ISLAMABAD: After years of terrorist attacks, military coups and political upheaval, Pakistan for now has settled into a period of relative calm.
“Over the past nine months, government statistics show, major terrorist attacks have declined 70% and Pakistanis are flocking back to shopping malls, resorts and restaurants,” a report carried by Washington Post said on Tuesday.
“The relaxed and optimistic mood in Pakistan was benefiting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif politically,” it said.
“Still, the arrangement is allowing PM Nawaz to do something that Pakistani leaders have struggled to accomplish for much of the past decade: implement a road map for what a peaceful, stable Pakistan could look like. And in the process, the prime minister is winning over sceptics despite his low-key leadership style,” the report maintained.
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According to the report, one year after he was nearly bounced from office, Premier Nawaz has hung on amid signs the country could be on the cusp of a surprising turnaround.
“People are feeling more secure. There are development projects, and the perspective of people is changing to say, ‘Okay, now we can see things are going well,” the US based newspaper quoted Zafar Mueen Nasir, dean of business studies at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics as saying. “Of course, there will always be some criticism and always a second opinion, but as far as I am concerned, this government is at least showing some progress.”
The report referred to last year’s sit-in in the federal capital and said, “But as Islamabad slipped into an unusually chilly fall, Nawaz outlasted the protesters.”
“Now, Nawaz has turned his attention toward trying to rebuild a chronically sluggish economy while also delivering shiny new amenities for residents,” the report added.
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It further stated: “It’s a strategy that has become easier to implement this year, as a military campaign in Pakistan’s tribal belt and its largest city, Karachi, has been credited with reducing terrorist attacks and other crimes.”
The report quoting the South Asia Terrorism Portal, which monitors violence, said: “In the first eight months of this year, 680 civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks, compared with 1,194 in the same period last year and 2,246 in 2013.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2015.