In the recent past I got a unique opportunity to talk to the students of various business schools. The topic of my presentation was “Pakistan: Opportunities, Challenges and threats”. The consensus arrived at was that the country offers enormous opportunities but people in general and investors in particular suffer from ‘confidence deficit’.
Peeping into the history reveals that the country has been ruled by those having common vested interest and most of the sitting/past members of Senate, National and Provincial Assemblies could be labeled ‘turn coats’. They change loyalty because they wish to remain part of ruling junta, be it democratic or autocratic rule.
The younger generation continues to suffer from illusion because of mudslinging by the leading political parties i.e. PML-N, PPP, MQM and PTI. Some claim to be opposition parties but have been part of ruling junta for decades. The incumbent prime minister and chief mister of Punjab are the legacy of a ‘Military Dictator, Zia ul- Hq. PTI has formed government in KPK province after 2013 election and is in fact part of ruling junta. MQM has remain in power for considerably long time
Some critics say the country is a victim of geopolitics because super powers install and dislodge rulers in Pakistan to pursue their ‘expansionism’ and politics prove to be ‘loyal than king’. Starting from Liaquat Ali Khan to Nawaz Sharif all the rulers have been towing the US foreign policy for the region.
Ayub Khan’s ten year rule was due to Pakistan’s assigned role in ‘cold war’. For ten years Zia ul Haq fought the US proxy war in Afghanistan to avert USSR attack on the country and frustrate its attempt to get access to ‘warm waters’ that also led to installation of Taliban government there. When the status of Taliban turned to foe from friend the crusade against them was led by Pervez Musharraf. Asif Zardari did the same and Nawaz Sharif also seems to be following his footsteps.
People believed that PTI would usher a change but forgot that the same old faces control its hierarchy and political agenda. The only inspiration of its chief is to become the next prime minister of Pakistan. Though the decision of Judicial Commission is out, the perception prevails that elections were engineered to create history by making Nawaz Saharif prime minister of Pakistan for the third time.
Many term hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ‘judicial murder’ and the mystery surrounding assassination of Benazir Bhutto and earlier dismissal of her government twice pre-maturely raises many question. Many critics find some similarity in killing of Mr. Aquino and his wife becoming president of Philippines and Benazir’s widower becoming president of Pakistan after her assassination, the strings in both the cases were moved from outside.
Decades of participation in the proxy war has proliferated political uncertainty, religious fanaticism, arms and drug trade. On top of all funding of local terrorist, be it in the name of creation of supremacy of Shariah or fighting for the deprived has resulted in assignation and destruction of civilian and military installations.
Some experts say all this is part of a great plan to keep Pakistan dependent on multilateral donors i.e. International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and even Islamic Development Bank. Keeping the country dependent on these institutions that are arms of super powers makes it easier to rein Pakistan. It is difficult to bring any change in the country without changing the mindset of masses.
Political turmoil in Pakistan, changing loyalties of politicians, ongoing proxy war in the region,