[Opinion] Plight of the nation

Zaman Punyali

A huge hall lavishly adorned and embellished is full of people. They are wearing imported outfit and thick fumes of expensive fragrances and perfumes. They are carefree as life is wholly kind on them and they have never been through ungracious experiences of life.  They smile with nonchalance and laugh out heartedly. Outside the hall the picture is a total contrast. A layer of gloom and plight has taken over the air. People roam here and there with wavering and shaking stature, apprehensive of something terrible that has to happen soon; a blast, boom or a screech, which would bring havoc to this piece of land and leave no trace behind. This undefined yet deep apprehension has left them in despair and melancholy. The dainty life of the people inside the hall makes them pity themselves even more. I am standing helpless among these lost people, in the worst of my life’s acerbic realities. This is my country. This is my Pakistan, where the elected representatives of the people are enjoying a royal life and the common people exhaust in the sole business of making both the ends meet.

Pakistan is counted among the most troubled countries of the world including, Afghanistan and other African failed states. It is in a state of unprecedented debacle for the last decade. It is financially ruined, socially shattered and politically orphaned. It is sad that there is practically a complete anarchy and chaos that prevails in the country.

The institutions designed to protect the rights of the people are looting them instead. Most important of them is the legislation. Parliament is the most exalted institution elected by the people. It is expected to ensure the provision of the due rights of the people, including the basic human needs. Unfortunately the government has clearly fizzled in fulfilling its responsibilities as the country’s most powerful institution.  The elected government of Pakistan has continuously depicted incapacity and incompetence in every tight situation. It has failed on the fore fronts of diplomacy, governance, justice, provision of the basic necessities, and an axis for the national unity. It has gruesome impacts on the common man rising his distress and anguish. The indifference and lack of concern shown by the concerned authorities in curbing the prevalent crisis has aggravated the situation

Load shedding is the main issue these days. Lack of planning at the government’s part has let the problem take deep roots. Lack of consensus on establishing dams and other mega projects among the province played a major role and caused a decisive set back to the energy sector. Had the ‘Kala Bagh Dam’ project been completed, Pakistan would not be engulfed by darkness today, but the nonchalance and improvidence at the government’s part has cost us irreparable losses. It has caused a major financial crisis, which brought along unemployment, inflation and an incessant wave of poverty and hunger.

The ruling elite of the country are not showing any concern about the people’s agony. They are busy establishing and breaking alliances and introducing new legislations and amendments which practically have nothing to do with the welfare of the people of Pakistan. The parliamentary discussions are mere squabbles now. The elected representatives engage in pointless bickering and mudslinging with political opponents and defaming them oblivious of their own infamous past.

 It is the reason; governments have proved less productive and state less welfare for the masses. Societal welfare has never been the true agenda of any government. If we look back at our history, we would come to know that governments have been merely focusing on giving a length to their tenure than to engage in a developmental work for the betterment of the country.

Pakistan chose to be an American ally in the war against terrorism after the horrid incident of 9/11. Since then the nation is fighting at the fore fronts against the terror mongers, considering the war a national war. This war incurred Pakistani nation a lot, including lives, infrastructure and economy, giving rise to multiple side crisis. Up till now 36000 Pakistanis have lost their lives to this unending war, and the national exchequer has incurred a loss of 70 billion dollars. Pakistan though fought a proxy war but still the nation could not cash its strategic and logistic importance in the war against terrorism due to weak foreign policy.

 Now the country is amid a mounting pressure from the opponents as well as the allies, who suspect Pakistan’s good faith in this war. Practically Pakistan is standing alone in a very tight and testing time. This war has brought innumerous difficulties for the common man as well. There is no foreign investment which could create job opportunities. The multinational companies are rolling their business back as they are insecure and bare in these worrisome circumstances.

Over these years, the incessant rise in the prices of the common commodities has left people in agony. The uncontrollable price hike has literally taken everything out of the reach of the poor people. The government has given in to the market forces at play. The Ministry of Finance has cut a sorry figure in proposing a balanced and welfare budget for three consecutive years. The budget deficit kept on increasing, finally the ministry ended up looking for loans with terrible markups.  The government has failed in bringing the big land lords and feudalists in the tax net. The whole burden eventually shifts to the middle class and ends up in budget deficit. We have scores of politicians who deny taxation on record and there are those who own property worth billions of dollars and pay lesser tax than a small shop owner. Money in a country is like the blood running down in a body. If we dream of stabilizing the economy of this country, bringing every citizen in the tax net is indispensible. We as a nation are at a very critical point of our national life. The world eyes our position and circumstances as they are going to affect the world’s present scenario at large. We are standing on the forefronts of the war against terrorism. We need to understand a point very vividly. If we remain strong during these testing times, we will emerge with flying colors out of the situation.  We should start with the economy. A strong economy of course guarantees a strong country. We have both tapped and untapped resources. A well managed exploitation of these resources can change the stream of our national economy. The mismanagement with the Reko Diq gold reservoirs is a blunder we would never like to repeat. Tourism is an ace in our hand. Tourism industry has a great potential in our country. Ten of the world’s largest peaks are situated in Pakistan. Large foreign revenues can be generated by promoting the tourism industry.

Let this point be established that we are one of the poorest nations not because we lack resources, nor because we do not have a way to improve our situation, but we suffer because we lack a sincere and visionary leadership. Not a single government to date has served the people with sincerity and selflessness. The governments have been engaged in extending their tenure or at least complete the given time period. Our problems are not of that magnitude to paralyze a whole state but lack of planning and a selfless entrepreneur has aggravated the situation. The political leadership and the establishment if come up with a strong will to resolve the national issues today we will be a happier and prosperous nation by the night fall.

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