Pakistan has vibrant and diverse society with different cultures live as a federation. We have past and present in front of our eyes, which could help us to predict future and take necessary steps to make it even better. In present International scenario, Pakistan is important country and this status along with several internal problems in particular has created many fears for the country. We have to develop hopes for better future. By analyzing today’s fears and tomorrow’s hopes we can do this. We have to visualize society of the future.
Absence of democracy in Pakistan is the biggest problem and internal threat for Pakistan. Pakistan is a federation of different cultures and sects and the only way by which they can participate in country’s affairs is democracy. Dictatorial, autocratic or military regime provokes only irrelevance in public to the national affairs. People begin to feel that, they have no representation and there is no one to raise voice for them. When people are not involved in policy making, they become irrelevant and every step taken by such government regardless of what intension is, they just develops anti government sentiments. This situation in country creates dangerous conflicts between different sects and cultures. Example of this situation is FATA and Baluchistan in particular and allover Pakistan in general. Present regime decided to take part in so-called war on terror after 9/11 bombings. Unconditional cooperation by unelected regime made people angry and bombings in FATA area raised this disagreement to the point where conflict changed to collision. This war inside Pakistan has widened to settled areas from tribal areas and has compelled people to create law & order problem who by no other way can raise their voices. Suicide attacks, bombings and extremism in Pakistan are caused because of war on terror and extreme use of brutal force by own army on its own people. This law and order situation is very dangerous for integrity of Pakistan.
It is an understood fact that wherever religious or different sects of same origin came across each other, sectarianism is found in varying forms. Sometime they exist peacefully but sometime they have fierce conflict. This fierce conflict is often called sectarian violence. This situation in Pakistan was not so dangerous until 80’s when different cultural and religious sects were made to fight for sustaining dictatorial government. Religious sectarianism was supported by some Arab powers and some other nations also played their role in provoking violence and hatred against each other; Cultural and Language diversity normally plays important role in progress. But in Pakistan this has played negative role in the absence of democracy where there has been unfair and unjust allocation of resources. This has weakened Pakistan as Pakistan is a federation and if any federating unit is unhappy or angry this will weaken Pakistan. This is said that if there is no politics and lack of tolerance then there is violence.
Solution to this problem is real democracy through free and fair elections held under neutral caretaker government. Elections should be held in free and fair environment where everyone has liberty to select his representatives who will truly represent wishes of people. Initially the change might not be considerable but with time it will show its effects if and this is big if, if no more interruptions are made in political democratic process it will show its results. Independent election commission shall be made to conduct elections in free & fair environment as it is normally said that it doesn’t matter to whom you cast the vote, what really matter is who counts the vote The role of agencies in threatening opposite candidates and their involvement in rigging is also needed to be finishes forever. Free and fair environment will also increase turnout in elections showing interest of people in policy making of Pakistan. Creating awareness through open tolerant discussions via media will also play important role.
Corruption and poverty are other major problems faced by Pakistan. Pakistan’s economy has been affected by corruption very much. The high-level corruption, which involves politicians, military and civil bureaucracy and feudalists, has damaged country’s economy. This corruption is done usually by borrowing large loans from banks and by borrowing loans from international financial institutions for development purposes and then these loans is not returned; rather these are transferred to personal bank accounts. These increase debts on Pakistan have crushed its economy. These debts are than returned by general public through high taxes. Taking high rates of commission and giving tenders of public projects according to likes and dislike instead of merit is also common type of corruption. SGS Coteckna case, Mehran Bank scandal, Surrey Palace scandal, Paper mills scandal, Steel Mills case and privatization of PTCL, Illegal agricultural land acquisition are common examples of corruption. Pakistan’s number in corruption is still too high. The high-level corruption has been the major reason of poverty in Pakistan. This poverty has raised corruption in lower level that is under immense pressure of continuous inflation. To eradicate corruption we need to make sustainable and people friendly economic policies. If inflation will not be high the lower level corruption will eradicate. To eradicate high-level corruption we need to strengthen accountability process through powerful and independent minded judiciary. Apart from this we have shown some improvement, as our GDP growth rate is 7%, GDP of agriculture is 21.6%. GDP of industry is 25.1% and per capita has increased to $3004, our Karachi Stock exchange has been acclaimed as one of the top stock exchanges of world where more than 750 companies are registered. So we need to concentrate and be efficient more to develop.
Education and health sector in Pakistan has been neglected more. Only around 2% of budget is allocated for education, which is around Rs 9556.44 million (9.55 billion). Our literacy rate is 56% with 87.3% enrollment in primary, 44% in secondary and just 4.6% in post-secondary. 10 million children in Pakistan are not getting basic education. Percentage of enrollment in higher grades is low because of poverty and high fees, which they cannot afford. Same sort of situation is with health, Poor facilities of health will not be able to protect future generations from disease. We need to increase this part of budget from 2% to at least 8% to 10%.
Politics and political activities in any society show, how tolerant, vibrant and alive society is, and on what lines the country will progress. Political culture and structure of our country is also one of the biggest fears. Long dictatorships have weakened the political system, and now this system is mostly running for sole purpose of grabbing throne instead of providing services to people. Breaking promises corruption and feudal setup has made people fed up of politics. Core problem of politics lies in feudalism. Feudalism is a system in which one person is like owner (who is feudal head) and all other are like his property, despondent of any social rights. When feudalism’s grip is tightened and people are kept in their social cage for years, people become thoughtless. Thus they are molded into their slaves for many coming generations. This could be understood by one example, for instance if we put a six feet high human in 3 by 3 cage, he will be transformed into dwarf. These people are then used as their supporters. These feudal possess huge land areas, and have back support of governments and politicians. These feudal become MPA’s and MNA’s or support them to be elected, so they are always in power. They never let people become educated because it creates awareness of right and wrong, which could be dangerous for their never-ending rule. These feudal could be non-religious people or even religious feudal. This is biggest social problem of our society. Solution to this problem is land reforms, awareness of rights and most important is Education for all. Every prosperous and developed society in world has dissolved this system through land and educational reforms. Best examples are Bangladesh and India; as they had dissolved feaudalism immediately after independence.
In this context the light for hope is dim but not yet vanished. There were many doubts about civil society that because of continuous intervention of military in democratic process and absence of independence of judiciary, have made civil society irrelevant of national affair. But 9th march of 2007 and events followed proved that civil society of Pakistan is still alive, though was silent. This was proven that citizens could fight for rights; they just need a right man. That man the leader came from superior judiciary. When a dictator tried to take on judiciary, which was providing true justice to people, civil society reacted. Reaction from lawyer’s community, media and civil society was unprecedented. No one had ever expected that people would come on streets in large numbers to defend Independence of judiciary. In past judiciary in Pakistan was not regarded as independent, and always criticized by people, mostly for its decision in favor of establishment and against the popular wishes of people. History of these decisions starts from 1954; Justice Munir’s decision in which he developed the law of necessity and later on gave legal cover to first Martial law. This history continued to 2000 and somehow after. Establishment, dictators and even politicians when in power always crushed judiciary and independent minded judges. But when Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudary was made Chief Justice it was felt that government and bureaucracy (establishment) and intelligence agencies are also accountable to someone. This made above elements angry and they attacked judiciary. Unlike past this time a historical unprecedented movement initiated by lawyers, which was one of its kinds in present history, specially the bar councils & bar associations. These people also become heroes of people of Pakistan. The media, which has gained its independence through long struggle, was in support of this movement and civil society was there for all time, for instance the Rally of 5th May Islamabad to Lahore where millions of people came on street to salute this non-political leader, their Chief Justice, who had made them conscious of their respect.
So we have reached the conclusion that there are still hopes as judiciary, media, and lawyers and most important the civil society is still alive. There are still hopes because we have potential to develop and there are still hopes because we are conscious and aware of our rights. There are only two fears, first is absence of democracy and second is that we haven’t still identified those forces which are creating differences between us. If we could solve these two problems we will be able to develop harmony and tolerance in our society and could achieve highs of success.
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