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From ZA Bhutto to Imran Khan-A ray of hope, challenges and way forward


M Bilal Abdul Ghani |

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was first political leader after the death of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who had magnificent feelings for poor and deprived farmers and laborers. His slogan Roti, Kapra, or Makan gave a voice to poor farmers and laborers of this country. He emerged as a ray of hope for all Muslim world as he tried to unite all Muslim countries under the umbrella of Islamic block. After the execution of Bhutto at district jail Rawalpindi on April 4, 1979, Pakistan has faced a severe 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 the country.

There are many challenges ahead for Imran Khan for which he has to prove his leadership skills to bring the country out of a politico-socio-economic crisis. If we look into the past, Pakistan has reached to the lowest ebb of politico-socio-economic fields due to destabilization made by belligerent politicians and intervention of army in the political process. After 1970, the electoral and political crisis can be divided into four stages. At first stage of the crisis, General Yahya Khan holds 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.

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.

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, the results of 1977 elections created the 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. The 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 a severe political crisis in the country because none government made the long-term policies and implement it for the advancement of the country. In the fourth stage, the military period starts from military coup of General Musharraf when he took over the country and sent the political leaders to home.

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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 the 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 the smooth transition of democratic governments. All stakeholders 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 crises and ready to transfer the crown to the next elected government. These smooth transitions have given the hope to people for the advancement of the 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 11th 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.

Pakistan has faced a severe 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 the country.

Once again Pakistan is passing through severe 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 the stabilization of the 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.

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Foreign policy challenges are another area which needs immediate attention of the next government. We are lacking narrative on international politics Pakistan is facing tensions in relations with the United States that is the sole superpower of the world and not ready to accept our sacrifices in the war against terror. In the same ways, Pakistan has reached to the lowest ebb of relation with India and Iran. 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.

Institutions are passing through a fierce crisis and halting the progress of the country. The water crisis is another area which needs immediate attention of higher-ups we are the 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 a 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.

Harnessing of non-state actors, terrorism and violent extremism which have shattered the image of the country. The implement of the Nation Action Plan will be another challenging task for the next government. Education, Health, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, environmental issues are challenging areas which needs the immediate and fast-paced solution from the next government. To overcome all these challenges is not an easy task and simple job for any government. It needs a national consensus to take the country out of this aforementioned crisis. Imran Khan has emerged as a ray of hope on the horizon of Pakistan. So instead of making blame games, we should join hands with institutions to take the 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 defense against the external forces which are not happy from smooth transition and does not want to see political stabilization, economic, social improvement inside Pakistan. The second strategy is to adopt the aberrant policies for the handling of the 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.

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Corruption is the biggest challenge in the way of progress of Pakistan. The best way to finish corruption is accountability across the board which needs strong political will at every stage. The fourth way forward to solve the socio-economic crisis is to deploy the competent persons as head of institutions. Meritocracy will help in the upbringing of institutions from crisis and uprooting of corruption. Right Person for right Job has become inevitable for the country. The fifth way forward is institutional reforms which have become the 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.

Election Commission Pakistan hold the 11th 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.

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 the exam to get a job. The sixth way forward is to ensure the free media. Because media is the 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 the 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.

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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 the balanced foreign policy to make relations with Iran and the Gulf states at the same time. Pakistan cannot afford further destabilization inside and outside the country. Good regional ties with neighbors make better standing of the country on the international arena and help to solve the long-lasting problems of the country.

The alacrity with which voters have chosen Imran Khan put the heavy responsibility on his shoulders to bring the country out of the 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 the fierce crisis for greater good of the country instead of pulling his legs, creating hurdles and stopping his way.

Long Live Pakistan.

Bilal Ghani is a graduate from UET Lahore. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy. 

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