William Wordsworth had framed the French revolution and immortalized himself by his famous lines, “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven”. Such is the sentiment of young PTI supporters and many others who see a new Pakistan being born in the July elections.
What kind of Pakistan emerges remains to be seen, but after decades a new national party has emerged in power that derives its support from every nook and corner of the country. Imran Khan’s PTI has won seats from KP, Punjab, Sindh, Karachi, Balochistan, Islamabad and FATA, disappointing all those who had prophesied that future of Pakistan lies with regional parties with localized pockets of influence.
Most amazing were the results from Karachi where PTI has emerged as the single largest party with 14 seats out of 21. But PTI that is set to form governments in Center, Punjab and KP is confronted by humongous challenges. Outgoing Nawaz government has left a huge debt crisis with external debt now close to $90 billion and internal borrowing in excess of Rs.16,000 billion – more than Rs.7000 billion added in the last 4 years alone.
Exports are now all time low below $20 billion and imports are all time high above $50 billion, budget deficit was never that high even in Pakistan’s tumultuous history and oil prices are now gradually rising in international markets. New government will need quick decision making and legislation but it will have a slim majority in center and Punjab and is confronted with the biggest opposition in Pakistan’s history.
Knocking at IMF doors looks inevitable, but Washington appears displeased with the direction of political change in Pakistan and US-led media launched an unprecedented demonization campaign against the elections – calling Imran Khan as Army’s stooge and elections bogus and rigged.
There is little evidence on ground to justify these wild assertions as we examine in our elections special feature articles. The August issue also dovetails with Pakistan’s 71st anniversary. We examine the state of politics and society.
Prof. Adil Najam, Dean of Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, takes the lead in arguing that Pakistan’s future lies with its young, Asif Aqeel, explains the role that different minorities have played in Pakistan’s creation and its subsequent development. Asim Imdad, an ex-DMG officer laments over the evolution of civil services into something very different from what it was supposed to be.
Ambassador Munir Akram, from New York, applies the real politick lens on challenges faced by the state, whilst Sudheendra Kulkarni, former aide to Prime Minister Vajpayee, explains how both countries have drifted away from the vision of their founding fathers.
Ex-Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir questions whether the democratic governance model promulgated in South Asia is best for achieving the development of close to 2 billion people. Academic and author Huma Kirmani, takes us on a path to explain the evolution of English literature in the country since 1947 and the GVS team does the same for Pakistani cinema; there really was a time when people moved back from India to work in Pakistani movies.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA, Ali Jehangir Siddiqui gave time to GVS to explain how he is taking a cue from Trump to improve our trade relations with the USA among other things and Dr Sahar Khan from the Cato Institute explains why both countries should stop being judgmental over each other and just learn to live with the lowest common denominator interests.
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