Time is Running Out

Jawaid IqbalThe emergence of Pakistan on the map of the world in 1947 was an extraordinary event by all measures. Free from the hegemony of British rule as well as Hindu majoritarianism, a country like Pakistan, since its inception, was an eyesore to both its eastern and western neighbours, while the later was the only state that opposed Pakistan’s membership in the United Nations in 1947. The die was cast. Coming up with a 25-to-60 year deadline for the country’s existence, even the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad jinxed the creation of Pakistan as an independent Muslim state. However, it defied all the odds with commitment and valour, as the nascent nation-state, under the leadership of a future-driven leadership coupled with a committed bevy of civil servants in the initial decades, did well to confront the challenges posed by an ideologically bipolar world, which was divided between two incompatible Communist and American blocs. Though Pakistan took more than a decade to frame, approve and promulgate its Constitution and in spite of its chequered political transition, the country was able to continue its journey on a progressive path and on the economic front too, it outperformed its regional counterparts by a wide margin. Interestingly, there came a moment in 1963 when Pakistan lent a sum of 120 million rupees to West Germany.

Backed by international powers and maliciously contrived by India, however, the watershed moment occurred when the eastern wing of Pakistan was separated in 1971, leading the truncated country to restart its journey now with less than half of the resources. The invasion of the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan in 1979, the influx of over 4 million Afghan refugees to Pakistan and the disastrous happening of the 9/11 on the US soil, together with ensuing war or terrorism, shoved Pakistan into a state of disarray with no end in sight. However, such disastrous happenings couldn’t stop the ruling class from desisting from its unbridled corruption, misuse of power and the abuse of the state coffers in cahoots with bureaucracy, public office-holders and business and trade mafias. Particularly in the last some decades, the pace of corruption and misappropriation has been at its peak, while those who are responsible for the country’s poor state of affairs always manage to go scot-free through supportive legislations and end up with their entire families in foreign countries, leaving the rest of the masses behind and letting them languish in the inferno of socio-economic deprivation and unending political chaos.

As things currently stand, the agenda of the global powers that be is now in its consolidating stage as Pakistan is encircled by a resurging wave of terrorism, along with increasing security challenges from both its eastern and western borders. This is coincided by a never-ending political instability and a precarious economic situation now on the brink of sovereign default anytime soon. With no roadmap for economic recovery on the horizon or any hopes of political stability in sight, it seems the country is fast moving towards a Hobson’s choice when the matters of the state will be decided by global powers on their own terms, thus leaving Pakistan and its people at the mercy of others. It’s the time that all the political stakeholders, together with the top brass of the Establishment, set their overblown egos aside, sort out their differences together and devise a roadmap to get the country out of the prevailing crisis before it is too late. Caveat emptor, as the saying goes, time is running out for Pakistan.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
President & Editor in Chief