The year 2017 has been an exciting one…and why not!

A guide to what to expect in 2018 from the triumphs and troughs Pakistan hit in 2017

Sana Jamil December 31, 2017

The year 2017 has been an exciting one. The world on its orbit has almost changed around us. From conducting a successful census to controversies around its results, from Nawaz Sharif's disqualification as prime minister to a new low in the country’s relations with the US under its Donald Trump administration, from a marked decline in incidents of terrorism to Pakistan humbling India on the cricket ground, winning the Champions Trophy – there are so many watershed events which shaped 2017 as an eventful year for the country and gave hopes about a better 2018.

We had grievances too and we committed blunders, but 2017 was a year which saw tangible changes in Pakistan, providing us with endless options to evolve in the new year.

Nevertheless, 2018 will not be an easy ride in Pakistan.

Here is a guide to what to expect in the next year from the triumphs and troughs Pakistan hit in 2017.

Immeasurable ‘tsunami’ damages to PML-N



This year, Pakistan saw the weakening of the government after a street agitation that started in 2014, which finally began to turn the tide against traditional grandees of the local politics.

In July, a landmark verdict by the Supreme Court sent Nawaz Sharif home over his failure to disclose his ‘un-withdrawn receivables, constituting assets’ in his nomination papers filed for the 2013 general elections. It was a huge blow to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Though, Sharif was not disqualified over corruption allegations which stemmed from the Panama Papers leak, but a precedent was set.

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What should happen in 2018?

In the outgoing year, the country witnessed some sort of social awareness where people are slowly learning that if you ask a question, you will get an answer. Some became more aware about their rights and an increased sense of political activism could also be seen where people stood up against their leadership.

In 2018, we want the accountability process to continue to rid Pakistan of those mired in corruption.

Transgender community is free to fly high


In 2012, the transgender community in Pakistan was awarded some semblance of basic human rights with them being allowed to register as the third gender as voters and on their Computerised National Identity Cards (NIC) issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

After a delay of over five years, the authorities have finally issued the first passport in June 2017 with a transgender category. The passport was issued to prominent transgender activist Farzana Jan, where her gender was marked as X. The marginalised transgender community welcomed the decision as an important milestone in their struggle against discrimination.

Although the provisional census results depict the transgender population in thousands, the Trans Action Pakistan says at least half a million people in the country identify as transgender.

What should be new in 2018?

Next year, as a society we need to change our behaviour towards the  marginalised communities of Pakistan. They deserve respect and recognition, just like any other human being.

Currently people who identify as transgender are discriminated against even when it comes to basic needs, such as medical attention when injured or places in morgues when killed.  In the coming year, let us pledge to treat people as people and not based on what gender they identify with.

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People who identify as trans, should not be picked upon, attacked, raped or murdered just because they are different. We as a community need to remove the stigma we attach to different and ensure that we create a system where everyone is given an equal citizenship and equal status with grace in 2018.

A census was held after 19 years


Overcoming all the issues related to the population count, Pakistan conducted a national census after 19 long years in March 2017. The census estimates that Pakistan has a booming population of 207,774,520. For the time in the history of the country, the transgender community was also included in the census, followed by a ruling from the Lahore High Court. The census put the number of transgender population at 10,418.

National census data is vital for planning and development. It is only through a census that Pakistan can plan effectively for our future.

What should be new in 2018?

This year, the government, related departments, as well as the citizens of the country should be focused on utilising the census for planning and development. The aim should be to ensure that people have equal and proper access to basic facilities such as water, sanitation, transportation and schools, whereby numbers projected for the future by the census should also be taken into consideration.

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We, the people, need to use our voices to ensure that planning and development is undertaken with the census numbers in mind. In addition, emphasis should be laid on making life easier for special needs people, transgenders and our minorities.

Pakistan's polio fight has come a long way


Pakistan is one of just three countries in the world, including  Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio—a once-commonly contracted virus in children which can cause paralysis or even death– is yet to be defeated.

The virus, although not eliminated in its entirety, is still fast approaching the end. The big obstacle, experts say, is not the lack of funds to fight the virus, but the people’s lack of trust in the western governments who fund the vaccines.

The current polio epidemiology remains the best ever seen in Pakistan, according to the World Health Organisation. In the early 1990s, the annual incidence of polio was estimated at more than 20,000 cases a year. As of October 2017, the number of polio cases reported in Pakistan was five.

What should be new in 2018?

In 2018, polio has to go. The number five has to reach zero. For this to be achieved, not only do we need stronger campaigns but more than that a little faith from the people.

Polio teams put their lives on the line to get to your doors to ensure a polio free Pakistan, it is about time we render them support as well as security, while also ensuring we do our part to educate who ever we can about the virus, its effects and the vaccine. Our clerics should also come forward to promote the immunisations.

International cricket came home again


International cricket in the country was forced to take a nine year sabbatical after an unfortunate gunmen attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009. Eight bystanders were killed while seven players and the staff from the visiting team were also injured.  This year or what remains of it, the brave Sri Lankan team decided to honour Pakistan by coming back, amid heavy security, to play the final of a three-match T20 series in Lahore. Interestingly, there is no precedent of sporting events being banned in the world due to terrorism.

Pakistan also hosted minnows Zimbabwe in 2015, the final of Pakistan Super League and a three-match Twenty20 series against World XI — comprising players from seven countries — since the attack but due to Pakistan Cricket Board Chairperson Najam Sethi’s efforts, cricket properly returned home this year.

The country was ecstatic, and people poured in to watch the match, sending out a clear message that cricket is life and it should be brought back. The international media also praised Pakistan’s effort and security.

What should be new in 2018?

Cricket should really come home, instead of Pakistan being assigned a designated home in the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, the only designation that cricket must be held at, is Pakistan.

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Terrorism has influenced the world but only the stadiums in Pakistan have been suffering the brunt of the situation, which really has to change.

From K-P to Karachi, we saw drop in terrorism

 PSX expected to make smart recovery in 2018

Terrorism has influenced the world but stadiums in Pakistan only have been suffering the brunt of it. With the door for the return of international cricket, more cricket teams should come and play in Pakistan because we are already winning the war against terror.

From K-P to Karachi, we saw drop in terrorism


Pakistan saw more peace this year than it has seen in a while and it seems that the country’s resolve to stamp out terrorism is finally showing its effectiveness. There has been a notable drop in terrorism related cases.

Pakistan managed to rank fifth in a list of 163 countries—the best rating in a decade—on the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2017 with a score of 8.4 out of 10. According to the report, 2016 was the third consecutive year in which Pakistan recorded fewer deaths related to terrorism. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the worst terror-hit province of Pakistan, witnessed a decline of 43 per cent in terror related incidents.

The credit certainly goes to the ongoing, successful military operations in the country against militant groups, which have in turn reduced cases of terrorism in the country, while regular crackdowns in the country have also reduced the numbers of street crime.

 What should be new in 2018?

Here is hoping that 2018 will bring more peace and prosperity to the country, and although we are resilient as a nation, we are hoping we do not have to be. Here is also hoping that the need for military operations and crackdowns is eliminated and we emerge stronger and more united as a nation, so external forces cannot derail the progress of the country.

Is it too much to ask!



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