Pakistan’s 2014 Wish List

Spearhead Analysis – 07.01.2014

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward

Pakistan FlagThe expected transitions in 2013 have gone smoothly. Those expected in 2014 should also happen without mishap. Two weeks into 2014 Pakistan should be able to draw up a wish list and chart its course to achieve what it wants. By now it should be clear that neither the world nor the region is going to change to suit Pakistan’s requirements — it is Pakistan that has to adjust its sails to take advantage where it can steer clear of what can harm it.

Pakistan’s first and most significant wish should be that with the elections behind it and elected governments in place the entire political establishment must accept this arrangement for the next five years and get down to projecting the image of a stable democracy. The continuous electioneering, slogan mongering, mudslinging and infighting must give way to governance by those in power and constructive criticism by those in the opposition.

The Iranian revolution and the Sunni reaction to it is possibly the well head from which the upheaval in the Islamic world has sprung. External intervention to exploit the situation has led to the extremism and intolerance that exists as well as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Pakistan’s second wish should be an end to the insurgency in FATA and the religious, ethnic, sectarian and criminal violence that it has spawned. It is the political and military leadership that has to work jointly to evolve a national security policy that brings this about.. The newly established CCNS/NSC is the first step in this direction and more such steps are urgently needed. Internal security and harmony cannot come if there is shortsighted political and institutional exploitation from within and consequent destabilization from without.

Pakistan’s third and last wish for 2014 should be for good relations with all its neighbors and with the world powers. Pakistan needs such regional and global connections for its economic viability and prosperity as well as for its image as a country that is part of the globalized world and conforming to all international norms. There should be no second thoughts on this thrust and nor should there be reservations from any quarter.

The main hurdle that Pakistan faces and will face in the fulfillment of these wishes is the environment created by shallow, narrow and selfish interests of some segments of the population — some for power and some for financial gain. This is the sphere in which Pakistan has to harden itself and enforce the rule of law to make sure that nothing is done or said by anyone that is not in Pakistan’s interest or that projects a negative image of the country. It is governance — good strong governance — by competent teams that can ensure this by harnessing the best talent in the country.

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