Pakistan was established in 1947 and since its independence, it has faced countless issues: Poverty, illiteracy, foreign interference, political instability and corruption. A common English saying goes as “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” This saying may explain why the political process in Pakistan has yet to fully mature with genuine freedom and democracy for all of its citizens.
Shortly after 1947 the sincere and loyal Pakistani officials were removed from the political mainstream. Many corrupt and inept politicians took their place, creating an unstable atmosphere for external forces to dictate politics.
India is typically termed as Pakistan’s conventional enemy. As mentioned before the Pakistani people need to be trained to think positively about their surroundings. We should learn a lesson from American and Canadian friendly relations to improve Indian and Pakistani bilateral ties.
Pakistan can never truly progress with its proxy war politics with India and with its involvement in the so-called US War on terrorism. It has to make a lasting peace with India and other neighboring countries soon so that it can use its resources for its own people’s welfare and focus on its collective objectives.
In some ways, Pakistan has more potential to be a developed country than India. It has the resources, ingenuity and intellectual brainpower yet it seems to regress by the day. India with its billion plus population has a plethora of problems to deal with, yet India’s focus has been so much more efficient and obvious with its 8% economic growth. Perhaps it is now time Pakistan learns from the Indian example and formulates a new strategy.
There is a perception among some in the international community that Pakistan is a terrorist nation. The primary reason being an exploitation through the religious leaders and reaction of the military operations both internally as well as externally. China is getting $13 billion in foreign investment because of its stable and investor-friendly environment while Pakistan’s violent image in the media has shaken investor confidence and destroyed its tourist industry.
For example, smaller and less influential countries like Romania and the Philippines are receiving much more foreign investments because their leadership understands pragmatic economic and security policies. Pakistan suffers from overpopulation, inflation and unemployment. These deficits in turn create breeding grounds for terrorism and religious fanaticism.
With respect to human rights, I would like to share a profound statement from the Dalai Lama:
“All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured… We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights… for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.”
Violence in Pakistan and the Taliban conflict with the government have heightened humanitarian problems. Political and military interests have been prioritized over humanitarian considerations in their offensives against the Taliban, and these issues will likely get worse as people faced with no hope, poverty and unemployment feel they have no alternative. Displacement is also a major problem and humanitarian organizations are failing to address people’s basic needs.
The Shia genocide in Quetta and the target killing of Shia have tragically become routine in Pakistan. Apart from these horrific crimes which the Muslim world has failed to adequately condemn and prevent, other persecuted minorities in Lahore and Islamabad have sullied Pakistan’s reputation and harmed the country.
When will we say enough is enough and it is time to put Pakistan back on the correct path?
Shahid Kazmi is a youth analyst, human rights and youth activist, peace practitioner, volunteer, social worker and blogger from the Pakistani Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Visit his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @shaahidkazmi.