. It is the masses that elect them and place them into the parliament thus the politicians are accountable to them. Unless they resolve their problems, the masses will refuse to elect them the next time around. National accountability is most visible on the day of the polling. Let this fact sink into the minds of the political leaders. They have no option but to unite at this critical juncture.
The media, which plays an important role in opinion building as well as guiding the masses to herald the deeds or expose the misdeeds of its leaders, also needs to pull its act together. Whereas it must expose the wrongdoers, it also needs to raise public morale and it must also avoid projection of conflict-ridden themes having divisive appeal. Various talk shows on the private TV channels appear to be a boxing bout, where the opponents belonging to opposing political factions, take turns in punching each other in a bid to knock the other out. The program anchor wills them on with barbs and taunts to continue the brawl. Such a state of affairs must come to an end. The projection of cohesive aspects of own society is needed and the media has its task cut out.