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Pakistan Wears A Promising Look: The Institutions For Creation Of The Civil Society

06 June 2013

By Saeed Qureshi

Finally the fairy of democracy has descended on the blessed soil of Pakistan "fluttering its luminous wings", exuberant charm and splendor. It is indeed an unforgettable moment in the checkered history of Pakistan that remained bedeviled by one crisis after another. This marvelous country has been under military sway for more than half of its total life of 66 years.

This great country in the modern era is back on tracks. For the first time perhaps national and provincial assemblies have been chosen in a veritable democratic manner. The return of Mian Nawaz Sharif back to Prime Minister House after a grueling interregnum of 14 years has seasoned this leader beyond any shadow of doubt. He talks with lot of sense, acumen and sobriety that he marginally lacked in his previous tenures and that were cut short by the respective presidents.
His unceremonious departure from the power in October 1999 was yet another blow to the fledgling democracy at that time. That unfortunate episode happened because of the aggressive posture of Mian Nawaz Sharif and his propensity to browbeat the non-challant and strong headed chiefs of Pakistan army.

That was perhaps the final sordid chapter written by the hands of destiny throwing an elected prime minister out and ushering a military chief of army staff (COAS) in power. The COAS Pervez Musharraf might have never imagined that he would be ruling Pakistan as one of the most powerful despot for almost 9 years.

That situation has now reversed and one is flabbergasted to see that powerful military potentate is now in extreme misery and his rival Mian Nawaz Sharif is basking in the glory of a well deserved electoral victory based upon democratic tradition.

By the time this column reaches my readers, Mian Nawaz Sharif would have taken oath as the prime minister of Pakistan. With that momentous ceremony, Pakistan would begin marching on the most coveted tracks of democracy. Hopefully there would not be any possibility in future for any military chauvinist to ambush the historic mandate of the people of Pakistan or subvert the democratic process.

Mian Nawaz Sharif and his associates are very well aware of the sufferings and miseries of the people of Pakistan. It is hoped that the new regime would stand by its promises and pledges to rebuild Pakistan as a modern state. Pakistan is caught in the cobwebs of diverse and intractable problems ranging from provision of clean water to cubing the unrelenting culture of violence and complete breakdown of law and order.

In between there is a sea of grave problems that the new federal and provincial governments will have to address and address effectively .The curse of corruption that makes the elite and rich classes further rich and the people further impoverished and demeaning has to be uprooted once and for all.

The tradition of inviting the minority party in Baluchistan to form the government is a monumental and giant step that would lead to a modicum of harmony and amity between the provinces especially earning the goodwill of the Baloch people for Punjab. There is a stream of laudatory statements emerging from Baluchistan for this demonstration of statesmanship by Mian Nawaz Sharif. The bolstering the patriotic political forces in that troubled province would marginalize the separatist movements.

But what one would expect and suggest is that the army and para military forces should be withdrawn from Baluchistan and let the elected leadership work towards the uplift, unity, peace and solidarity of that crucial province. If more devolution of powers to Baluchistan and other provinces is needed for national unity and appeasement, let it be done without delay.

The leadership both in power and out of power should put their heads together and in spirit of camaraderie take stock of the problems that have kept Pakistan poor, backward and unstable. The charter of reforms to be unfurled by the PMLN government must be implemented like an article of faith. The religious animosity and fanaticism, the menace of sectarianism has to be dealt with iron hands and there should be no reprieve and sympathy with any group.

The economic revolution and for flowering of civil liberties with delegation of independence to the institutions for creation of the civil society is indispensable for a Pakistan that possesses the enormous potential to become the envy of the world. The virtues of democracy must not be sacrificed or compromised for short term gains and for the sake of staying in power. Any temptation in this regard must be resisted by the elected representatives and the newly installed governments at the federal and provincial levels.

It is time to take all the political and social forces together whether in power or in opposition to redesign and remodel a Pakistan that we all wish and pray for. The good and hilarious news is that the Karachi stock market has soared to 22274 points for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Doesn't that augurs well for a glorious Pakistan and this has come about although the government has yet to be sworn in.



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