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The crises facing Pakistan are not new. The economy is used to a major boom-bust cycle every 3-4 years; the politics pushes the country towards anarchy every 7-8 years; and there is, unfortunately, a mega climate disaster almost every 10 years. Only that this time around, the several crises have come a calling at the same time, with their intensity seemingly at unprecedented highs. Meanwhile, the deteriorating security situation across the country has added even more to the heightened uncertainty.

The precarious situation requires a unified political, institutional and bureaucratic response in the short-term and reformist commitment for the long-term. The moment calls for stepped-up governance by those who may actually possess the public’s mandate and be at the center of its hopes and dreams. The circumstances ask for remedies that are clearly communicated to and embraced by the people. Fairness, transparency and austerity are some of the things that need to be observed by all levers of the state.

None of that seems to be forthcoming, not anytime soon. Fearful of an electoral rout (as recent opinion polls suggest), the PML-N-led federal government seems intent on avoiding elections in Punjab. Presiding over an economic mess that is getting irredeemable by the day, the apparent political calculations to turn things around in a few months are not balanced by reality or forecasts. Half-hearted attempts to tame the PTI opposition into submission through law enforcement have become a daily joke.

The challenger Khan, meanwhile, is setting one bad example after another by defying the courts and allowing violence to take root among his young and diehard supporters. The strategy to respond to chaos with more chaos is unsustainable. The ex-PM’s refusal to sit down with the federal government – be it on matters of handling surging terrorism or staving off economic default – may be popular with his base, but it will only make his job even harder when (or if) the party sweeps to power in the next general elections.

Meanwhile, the institutions collectively refuse to acknowledge that when you’re in a hole, stop digging. The judiciary’s partisanship is once again out in full view, responding to popular sentiment instead of applying the law. The so-called establishment is not in the mood to dance again, but ignoring the jilted lover is not working either. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Looking down 30,000 feet, there are no clear answers, only confusion all around, with current incentives aligned for continuation of status quo.

Comments

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KU Mar 22, 2023 03:22pm
No one knows how it will end, but tell you how it started. Many decades ago, some honourable justices were writing judgement on a criminal matter related to corruption by a politician. Along with the judgement they gave an observation and said, ‘’we note with anguish that the clans/tribes that are known as professional criminals and listed in police book A & B as cattle thieves and murderers are now frequently observed in politics’’. Later, at the request of some lawyers, they excluded the observation, but the observation is documented and remembered by many in the profession. With the onset of the people mentioned in the observation, the degradation started and destroyed morality, ethics, honesty, justice and equality. Socioeconomic development consequently suffered in the absence of all the building blocks of a nation and country. It will obviously end, if and when the people want it to end.
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TimeToMovveOn Mar 22, 2023 05:24pm
There is nothing to end, this will be long soap opera that will take almost a decade to settle down. It is tug of war that goes on for a long time.
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bonce Mar 22, 2023 11:32pm
@TimeToMovveOn, Our Wadaras not like our country stand by her own feet. On the other side army making money in the name of Islam and Kashmir. We wish our country divide various part in this way everyone will be happy.
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KhanRA Mar 23, 2023 12:39am
It will end only when Pakistanis demand the end to Army intervention in politics/economy/policy making, and firmly reject dynastic politics. Our party ira don’t fight on ideas, but instead just try to tear down/disqualify/arrest their opponents. The Sharifs, who I once admired, have shown us exactly how bad nepotism can be for this country with their appointment of Ishaq Dar.
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Failed Nation Mar 24, 2023 11:08am
Nothing will change, as people dont want to come out to the streets and if they do, they will be attacked and shunned by everyone from the establishment to politicians to businesses...as citizens, we are irrelevant. The best thing is to leave this place, put efforts in another country with tails between our legs as educated refugees, gain citizenship and then never come back. Thats how it will end for most
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Muhammad Ali Mar 25, 2023 10:09am
Free & fair elections under UNO is the solution whereby real representatives of the people will come into power. The current lot of politicians are family limited companies who with help of system (visible & invisible) & in guise of fake democracy want to suck our last drop of blood. Million $ question is that who is so honest & sincere with national cause to hold free & fair elections? This solution could not pop from this set up as they are the worst of worst creatures.
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Kashif ALI Mar 27, 2023 01:23am
It is a big curse and shame to be counted amongst Pakistanis. Self-respect and dignity are truly slain when I am identified as a Pakistani. If PDM is a gang of thieves. IK is a fascist, liar, selfish greedy Pied Piper - making the mice to follow to his tunes - leading them to nowhere but to hell and disaster. Such polarization of people will drive this place to bloody civil war and annihilation. Never the two economic Pakistans were ever so evident than they are now. 70+ years old faggots (that whole generation besides the current generation) drove this country to the point of annihilation. In the end, it will be a case of "Man proposes, God disposes".
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