Puzzles and sham promises
June 08, 2012
The internal and external challenges of Pakistan have been multiplying. The Government seems neither successful in resolving the foreign policy related puzzles, nor able to adequately resolve the socio-economic problems of the common man. Though, the political ruling elite reiterate that their policies would steward the country out of the prevalent economic and law and order mess in near future, the economic and social trends are disappointing. Such an alarming domestic situation certainly demands serious response by all the stakeholders.
The recently-announced budget of 2012-2012 by the government underlines that Pakistan’s economy is in a bad situation. The every-day public uproar on the streets due to power shortage generates an impression that either the government is not aware of the problem, or it is simply ignoring people’s demands. Such an apathetic attitude of the ruling elite in a democratic country is certainly not advisable. Political analysts believe that the annual budget announced on June 1, 2012 was the last budget of the Gilani government. Indeed, it was chalked out keeping in mind the next general election.
Whatever, the real politick motives the government had in mind while framing the budget, one point is clear that the budget was not up to the expectations of the common man. In reality, it has failed to provide any relief to the common man. The opposition’s role in the parliament was also repulsive on June 1, 2012. The farcical act of the major opposition party i.e. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz faction was alarming. Instead of listening to the Finance Minister’s budget speech carefully and responding professionally, it did sloganeering and tried to sabotage the speech of the Minister. This act of the opposition resulted in a fist-fight among parliamentarians on the floor of the House. The brawl demonized people’s representatives in the national parliament.
The government had taken a bold step to bring the paramilitary forces under the elected government in Balochistan. Prime Minister Gilani reiterated and expressed his determination to end the grievances of the natives of Balochistan. Despite the administrative-cum-procedural changes and ruling elite’s demonstrated assurances, the law and order situation has not improved in the province. The killing of innocent people in Quetta did not stop.
Islamabad, today, is under tremendous external pressure to open the Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) to restore the suspended supplies of NATO/ISAF and United States troops, which have been in the process of packing up to leave Afghanistan by 2014. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security that was assigned to rewrite Pakistan’s foreign policy in general and rules of engagement with the United States in particular had already spelled out and submitted its recommendations to the Cabinet, and now government is endeavoring to run its foreign policy accordingly.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security had expressed serious reservations on the United States’ drone strike policy. It had concluded that these strikes were counterproductive. The government has also been doing its best to convince the United States to refrain from drone strikes. Ironically, the Obama Administration is not ready to discontinue its drone strikes. Since the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, the drone strikes’ frequency has increased. For instance, on June 2, 2012, the drone strike near Miranshah, in North Waziristan had killed 15 people. This haughty drone-attack tactic of the Obama Administration certainly hinders the efforts to improve Pakistan-United States relations.
The descending national economy and increasing ethnic and sectarian divide in certain regions of the country are serious challenges to national security of Pakistan. Hence, it is imperative that the government should chalk out a practical strategy instead of making sham promises to address the prevalent perilous challenges faced by the country.