Rising Pakistan

Having been out of Pakistan, I was worried about my country, family, and the people. The news I got to watch on the country’s electronic media was seldom positive. Also, the international media did not paint the right picture in this context. One could not blame the international media for portraying such an abysmal picture of our society when Pakistani media houses were doing the same. The role of the print and electronic media would be discussed separately, but let us see if Pakistan were actually failing in the past?

Well, in Pakistan, the chaos and despair are not seen on the streets, and everything seems “slowly” working. Yes, there have been problems in this country and unlike other countries around the world, Pakistan has been fighting its enemies on several fronts since 1947. Our enemy is not only a neighboring country (six-times bigger than ours), but illiteracy, corruption, injustice, religious intolerance, extremism, and terrorism are all our enemies.

Unfortunately, due to its geopolitical standing and economic conditions, Pakistan has been forced to fight someone else’s war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and support the war-on-terror against the Taliban and Al-Qaida since 2001. As a result, Pakistan faced terrorism, sacrificed innocent lives, squandered resources, ruined infrastructure, and dealt with billions of dollars of economic losses during this period, while also hosting over 3 million Afghan refugees for over 30 years. These issues also led to inconsistent and incoherent economic and foreign policies.

However, despite these challenges, Pakistan and its people have never given up. The country has overcome many of its problems of the past such as defeating terrorism and eliminating terrorists’ safe havens in the tribal areas along the Pak-Afghan border. During this time and despite all economic difficulties, Pakistan has become an atomic power with an independent nuclear and missile program, and indigenously developed its arms, tanks, and fighter jets. Pakistan has always reiterated that these programs are to boost the country’s defense and safeguard its sovereignty, and are not for aggression. That is why Pakistan did not get into an arms race with its eastern enemy. The purpose of giving these examples is to demonstrate our nations’ resolve and dedication to its cause. It is beyond expectations of the world that Pakistan can rise to this point and be as peaceful and strong after three decades of facing war and terror.

Recently, Pakistan has been applauded by the world for its COVID-19 strategy [1]. While many of the advanced first-world countries were caught in surprise by this pandemic and were faced with leadership and policy challenges in such atypical circumstances, Pakistan successfully dealt with the situation. Pakistan’s strategy to completely lock down major cities, contact tracing, testing, and quarantining suspects, and fast-track indigenous development and production of medical and personal protective equipment has paid dividends. In an unprecedented move, despite all economic worries, the government shared the economic burden by distributing over 1.61 billion rupees to 13 million poor families during the lockdown. The subsequent drop in the number of COVID-19 cases was followed by the smart lockdown, i.e. to allow certain businesses at specific times. Therefore, the aware and responsible actions of the nation are now bearing fruits and life is returning to normalcy.

Although Pakistan is a young democracy and is still learning from its experiences, its foreign and economic policies are clearer now. While the new foreign policy is based on respect and mutual interests, the new economic policy is focused on broadening the tax base, cutting subsidies for the rich, while maintaining low energy prices for the lowest consumers and increasing public spending on the poorest. These measures will fix the long-standing economic issues and will set the direction toward higher growth. Therefore, it is just a matter of time that Pakistan becomes the next emerging economy of the world. The development of the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), a deep-sea port in Gwadar, a network of highways linking north-to-south, alternative energy and water storage projects, and large-scale plantation drive are a few good things happening in Pakistan right now.

The people of Pakistan should be proud of their country and should be hopeful for their bright future. Pakistan is bound to succeed and is rising at the right time. We need to invest in educating the people of Pakistan and guiding them in the right direction. Education is the primary tool to build a strong nation, while honesty, self-belief, tolerance, moderation, and equality are the right directions for our future growth and development.

The nation has to believe that Pakistan is destined to rise and shine and the people will hopefully see Pakistan playing a crucial role in the world’s politics and future outlook.

by Abu Muhammad

[1] “WHO appreciates Pakistan’s efforts in battling Covid-19,” The Express Tribune, July 6, 2020, http://tribune.com.pk/story/2253608/who-appreciates-pakistans-efforts-in-battling-covid-19.

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