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Don’t let Pakistan fail

Pakistan is home to 180 million souls out of which 96% are common men and women,ranks it as sixth most populous state of the world. It is the second-largest country in the world with a predominantly Muslim population and holds a key geostrategic location, sharing international borders with India, China, Iran, and Afghanistan, as well as a 700-mile coastline along the Arabian Sea touching on the Persian Gulf. With a standing army of half a million, Pakistanis one of very few in the world in possession of nuclear weapons. Yet, due to negative trends in contemporary comparative politics it has wrongly been called “a failed state,” occasionally “a failing state,” and even at times “a rogue state.” One of the major reasons is of such negative tagging is that during 68 years of its existence most ofthe concentration remained on ‘State Building’ and not on ‘Nation Building’ and till today Pakistanremains “a nation still in the making’.

There have been a lot of efforts in the recent times for the ‘State Building’ in Pakistan by using interventionist strategies to restore and rebuild the institutions and apparatus of the state.Pakistan’s vibrant civil society, relatively open media, and the rise of an independent higher judiciary, amendments to strengthen democratic institutions and expand provincial autonomy are the clear examples of ‘State Building’ efforts.

Pakistan has successfully entered in a transitional phase to democratise from a decade of long authoritarian rule.The consensus over democracy has somewhat improved during the last few years but remains fragile.Surely, periods of transition not only leave common people in heightened need of orientation but also make political institutions more vulnerable to fluctuations in popular support and, as in some cases, to the pressures of hostile public opinion.For a state to become a democracy, political authority has to be constrained and balanced, individual rights protected, and a rule of law assured.In states whose governments continue to resist a more open and participatory form of governance, such as North Korea, Burma or Zimbabwe, the idea of democracy is a powerfulforce that inspires people to take on a more active role in public life. However,Pakistan like many of the newlyemerging democracies seem to fall short of some, often many, of the basic standards that define democratic rule, with irregular voting procedures, corruption, inefficiency and autocratic styles of government. In addition, as Pakistan is a country of the developing world, inequality and poverty remain severe obstacles to full self‐determination of the common people.The experiences of the past decades have shown that democracy is not a one‐way road and that a viable democracy requires more than the implementation of the key institutions of government. Rather, an accountable and efficient government is embedded in a complex web of interdependent conditions that require considerable time and effort to develop.

Pakistan should be geared to bestow more and more rights on the common man. Common man should be seen as a viable and alternate pillar of the society to assume responsibility whether in power sharing, law making or delivery justice system. Common man should not be seen as enemy of the system but should be geared and seen as a friend who in any eventuality can stand up to the task of Nation building.

Pakistan is a state in its developmental phase, a struggling nation-state, a state struggling to democratise, a state struggling to achieve a national identity. Pakistan as envisioned by its founders was to be an extraordinary state, a homeland for the Muslims, an ideological and political front-runner of the Islamic world.It was created amidst grim conditions. In the words of the historian Ian Talbot, “Pakistan’s birth was a difficult one, which involved immense suffering of thousands of common men and women. Its British midwife had abandoned it to a chaotic environment in which the elder Indian sibling looked on with hostility.’’

People of Pakistan must remember that Quaid-i-Azam reminded his people that although they had achieved Pakistan, they must not slacken in their efforts to build and strengthen the state. In a broadcast talk from Radio Pakistan, Lahore, on October 30, 1947 the Quaid said “Let us now plan to build and reconstruct and regenerate our great nation and our sovereign state of Pakistan which, as you know, is not only the biggest Muslim State in the world but the fifth biggest sovereign state in the world. Now is the time, chance and opportunity for every Mussalman to make his or her fullest and best contribution and make the greatest sacrifice and work ceaselessly and selflessly in the service of our nation and make Pakistan one of the greatest nations of the world.  While the horizon is beset with dark clouds, let me appeal to you and give this message to the people of Pakistan. Create enthusiasm and spirit and go forward with your tasks with courage and hope and we shall do it. Are we down hearted? Certainly not. The history of Islamic replete is full with instances of valour, grit and determination. So march on notwithstanding obstructions, confident that a united nation of 70 million people with a grim determination and with a greater civilization and history need for nothing. It is now up to you to work, work and work and we are bound to succeed”.

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