How to wreck a country?

Path on which we are trekking is going to be bumpier with every passing day

Muhammad Ali Falak May 11, 2023
The writer is a Fulbright PhD candidate at Texas A&M University and a graduate of the University of Tokyo


While our neighbours are celebrating their economic hegemony in the region which enabled them to start trading in the Indian rupee outside the boundaries of their countries, we are finding it hard even to breathe a sigh of relief. Even now for a common man, thanks to social media, it is no brainer to think what could be the results of blunders that our elite and civil, military bureaucracy is habitual of making. The path on which we are trekking is going to be bumpier with every passing day.

Ironically, even this does not seem enough to awake us from the deep slumber we have been in. Since there have been several talks on how the economic condition in the country will ultimately result in the meltdown of its sovereignty, I leave that topic for another day. Today, I am more focused on writing about the blatant neglect, short-sightedness our government and the opposition parties are manifesting without a speck of remorse and shame looking at the direction in which our country is heading every single day. Only one reason one can think of for their closed eyes – it suits the status quo.

Let’s start with the most fundamental right of the human being: food and water. Pakistan for being unable to consider, calculate and protect its water needs is fast slipping into the list of water-scarce countries. With no storage infrastructure to hold the rainwater, the country is marred by devastating floods for half of the year while drought hampers it for the rest of the year. Floods wash away the top fertile layer of the soil. This leads to increasing food security. Every year we are producing lesser crops to cater to the needs of the local people. This year cotton is one of the lowest yields we got in the last four decades. This results in almost half of our kids having stunted growth which means due to lack of food and malnutrition the children are unable to fully develop their cognitive and physical abilities. Hence, they will not be able to play any productive role in the future of the country; it will rather become a liability to the national resources.

The buck does not stop here. Even those who manage to get sufficient food do not get to reach the gates of the school. Pakistan has about 220 million kids on the streets while the luckier ones get an outdated education with which they can never compete on the international standards with their peers who are studying abroad.

With the lowest quality of education in the region and the highest population rate, the result is an impending disaster. The gender gap also plays a pivotal role when more than 51 per cent of the female population is not at all contributing to the progress of the nation. The lives of these women revolve around the whims of the male members who are in no shape to think about a progressive future for themselves. Bangladesh and India have a huge female workforce who work in industry and help in moving the wheel of the economy. Unfortunately, we have women marching for their rights.

Religion is used egregiously as a tool for politics by the state and non-state actors. Religious fanaticism is widespread. A national narrative is distorted. The national action plan is hampered. Even polio and Covid vaccinations are termed non-religious acts. Diplomacy is all about paracitising financial benefits for petro-based economy.

Furthermore, non-issue-based politics govern the country. The interest of the political parties is always favoured by the interest of the country. Individuals are considered more worthy than the state, and Constitution is altered repeatedly.

Even if this is not enough, political anarchy and lawlessness add to the music. In Pakistan, all the institutions seem to be fighting for encroaching on the space of others while neglecting their own duties. Tax collection is meagre and government departments are non-functional. FDI diminished. Investors run away and inflation is skyrocketing. Bureaucracy is cowardly, corrupt and incompetent.

All these factors result in the best minds of the country flying away into developed countries while the country bleeds into the hands of the incompetent.

Lastly and most importantly, while all of this is happening everyone sleeps, thinking they are the leaders of the entire world in the making and have supernatural forces on their sides; and that their friendly countries will always find ways to fill the pockets of their needy friends. This is how you wreck a country!

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2023.

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