By Sultan M. Hali
The President’s address to the joint session of the Parliament on the eve of Pakistan Day was not only lackluster but devoid of the presentation of a concrete plan to combat the war against terror, which is wreaking havoc throughout Pakistan. As supreme commander of Pakistan’s armed forces, it was imperative that he spell out a formal strategy and guideline to tackle the scourge of terrorism; alas he left a lot to be desired. Pakistan is facing one the major challenges in its entire history, challenges that threaten the very existence of Pakistan and needs astute statesman-ship to pull the nation out of this morass.
Suicide bomb blasts and frequent target killings in big cities like Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar, ongoing war on terrorism, impact of external interference into the internal affairs of Pakistan, espionage and sabotage activities of foreign spying agencies like CIA, RAW, MOSSAD and their networks working inside Pakistan have created feelings of insecurity and anxiety among the patriotic people of Pakistan. Western media and journalistic lobbies are also assertively engaging Pakistani intellectuals and media anchors to build public opinion in support of their nefarious designs. Offering free entry passes to attend interactive conferences, obliging the participants with gifts, sumptuous dinners, and other lavish grafts, have become the normal practice to attract domestic opinion builders. The aim is to win over their hearts and minds, thereby, making them unwitting facilitators of their view point or giving them a selective line of persuasion to achieve their objectives.
In this context US officials openly purchase loyalties, offer employment in their security companies working in Pakistan, use bribery, coercion and other techniques including elimination through cold blooded murder with a view to accomplish their mission. The environment has been so contaminated that Pakistanis today feel an extreme sense of insecurity within their own homeland. There is a common perception that foreign spy agencies' ingress into Pakistani milieu including religious militants is actually promoting terrorism in the country. People whisper around that bomb blasts and suicide bombings are planned and backed by foreigners.
On the other hand, on every bomb blast that goes off killing innocent people, the foreign media experts emphatically stress that Pakistan is faced with the proverbial existential threat posed by extremist elements. Unfortunately political situation in the country is also marred by conflicts and controversies, promoting frustration and social division. The nation appears to have become hostage to political division, social disorder, insecurity, and incapacitation. This carries serious perils for the state and there is a need for all segments of society including political elite, civil society, state institutions, intellectuals and other stake holders to feel the threats posed to the state and mull over options to save Pakistan.
Today Pakistan is faced with numerous palpably dangerous challenges which urgently seek attention of all Pakistanis including authorities concerned, politicians and the common masses. These issues are serious enough to demand from the nation to bail out the country from economic mismanagement, political instability and foreign policy failings.
Today unfortunately Pakistan is faced with the curse of poverty, rampant corruption, menace of ongoing war on terrorism including conditions of insurgency and militancy, mafia crimes including land grabbers/street looters, devastated education system, deteriorating quality of food and medicine, scarcity of commonly consumable commodities, power and energy crisis, public security and criminal justice system, demise of moral values, trends of increasing intolerance in the society, invasion of Indian culture, new great game and role of different stakeholders and divisive mindset of the nation.
The people of Pakistan appear to be suffering from deep signs of anxiety, frustration, and low morale, sense of hopelessness and heightened sense of insecurity. Hence there is a need to take charge and fix responsibilities to steer the country in the right direction and create a new sense of hope among the people of Pakistan who are ready to offer any kind of sacrifices to share the challenges faced by the country and make it a story of success.
This Pakistan Day, the President and the people of Pakistan should have resolved to transform challenges into opportunities and convert hopelessness into sense of optimism with a view to overcome the real challenges faced by the country. It is still not too late to save Pakistan from threats posed by internal as well as external elements; but in order to do so; the political leaders must sink their differences and for a change think of Pakistan rather than their own vested interests. They should remember that without Pakistan, they would not have a platform to play their politics. They have to save Pakistan first from the machination, conspiracy and nefarious scheming of its detractors. Their actions must be in consonance with Pakistan’s survival as a state. They need to act with a view to bring the whole nation cohesively on one page. As opinion builders and leaders, they have their work cut out to mould the inchoate mass into one solid edifice.
Unfortunately certain political factions are creating doubts and speculation in the minds of Pakistani youth using religious, ethnic, regional and chauvinistic themes. Their political agenda is based on personal advancement and greed. Hence they tend to ignore the sacrifices made by our elders with the desire to revive the glory of past and Islamic culture. The events that culminated into our freedom need to be celebrated with a view to evaluate as to how certain elements are losing their faith in the two nation theory. We need to make efforts to instill new vigor of faith and values in our youth, blowing spirits of enlightenment, courage and perseverance as per the dreams of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan.
It is the duty of the media to promote the real teachings of Islam and religions harmony not only among various sects but also followers of other religions. The President should have given a clarion call to all the peace loving and patriotic citizens of Karachi to set aside their social, political economic and religious differences to extinguish the flames of fratricidal violence by adopting the strategy of forgive and forget and demonstrating bonhomie of the past. The media also needs to play its role in bringing the masses under one platform to meet the challenges headlong and avoid unwittingly becoming the tools of Pakistan’s detractors.