Having been blessed by nature in all possible ways, Pakistan is a land of great potential that remains to be exploited. Between the second highest point on earth (Mount K2) and the bottom of the Arabian Sea, Pakistan has it all. The fact that hardly a fraction of Pakistan’s natural resources have been exploited to go into the process of nation-building speaks loudly of how neglectful we have been. Would we have had the adverse situation that is today threatening our integrity if we had not been so neglectful towards the prosperity of Pakistan? Common sense says no we would not have had any of the present day adversity had Pakistan prospered at a good pace. While our adverse present is because of our inept statecraft of the past our destiny will be decided by our current handling of the affairs of the state. We will be what we will work to be.
Together, the Pakhtuns, the Punjabis, the Sindhis, the Balochis and all other Pakistanis make up a manpower resource that any nation should have put to good use towards its progress and prosperity. But, sadly, this has not been the case and instead the fate of these proud people has been unemployment, social exploitation, deprivation, sufferings and lost dreams. Most Pakistanis continue to live without healthcare, education, the very basic amenities of life like clean water to drink, justice and fair play, equal opportunities and above all even the right to be truly represented at all levels of the political forums of the country. The most damaging aspect that has caused Pakistan and its people immeasurable damage is the absolute suppression of provincial autonomy. If Pakistan’s provinces had been autonomous federating units as the Constitution of Pakistan provides for, had they been ruled by elected leaders of conviction and proven ability and had they been allowed to flourish equitably Pakistan today would have been a very happy federation of four well-knit, harmonious provinces and there would have been no room for the disruptions and the armed challenges to the state that we today witness throughout the country. The provinces are now no-go areas for the political leadership of the provinces and the federation. Whenever such a situation comes about and even insignificant ministers and political personalities have to move about with heavy escorts and in bullet-proof vehicles the absolute divorce between the rulers and the ruled has, effectively, taken place. This is exactly what the enemies of the state strive to bring about and this is exactly the situation in which anarchy thrives and the state steadily diminishes. The slightest bit of common sense can decipher what the next level of such a situation can be. Is that a point Pakistan can afford to reach? The answer is, certainly not.
So what is the solution and how does the revival process commence in order to return from the brink? To those who say that Pakistan is not at the brink I shall say that they must shrug off their complacent and ostrich like attitude, return from dreamland and start realising the grave dangers that this beautiful land of ours is faced with today. The revival process must now be generated in right earnest by those who have, on their shoulders, the political and military responsibility for bringing Pakistan back from the brink. The process must start today; tomorrow will be too late. The political and military leaders of today’s Pakistan have to bring about a team that is selflessly and uniquely dedicated to achieve one single objective — the Pakistani Dream. This ought to be done before they are let down by the self-seeking sycophants they so mistakenly depend upon because the sycophants will, in any case, move on undeterred to the next bandwagon when the present one comes to a grinding halt. Haven’t we witnessed this phenomenon often enough in Pakistan? One cursory look around the political and bureaucratic bigwigs of the present political and bureaucratic hierarchy will show up many such faces which have Musharraf’s signatures deeply engraved on their foreheads.
It is now inevitable to tap the true potential of Pakistan and for that basic political reforms are absolutely inescapable which must entail an end to unbridled discretion at all levels and must aim to draw the talented middle class into the political process. The dynamic Pakistani youth must be provided a quicker break-in into every field of national life if Pakistan has to get out of the quagmire that is dragging it down and out. The dynamic youth must also rise to the occasion and take up the challenges for Pakistan. Talented young Pakistanis must push themselves into every sphere of national life and the political process. Even as we battle the most serious challenge to Pakistan’s integrity since the last one in 1971, which we failed to overcome, the Pakistan that our ancestors dreamt of must be realised so that Pakistan is never confronted by any armed challenge in future. Pakistan must now move on a multi-pronged revival process. Waiting for a military recovery before other steps are taken would be wrong. The “organised chaos” we have lived in for 62 years must be forced to give way to an organised national revival process.
The Revival Process by: Masood Sharif Khan Khattak, former director general of the Intelligence Bureau and former vice president of the PPP Parliamentarians. Email: masoodsharifkhattak @gmail.com
The News Saturday, June 27, 2009