Guest Blog by Naeem ur Rehman
Lawyers have achieved their historic objective after the restoration of the Judiciary on March 16, 2009 and now they can get on with their lives and profession. The question is what lies ahead of PML-N, PPP and us as a nation. As we are quite aware that this is not the end but actually the start of an other venture. The primary objective of PML-N should be to dismantle PPP and get the power as soon as possible, which most of us would agree with. Being a Pakistani and politically neutral, I would rather like to see Mr. Sharif behave more maturely and look at the long term gains for both the country and his party. There are grave concerns about the very existence of the country and all of them need to be addressed simultaneously and with great urgency and meticulousness.
- Threat to the federation:
There is a dark cloud of terrorism and separation hanging over our country and if we, as a nation, did not act now, we will end up losing not only our country but our identity too. There is a piling pressure not only on our leaders but on every Pakistani to act and act now. Mr. Sharif is experiencing a national popularity which very few leaders of the country have seen in our short national history and he has to lead the nation through this unprecedented conflict with maturity and honesty.
The most attention seeking issue is the Baluchistan conflict, we are literally pushing them away from us. The national reconciliation process, not the famous NRO, should be started from Baluchistan and should be initiated by Nawaz Sharif immediately. He needs to held rallies in Quetta along with his senior party leadership from Punjab, Baluchistan and the other two provinces to show long awaited solidarity with deprived Baluch people. If we as nation do not hold hands, this country of ours will loose its very existence. The Baluchistan province should be given extra favours for some time to come and both the government and the apposition need to work very hard to bring economic relief to that province. Failing to do so will make our beautiful province fall into the hands of mentally demented Talibans. who must be licking their lips as Baluchistan provide an ideal terrain for gorilla warfare.
The Tribal areas need special and emergency attention from the whole nation and from the political parties in particular. I have a full plan of my own on how we can improve the situation there and beat Taliban both politically and morally. I will write a different blog on this topic soon after doing some detailed research, as I’m fully convinced that FATA can become not only safe but a little economic hub for Pakistan. The political leaders need to do some aggressive campaigning to convince USA to stop drone attacks on our tribal areas and need to be totally convinced that they can change US perception on this issue. If both PPP and N-League leadership could use their foreign contacts, they can bring the new US administration on a table and find a political solution to this conflict. They have to make Obama administration realise and convinced that both Taliban and Al-Qaeda are the enemies of Pakistan and that we are fully convinced to eradicate them from the region. There is only one of way of doing this and that is by stopping both these organisations from hiring more recruits and win the hearts of their current recruits.
Economic condition of the country:
This very much depends on the first issue, if the menace of terrorism is defeated, the economy of the country will start improving on its own. But there are some steps to be taken in the right direction. The TAX system needs some major overhauling, the Tax bracket needs to be broadened. The rich will have to contribute more and they need to understand that there contribution will just work like a long term investment. There is a very simple rule in economic terms, increase the buying power of the people, the economy of the country will kick start itself. That is what all the developed countries like UK and US are doing by decreasing the interest rates, so the people go out and spend money.
The current energy crises needs some extra ordinary thinking, new innovative ways of both generating and saving energy. How about solar powered systems or wind turbines, which would be so useful on the coastal areas of Baluchistan, they will not only generate energy but will also provide jobs to our Baluch brothers and sisters. I have seen such wind turbines doing so well in UK. The ailing textile industry in Faisalabad need a lot of government help and they need to sit down with the factory owners to solve their problems through some honest and serious negotiations, maybe those factories need to work around this energy crises, something has to be done and soon.
We need to bring foreign investment to the country and that requires some serious marketing of our country to the outside world. We have one the best work force available in the whole world, where people are very hard working and ambitious, if a right opportunity is provided to them. The labour is dirt cheap as compare to most of the other countries, government has to give some lavish tax breaks to the foreign investor and this can all start from a very small scale as all great things start very small.
- Long term foreign policy.
We all know that Pakistan has one of the worst foreign policy in the whole region, even Afghanistan’s is better than us. India has delivered some serious blows to us internationally after the Mumbai attacks and that need to change. Our foreign policy is just limited to USA and somehow we can not think beyond them. We need to start thinking about regional foreign policy, need to strength ties with countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran and Nepal. These are not only excellent markets for our low priced goods but can play a great role in presenting our case in the region and send some serious but positive signals to our neighbours. A good and reliable relationship with Iran can really improve our importance on the international stage, specially if we help easing their relationship with the rest of the world as a mediator. The EU need to be explored very aggressively as there are very unbiased countries in Europe, who can provide good support to us in difficult times and will help in bringing that all important foreign investment into the country. We also need to sit down with Indians and make them understand that weakening Pakistan can be very disastrous for them, we are a nuclear power after all. The only way forward is working together, both economically and politically.
Yes it is a very steep climb but we need to be aware that even the word impossible say “I M POSSIBLE”. Every one of us need to work hard with enormous honesty to make this nation a successful one and give our next generations a stable and prosperous country so they could build on our efforts.