Only politicians who are a part of solving rather than causing problems can achieve an alliance for Pakistan’s future. What is needed is a ‘solution alliance’ with an agenda on how to resolve the country’s problems. We need politicians to unite on solutions.
Alliances of treasury or opposition benches, or even forces outside parliament, need to be based on solutions. Parties go to their electorates at the time of election with their manifestos; promising much but in the end delivering little. Pakistan has considerable resource potential, but it is at an economic collapse of such magnitude that the gap is horrifying. The ‘solution alliance’ will need to convince the government to implement the following five-step agenda as soon as possible.
1) A ruthless accountability campaign to return all looted wealth. If, in this process the highest officials of the government are found guilty under the law and jailed, then so be it. With the return of illegal wealth there should an immediate freeze in prices and a return to March 2008 levels, with a subsidy plan to be announced for the lowest income people — targeted subsidies not blanket ones. The next step is to cut wasteful expenditure, and create a taxation system that is unforgiving towards tax evaders.
2) An assessment of the basic minimum standards for schools and basic health units for the population, including a standardised syllabus for all the provinces without disrespecting provincial autonomy.
3) An identification of the enemies of Pakistan and military action against them. Settlement with those elements that have been put in the enemy camp because of the war on terror is also necessary, as is the removal of all foreign forces from Pakistani soil. There must be immediate operations against terrorists and bhatta masters, irrespective of political party patronage.
4) An increase in the budgetary capacity of the judiciary, especially lower courts, with an anti-corruption drive so that pending cases are resolved and justice becomes a right of all Pakistanis, not just a few influential ones. This would include electoral reform and implementation of all judicial orders.
5) A campaign for cheap electricity harnessing regional and global partners, renegotiating debt payments and circular debt plans. In addition to this, there should be an implementation of a water management system keeping in line with the 1991 Water Accord.
From the nature of the immediate steps mentioned above, it is apparent that the implementation of this plan is not possible without imprisoning all those who have looted our nation’s wealth and resources. Thus, to save Pakistan people need to engage in a peaceful protest on the streets and force the current government to resign. Furthermore, we must insist on midterm elections according to electoral rolls. Before the elections take place, it is vital that new options and choices are created for the people, so that they elect deserving candidates. It is also critical to have an alternative government action plan ready before then by getting progressive policy solutions from all stakeholders for each ministry and sector. After that, political forces should sign off on these policies for a minimum of 10 years.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2011.
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