Long anticipated elections are over, and the new government has set in. The paradigm shifts in regional politics and the recent emergence of new security and economic blocs is making it incumbent for Pakistan to seriously reassess its policies with respect to its safety and economic well-being.

Therefore, the new government’s principal test will be to steer the escalating rivalry and regional dynamics with a realistic, yet judicious approach, balancing immediate diplomatic and economic imperatives with both short- & long-term strategic interests.

Above all, the interest of the common man is to be seriously taken into focus. Are we then to witness a structural change, and if so, how soon? People have long waited for their government to focus on their need.

The roller coaster ride Pakistanis have had since its beginning seems to have witnessed a mix of highs and lows in its 76 years of existence.

At the time of independence, the world was primarily bipolar divided between the capitalist and the communist systems of governance.

Pakistan as a new nation was privileged to be asked to join the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and decided to side with nations, which were emerging from the ashes of the World War, which had just ended in 1945.

CENTO of 1959 was aimed at promoting shared political, military, and economic goals founded by the likes of Turkey, Great Britain, and Iran.

Similar were the aims of SEATO which was formed in 1954. Pakistan rightly emerging as a new nation on the world map, partnered with countries like Germany and Japan which helped with its industrial and development programs. In the process, there was a creation of entrepreneurs in various fields who earned accolades for their respective expertise.

Pakistan as an emerging economy then, was already able to extend export credits and even provide loans to Japan and Germany for their growth and assist South Korea with its development programme.

What may surprise many is the Gazette notification of Pakistan of October 13th, 1950, stating the value of British Pound Sterling at 9.5, US$ 3.5 and with all European currencies below par with even German Mark at 0.75 to the Pakistani Rupee. Countries sought help from Pakistan to establish airlines, banks, industrial units and even seek assistance in the drafting of their constitutions as was the case with Malaysia with their constitution of 1957.

A chain of world leaders was visiting Pakistan seeking collaboration and cooperation in diversified fields.

Technocrats from Pakistan were in high demand the world over. Whether economists, bankers, engineers, doctors, educationists, and even jurists, they were seen being deputed by the government to assist their counterpart professionals in other countries.

Public servants associated in all spheres of governance served the country to their best ability bringing laurels which even today are remembered by many as the glories of the past and commonly discussed as the golden era of Pakistan.

‘Great People to Fly With’ was the statement associated to the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy flying PIA from New York to London in 1962, and which became the airline’s slogan since then. She also signed her picture for Captain Salehjee who was piloting the Trans-Atlantic service with a Boeing 707 wet-leased from PanAm Airlines. Subsequently in 1985, it was PIA which assisted Emirates Airlines, and which adopted EK as their code signifying

Emirates to Karachi being the first ever flight from Dubai to Karachi piloted by a Pakistani pilot Saeed Ghani and additionally helped by other in-flight support by Pakistanis using a Boeing 737 wet-leased also by Pakistan to the UAE. Numerous such examples can be mentioned to understand where Pakistan stood in the comity of nations and the relevance it held as a young progressive nation.

It was unfortunate for the country to have gone through an extremely bad patch in the 70s extending for over a quarter of a century because of regional turmoil and uncertainties over which Pakistan had little control.

First, on account of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and thereafter Pakistan getting involved with the global war on terror after the 9/11 incident in America; not to mention the fallout from the Iran-Iraq war lasting 8 years in the neighborhood.

Pakistan had become the front-line state fighting in both cases resulting in human losses of over 80 thousand innocent lives and billions of dollars in terms of economic losses.

Pakistan had also in the meantime, detonated nuclear devises to counter the threats from India and in doing so faced sanctions which took a heavy toll on the economy. This is the period when Pakistan faced severe difficulties in overcoming the impediments that were unfortunately created.

While Pakistan did suffer enormously, the phenomenon was not confined to Pakistan alone. Several countries in the region also went through this precarious phase but meaningfully soon managed it.

Leadership in Pakistan now needs to seriously reflect and set its priorities. Once a country providing credit and loans is now virtually surviving on insignificant handouts by others.

This too on a quid pro quo basis, leading to a situation where, as a sovereign nation, decision-making in its own best interest is being compromised. Pakistan has nothing to fear but fear itself. It is a country blessed with both natural and human resources and has everything that a nation can desire.

Over 800 thousand square kilometers with beautiful landscape, coastline of over 1100 kilometers, nearly 600 thousand strong armed forces personnel protecting its boarders, energetic youth comprising of nearly 60% of the 250 million and above all a nuclear power state with a sound command and control of its strategic assets.

(To be continued tomorrow)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Kalim Farooqui

The writer is an active member of several Bilateral Business Forums and a freelance columnist [email protected]


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KU Mar 13, 2024 10:50am
Very well written, the explanation is that corrupt leaders ensured murder of merit and abuse of law to avoid a foolish notion called justice. Haunting question; rich leaders versus bankrupt Pakistan.
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