This is crunch time for Pakistan. A complete stock of the situation needs to be taken and some courageous, prudent and entirely indigenous decisions with Pakistan’s own national interests overriding everything else have to come out of that exhaustive stock taking. The main objective of the forthcoming decisions must be to make Pakistan be counted as a responsible state in the comity of nations which values its territorial integrity and sovereignty and respects the same of all its neighbours.
Pakistan must work for peace within itself and should vow to bring it about with its own resources, that is, administrative, military or a combination of both. Pakistan must decide to provide its citizens equal opportunities in life, uniform development, quality education, high class social services, health services and, above all, an effective and fair judicial system. Later, if the world at large wants to help out with no strings attached, it could be accepted to accelerate the pace of nation-building activity. The establishment of total peace is foremost followed by liberal and workable policies encouraging domestic investment, which will then pull in foreign investment without even an effort on our part. Investors always go where the buck is and where the capital multiplies. Pakistan promises a lot and things will happen once we get our strategies and priorities right.
To all those armchair ‘babu’ economists who have handled Pakistan’s finances and have put us in the sorry state that we are now in, all one has to say is “please step aside and let Pakistan breathe freely”. The ‘desi’ nationalist economists will surely achieve for Pakistan what these ‘babu’ economists could not do or did not want to achieve for this poor exploited nation. Pakistan must spell out that it shall endeavour to overcome its economic woes on its very own, however difficult that might be. Everything else, including the inflow of foreign investment, will follow automatically and in a respectable business-like manner. Pakistan must unleash its own business community and collective business acumen and just watch the wonders that they can do for the country.
It is also time Pakistan stopped behaving like a deer on the run. The way things stand today are synonymous of the deer sprinting away from the danger of the hunters bullet and stopping, once in a while, to look back to see how far behind it had left the danger after first sensing it, and then sprinting off again till it is finally out of breath and stops — only to be shot with the bullet that it had tried to avoid while it was sprinting away. Pakistan is also trying to run away from the dangers but the hunters are closing up. Pakistan is surely not a deer. It should never have run away in the first place but since it has, the country must now reorient and find its lost sense of honour, dignity, nationhood and pride and shed the crutches that it has got used to over the past 62 years.
To all the pessimists who lack confidence in the Pakistani nation, all I will say is that in every single black cloud hovering over our beloved motherland there are not one but many silver linings. It is only brave people and nations that opt for the silver lining in the dark clouds, while the others take shelter under a roof that is essentially not their own — they are allowed to rest there for only as long as they are subservient. If, at some later stage, they too opt for the silver lining, it would be too late for the clouds would have got darker and more menacing and the silver linings too would have either diminished or completely disappeared. Pakistan is in that late stage and must come out in the open for its own self or chose the life of an enslaved nation living on whatever crumbs are thrown at it.
Just thinking of such a scenario moves one to tears. Visionary statesmanship and a high degree of efficient statecraft are now absolutely essential to ward off the ever looming dangers caused by six decades of being like the ‘deer on the run’. Pakistan has to now stop running from the challenges it faces and must reinvigorate itself, look straight in the eye of the storm that it faces and work its way towards safe waters.
Having said all that, it is understood that Pakistan has to achieve all the objectives outlined without isolating itself from the world and its neighbours. On its march towards taming the storms it faces Pakistan must ensure that it maintains the best of relations with USA, European Union, and the world in which it has to survive. No country has any divine sanction that its integrity is guaranteed forever, irrespective of what they do or fail to do. It is now decision time for the Pakistani nation.