Monday, April 22, 2013

Pakistan's internal problems (all aspects)

Pakistan came into being in 1947. Since its inception it has been surrounded by countless internal as well as external problems. All these problems seem to have become fate of our country. Problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, provincialism, Baluchistan issue, extremism, terrorism etc. are now posing a great threat to our existence. Despite being rich in natural resources we still are unable to utilize them fully and fairly. Due to underutilization of these vast resources, we are still a way behind in the race of development. Not only internal problems have kept Pakistan engaged but also external problems have always been a bolt from blue for our country. It is a fact that every country is facing problems in one form or the other. But in the case of Pakistan, owing to mismanagement, problems have been becoming incurable. It is mainly due to the mishandling of the internal issues. Our country is losing its true image. This has resulted in foreign interventions into our national affairs and has undermined our progress. 

The present era is the age of low intensity conflicts rather than conventional wars. So, it is extremely important to understand our internal dynamics, challenges and threats such as national integration, ethnicity, sectarianism, drug mafia, political system, bad economic conditions and economic disparities, and geographic vulnerabilities. The main internal fronts which are directly affecting the foreign policy of Pakistan are the followings; 

Political stability is one of the biggest threats that Pakistan has from the very beginning. No government so far could have been able to complete its term. The incompetence of our leaders has always provided the army a golden chance to topple the elected governments. Every military ruler has seized the power with countless promises to the masses. But with the passage of time, they only prolonged their rule and served their vested interests.

Furthermore, judiciary has also been instrumental in providing a legal cover to the military rule in the country. It has always supported the undemocratic steps taken by the dictators under the “Doctrine of necessity”. Such a weak and incompetent judiciary has never allowed the democracy to flourish on our soil. So the absence of democracy has given birth to numerous other problems/threats.

Feudalism is another threat to Pakistan’s stability. It has never allowed a sincere leadership to come to the scene. Theses voracious feudal lords have always tried to achieve their covert interests in the garb of politics. In every general election, the poor masses are forced by the feudal lords to cast votes according to their will. The suppression of the voice of the poor masses has been proving detrimental to our society.

Moreover, when the issues are left unresolved they become incurable with the passage of time. Provincial hatred is the result of such negligence. This hatred has caused the separation of East Pakistan. Centre has always been reluctant to give provinces the full autonomy and right over their national resources. Sheer inequality and mismanagement of the natural resources has flared up the feelings of provincialism. With the elapse of time these feelings are sowing the seeds of secession.

Provincialism has further resulted in regionalism. Lack of nationalism is another serious threat to our national integrity. Nationalism is a great binding force but here everyone instead of thinking himself as a Pakistani considers as Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi, Pathan etc. Such individuality and bitterness among the masses is weakening our country to its roots. 

Religious differences such as Shia vs. Sunni are further adding fuel to the fire. Religious extremism that took its roots in Pakistan after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 is proving venomous for Pakistan. This religious extremism took a new shape of terrorism after 9/11. After the incident of 9/11 suicide bombing in Pakistan has become a norm of the day. Target killing is another menace which is claiming hundreds of innocent lives daily. 

Energy crisis is further adding to the problems of Pakistan. Energy crisis is not less than a threat. It has proved a bolt from blue for our economy. Energy keeps the wheel of the economy going on. Uninterrupted supply of electricity has become a day dream for the masses. Every sector of life has been affected by the starvation of energy in the country. Industrial sector has got a serious blow. Closure of industries and businesses is a grave threat to our survival. Our economy is suffering so seriously. In the wake of such conditions, the investors are reluctant to invest in our country/investors were already reluctant to invest in our crisis ridden country and energy crisis has prevented them further. Energy crisis is largely due to the mismanagement of water resources.

Water shortage is another setback to our country. Being agricultural, our country largely depends on canal water for irrigation. But the mismanagement of water resources and Indian hegemony has caused the shortage. The role of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has also been dismal in this regard. Furthermore, the decreasing capacity of existing dams like Tarbela and Mangla Dams due to sedimentation is also making the conditions worse.

Energy crisis coupled with water crisis has severely affected the industrial and agricultural sector. People engaged in both these sectors are being left unemployed. Unemployment is leading to poverty. Poverty is a sort of curse which is making life miserable. Despite being agricultural country of ours, we are still facing food shortage. People are unable to make their both ends meet.

Youth makes the major portion of our population but unfortunately it is largely unemployed. The unemployment rate touches the 12 % mark. There are many reasons of unemployment like influx of machinery that has replaced manpower, lack of new industries and defective education system. Unemployment is causing brain-drain. While the others who are unable to find any job at all indulge in nefarious activities and rate of crimes increases.

Illiteracy is not less than a curse for a society. Education has been the most neglected sector in Pakistan. The fact that 50% of children do not complete their primary education testifies this fact. Uneducated adults are burden on national exchequer. Economy prospers in educated society. On the contrary, illiterate society closes the doors of prosperity. Unemployment, poverty, sectarianism, population explosion, crimes, terrorism etc. are, in one way or the other linked to illiteracy. It is also a threat to our country’s survival in this globalized world.

Corruption is another major threat. It has assumed the shape of a fashion in our society. It has firmly entrenched its roots in our society. It has become the part of each and every department of government. From clerical staff to higher officers and bureaucrats, all are involved in corruption of one kind or the other. It is weakening the roots of our system. A weak system full of ills is itself is a biggest threat to the survival of the country.

Growing population is becoming headache for our nation. Weak economy of ours is proving failure to cater to the needs of the growing number of people. There is a great increase in economic disparity among the masses. The poor are becoming poorer, and the rich are getting richer and richer day by day. Problems like illiteracy, unemployment, poverty are rendering the growing population a grave threat to our country.

Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable states in the world. It is bordered with Afghanistan, Iran, China and India. To the south is the Arabian Sea, a gate way to CARS through Gwadar port. Pakistan’s domestic politics remains intimately linked to political relations with Pakistan’s neighbours. The geographical shape and the distributions of its population complicate the defence problem. Pakistan’s security is gravely threatened in recent era as compared to previous threats. There are a large number of issues which are a constant threat to the security of Pakistan. These include environment, narcotic trafficking, terrorism, disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, gender issue etc. 

The creation of India and Pakistan gave birth to many thorny issues/problems between the neighbouring countries. Kashmir issue remains at the top of the list. Other issues like water issue, Siachen, Sir Creek, Afghanistan are now lingering over the years. Terrorism and security are the other emerging issues. Both the countries have fought three wars. Due to trust deficit, both the countries have remained at loggerheads with each other. India has remained the most threatening neighbour for Pakistan. The borders with India are always in great risks of escalation. There is always a possibility of nuclear war which can place Pakistan in a hopeless strategic position. The threat from India today is an internal as well as ranging from failed governance, mismanagement of the country’s economy to the war against terrorism. 

Pakistan and Afghanistan have much in common. But the relations between these two countries, bound by historical and geographical links, have not been peaceful but rather have been marked by hostility since 1947. Problems like Durand line, demand of Pashtoonistan, soviet invasion, smuggling of arms, migration of Afghans have been the biggest dilemma for Pakistan’s security. Refugees have also been threat for the law and order situation. Furthermore, it has given birth to the Taliban ideology in Pakistan, which has far-reaching consequences on Pakistan’s sovereignty. In addition to all this the incident of 9/11 also left its indelible impacts and gave rise to terrorism which has become the biggest threat to Pakistan’s survival. 

After the incident of 9/11, The US launched a so-called war on terror. Since then, Pakistan has been US ally in this war. This war has played havoc with Pakistan. It has claimed the lives of 35,000 innocent people and soldiers. US’ frequent unilateral actions through drones in Pakistan’s territory are a grave threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty. Pakistan’s involvement in war on terror has given the US a free licence to interfere in Pakistan’s matters. Such involvement in internal issues and policies of Pakistan is giving rise to anti-Americanism among the masses. A national consensus seems to be emerging against American involvement and attacks. 

In addition to all these, the wave of economic liberalization and globalization has weakened the traditional authority and control of the state in policy making options even on important matters and issues of vital interest.

More than sixty years have elapsed but these sixty years and more have seen little peace. Our country has witnessed many an issues like political, social, linguistic, cultural, identity related and many more. The disturbances created by these issues are assuming greater menace than external threats. Today, we have diplomacy and different international platforms to cope with external threats. But coping with internal disturbances is becoming far more difficult. In the case of Pakistan, the internal issues have become more difficult to tackle with owing to lack of competent leadership. In turn, these issues have kept our country internally engaged and also asserted negative influence on the nation. 

It is a fact that there are many hurdles in running the country. But sincere leadership with proper management can do wonders. It is never too late to act. What is needed is the proper implementation of policies. Here are some suggestions to climb out of internal problems.

• There should be balance between all the institutions of the country. All institutions must work within the boundary of their limit. It will ensure the proper functioning of the governmental machinery.

• The centre and the federating units must develop good relation. All the thorny issues between them should be resolved with the sincerity of purpose. Grievances of the provinces must be redressed on priority basis.

• Equal distribution of natural resources must be ensured. Provinces must be given right and due share over their natural resources.

• Justice is indispensible to good governance. Access to cheap and quick justice should be made possible for everyone. Dispensation of justice must be irrespective of class, creed and religion.

• Economic policies must be revised. They must be reformed to meet the demands of the poor masses. Agricultural and industrial sectors must be revolutionized to attract investment and boost the economy.

• Cut-down of extra expenditure by down-sizing the administrative setup is the dire need of the hour. It would be greatly helpful in reducing debt burden from our country.

• All the institutions responsible for maintaining accountability should be authorized. Legislation must be enacted to improve accountability. It must be started from the top. Everyone, no matter how powerful is he, must be brought to book.

• Anti-corruption courts be established. All the cases of corruption must be decided on priority basis to check the wheel of corruption.

• Media should be made free. Freedom of media is the real essence of good governance. Media is called the fourth pillar of the state and is instrumental in ensuring good governance.

It can be concluded that Pakistan is trapped in numerous internal problems. All the problems are interlinked to one another. They have formed a vicious circle and appear again and again in one form or the other. Every government has always ignored them considering as minor. This sheer negligence from the part of our government, whether democratic or doctorial, has turned these issues into a grave threat. They have now become the biggest challenge for our country. In the wake of these challenges, Pakistan’s survival is at stake. Trapped in the shackles of internal problems our country has been unable to promote its fair image on external front. It is proving fatal and undermining our stance on internal level. Time is ripe now to address internal issues on priority basis before they go out of control. These issue, challenges and threats must seriously be considered by our policy makers. Policies, to tackle them, be made and implemented with the sincerity of purpose. Collective efforts are required on all fronts. The whole nation must join hands in hands to face them. No issue can be resolved in an overnight. A sustained effort and toil is needed in order to uproot these problems. Our intelligentsia, scholars, writers, champions, and educated strata can be instrumental in this regard. A strong Pakistan should be our first priority. If we have to make certain hard decisions for its accomplishment no one should hesitate to lead and pull the trigger. Indeed, Pakistan comes first even before our personal vested interests.

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