Pakistan then and now

Published: August 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan was created against the wishes of the Congress, which was backed by the majority in India. The colonial power leaned towards the Congress and unfairly distributed assets putting the newly-created Pakistan at severe disadvantage. The Indian National Congress was a mature political party with well trained and groomed workers. This gave India a big advantage in terms of benefiting from lopsided distribution of assets and making good use of those through well-trained political leadership. They made use of every resource available to them to strengthen the economy. They built dams on all rivers flowing into Pakistan, which they use as a weapon sending floods our way every year during monsoon, creating havoc. Similarly, they created smaller provinces for efficient and effective management. On the other hand, the resource-deprived Pakistan, also suffered from a lack of well-groomed political leadership. On top of that our system has been hijacked by dictators every now and then. We were never able to evolve a consensus to build dams and take advantage of whatever resources we had. While India was strengthening its economy, we were trying to figure out the system we wanted experimenting between One Unit, Social Democracy, Nizam-e-Mustafa, Enlightened Moderation, democracy, or Riyasat-e- Madina. This was partly due to a lack of political acumen among leaders and followers. Party workers in our country are more focused on defending their leaders. Instead of utilising the services of party workers for positive things, leaders use them for chanting slogans and blindly defending their masters. This is one reason we have never been able to make any dams after Mangla and Tarbela projects. Kalabagh Dam and other similar projects have been abandoned just because politicians oppose them for their petty personal gains. When the PTI assumed power, they seemed focused on construction of dams and other mega projects for strengthening the economy. Unfortunately, they lost their track soon after and got bogged down with the politics of blame. They need to move on and formulate well-thought-out and debated policies to construct dams, explore gas and oil, and excavate valuable minerals to strengthen the weak economy. A strong economy is sine qua non for progress and for making ourselves felt at the international level.

Raja Shafaatullah

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2019.

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