M. Bilal Abdul Ghani.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was first political leader after the death of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who has magnificent feeling for poor and deprived farmers and laborers. His speeches to masses during election campaign of 1970 showed a clear indication that he fought for the rights of poor people in Pakistan. His slogan Roti, Kapra, or Makan gave a voice to poor farmers and laborers of this country. He was emerged as a ray of hope for all Muslim world as he tried to unite all Muslim countries under the umbrella of Islamic block. He started Nuclear Programme without the fear of west and led the Muslims of the world towards new heights of prosperity and content. After the execution of Bhutto at district jail Rawalpindi on April 4, 1979. Pakistan has faced a sever leadership crisis in the history. After passing 50 years Imran Khan has emerged on the arena of politics with the hope of prosperity and progress for the poor farmers and laborers of country. Imran Khan has made 22 years of untiring effort to reach his destination that is another symbol of encouragement for the youth of this country. Apart from all these sweet side of picture, there are many challenges ahead for Imran Khan for which he has to prove his leadership skills to bring the country out of politico-socio-economic crisis.
If we have look into past, Pakistan has reached to lowest ebb of politico-socio-economic fields due to destabilization made by belligerent politicians and intervention of army in political process. Both army and political leaders remained loggerheads to each other for a long time and pushed the country in the chronicle crisis that is currently existing in the country. After 1970, electoral and political crisis can be divided into four stages. At first stage of crisis, General yahya Khan hold first free and fair election in the history of Pakistan. In results Awami Muslim League got the majority in East Pakistan and Pakistan Peoples Party in west Pakistan. But West Pakistan did not accept the mandate of East Pakistan due to which country faced a serious crisis and as a result of crisis war East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan and led the country towards turmoil and destabilization. At the second stage, Bhutto introduced 1973 constitution and elections were required according to new constitution but this did not happen and created feelings of anxiety among other politicians with the bad image on the pages of electoral history of Pakistan. Mr. Bhutto announced the early election in 1977 which was scheduled in 1978. This was the time when Bhutto was overconfident and for his victory. The results of 1977 elections created second biggest crisis in the electoral history of Pakistan. Opposition parties raised a hue and cry, blamed mass rigging and refused to accept the results of elections. When politicians failed to settle their disputes, military intervention took place. General Zia Ul Haq imposed Martial Law in the country and put the Mr.Bhutto behind the bars and executed him at district jail Rawalpindi on April 4, 1979. The military period ended with the plane crash of Mr. Zia. Third period of political destabilization remained from 1988 to 1999, when excessive use of 58(2)b topple down the four governments one after another. It created severe political crisis in the country because none government made the long term policies and implement it for advancement of country. In fourth stage, military period starts from military coup of general Musharraf when he took over the country and sent the political leaders to home. Musharraf joined the hand with United States and pushed the country into unending war on terror. Pakistani nation is still bearing bad implication of his hasty decision. This war bring the socio-economic crisis into the country. This little history shows that how ruthlessly we have devastated and ruined the progress our country. Lack of political vision of politicians, and frequent intervention of military regimes have pushed us 100 years back in technology and other fields of life.
Stability in democratic process started after elections of 2008 took place and Pakistan Peoples Party took the throne of this country. This political government paved the way for smooth transition of democratic governments. All stake holders including judiciary, establishment, executive and politicians realized the need of smooth political process in the country because it is equally fruitful and beneficial for all stakeholders. PPP transferred the political stage to PML (N) in 2013 after successful completion of five years. PML(N) also completed the five years amid many crisis and ready to transfer the crown to next elected government. These smooth transitions have given the hope to people for advancement of country because whenever there is stability, it brings prosperity in the lives of people and politicians make both long term and short policies for good of people.
Election Commission Pakistan hold the 11 general elections in the country on July 25, 2018. The staged will be transferred to next expected government of Pakistan Tehrik Insaf led by Imran Khan. According to reports published in media, it was most costly election in the history of Pakistan. According to estimates a total of 440 billion rupees have been spent on elections. It is ten percent higher than 2013 elections with estimated cost of 400 billion rupees. Total election commission budget for 2018 was 21 billion which was many folds higher than 2013 elections with budget of 4.7 billion rupees
Once again Pakistan is passing through sever crisis and challenges in every walk of life specifically in economic and foreign policy fronts. If we look into economic crisis, the challenge is going server with each passing day. The foreign reserves are depleting exponentially. Foreign debt is increasing. Consultation with IMF has become inevitable for stabilization of economy. Current account deficit has touched to 12.4 billion US dollar which makes 4.1% of our GDP. Skyrocketing circular debt has aggrandized the situation with one trillion rupees. Foreign policy challenges are another area which needs immediate attention of next government. We are lacking narrative on international politics Pakistan is facing tensions in relations with United States that is sole super power of the world and not ready to accept our sacrifices in war against terror. In the same ways Pakistan has reached to the lowest ebb of relation with India and Iran. India is constantly challenging our sovereignty through interference, interventions and LOC firing on our borders. . A balanced and well fabricated foreign policy is required to resolve the tensions with neighboring countries because a new world order is emerging after the rise of china on the curtain of international politics. This thing will attract the investors from these countries which will generate revenue for poor people of Pakistan. Institutions are passing through fierce crisis and halting the progress of country. Pakistan Railways, Pakistan International Airlines, and Pakistan steel mill are on the top of list of wrecked institutions. It has become inevitable to take serious steps to remove the label of lavish jobs from doors of government departments because this lavish life has made government machinery full of rusty and lethargic. Water crisis is another area which needs immediate attention of higher-ups we are shortage of water reservoirs and dams to stop wastage and conservation of water. India is making dams on our reservoirs and creating water crisis inside Pakistan. There is dire need to make water policy of country part of our foreign policy because it seems that future wars will be fought on water disputes. To handle the Water crisis will be another challenge for Imran Khan. Security is another battle ground where Pakistan has to fight to maintain her soft identity. Harnessing of non-state actors, terrorism and violent extremism which have shattered the image of the country. Implement of Nation Action Plan will be another challenging task for next government. Education , Health, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, environmental issues are challenging areas which needs immediate and fast paced solution from next government.
To overcome all these challenges is not an easy task and simple job for any government. It need a national consensus to take the country out of these aforementioned crisis. Imran Khan has emerged as a ray of hope on the horizon of Pakistan. Although all parties are alleging the involvement of military establishment in recent elections. In my opinion it is not time of blame game and maligning state institutions when there are many challenges ahead for progress of country. Military is a prestigious institution responsible for our security and its insult will not benefit any one rather than tarnish the image of this country. So instead of making blame games we should join hands with institutions to take country out of this bad time.
The first way forward is, all political parties should accept the victory of Imran Khan and should adopt the policy of reconciliation instead of spattering games of election meddling and rigging by military establishment and Judiciary. This will provide a strong defence against the external forces which are not happy from smooth transition and does not want to see political stabilization, economic, social improvement inside the Pakistan. The second strategy is to adopt the aberrant polices for handling of social, political and economic crisis of Pakistan The third way forward is to start the campaign for the eradication of corruption which will re-install the trust of people on institutions. Corruption is biggest challenges in the way of progress of Pakistan. The best way to finish corruption is accountability accors the board which needs strong political will at every stage. This campaign will help to improve the progress of Pakistan steel mill , Pakistan International Air Lines and Pakistan Air lines. These institutions have become white elephant for economy of country and accountability will create fear among the officers allegedly involved in the looting of government institutions. The fourth way forward to solve the socio-economic crisis is to deploy the competent persons as head of institutions. Meritocracy will help in upbringing of institutions from crisis and uprooting of corruption. Right Person for right Job has become inevitable for country. When there will be experts on top most positions, they will change the course of country. The fifth way forward is institutional reforms which has become dire need of the country. We have to end political influence from the institutions which will help in solving problems of poor people of this country. The system should be robust and so much efficient that there should be no need of political reference when a person went to police station for registration of complaint or appear in exam to get a job. This will help to remove the anxiety of people and to bring the prosperity in the country. The sixth way forward is to ensure the free media. Because media is tool to get the actual position of matters from grass root level. Media has become our hands and eyes and if we restrict its freedom then it will be impossible to eradicate the problems lying from past seventy years in the roots of country. So in order to eradicate the social evils, their true information is very much important which can be obtained only through free media. The seventh way forward is to take the country on the path of progress is to improve the regional ties and foreign policy. The world order is changing and we need balanced foreign policy to make relations with Iran and Gulf states at the same time. A strong and well balanced foreign policy is always helping to improve the regional ties. Pakistan cannot afford further destabilization inside and outside the country. A good regional ties with neighbors make better standing of country on the international arena and help to solve the long lasting problems of country.
The alacrity with which voters have chosen Imran Khan put the heavy responsibility on his shoulders to bring the country out of social, political and economic crisis. All seven options are explained above are easy to write and say but it is very difficult to implement. But now the time has come when we have to change the course of this country because if status quo continues it will eat our next fifty years and this thing nation cannot afford this time. This time Imran Khan has come forward as a ray of hope and it is our collective responsibility to help him to get out of fierce crisis for greater good of country instead of pulling his legs, creating hurdles and stopping his way.
Long Live Pakistan.
Muhammad Bilal Abdul Ghani is a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Engineering and technology Lahore. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org