During my recent visit of Pakistan, I met different sections of the society, conducted interviews and discussed the social, economic as well as political situation of the country with key figures of the society. I would like to share my observation and analysis with the readers.
One major change in the social atmosphere is that the society is moving in two opposite directions with rigid concepts. There is one section of people who are adopting Islam in an extreme manner. One can see the women with full cover-up of their body even hands are found covered with gloves. The emphasis on adopting Islam is seen limited to the worshiping part of Islam. Conceptually, there are the people who still believe that whatever Osama Bin Laden, Mulla Umar and Taliban have done is right and Islam in Pakistan should be in the form of what Taliban and Osama Bin Laden want to implement.
The other section of the society is following western lifestyle. They are found to be away from religion and ignore the fact that Pakistan is an Islamic State. These people want complete annihilation of Mullahism and religious fanaticism. They are found adoring the western society and welcome actions of the western powers in the Muslim world. Even while keeping the feeling that USA dominating Pakistan, they are in the mode of accepting the situation.
The ratio of the moderate people is shrinking gradually. The danger of splitting of nation in opposite directions would be a dangerous possibility of clash of ideas and practices in coming time. That could bring a war-like situation within the country, the way it happened in Iran in the era of late Imam Khomeini.
If one excludes the people following the religious parties and groups, majority of people are least bothered about any political party or group. They don’t trust the political parties and their leaders. As they do not trust any political pundit they don’t even bother to have any changeover in the government as they could not see any better replacement. The issues brought by political parties and the government are limited among the leaders only. The people are not concerned about the person running the country, whether or not he is in civil dress or in a military uniform.
Lack of opportunities, increasing poverty, growing terrorist activities made them public insecure. The ones who are in jobs and businesses are in materialistic race. They are found drowned in never ending needs of maintaining their self-defined social status. They are in the battle of making-money in the least possible time to meet their needs of daily life and future targets.
The Government is making lots of promises and claims to build Pakistan a moderate and enlightened State and to provide better infrastructure to the country. On the other hand, there are hardly any foreign investment in term of establishment of new industries and increase of trade & export.
The newly made Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, addressing the business community in Karachi recently, asked them to build five-stars hotels and high-rise buildings in Karachi so the city should look like other modern cosmopolitan cities of the world. What a fantasy to dream about. Can any city, state or country be brought to a modern status without any economic or industrialization up rising.
Of course, there has been road construction going-on in various localities of Karachi but at the same time, the city which supposed to be the most advanced city is the most apprehensive place to live. The negligence, mismanagement and corruption ruined almost every institution as well as the social environment of Karachi. Smoke discharging transports, population, undrinkable water, missing electricity, boiling gutters, and bizarre law & order situation distorted Karachi into an unreliable place to live.
Hon Prime Minister must know that among other reasons, the root cause of frequent violence, frustrations and angriness among the people of Karachi is the lack of basic facilities in this mega city not the shortage of five-star hotels or high-rise buildings. Mismanagement, administrative injustices, shortage of water & electricity, no control over environmental pollution, lack of appropriate transport system are the most common factors of instability in Karachi.
Islamabad, the city which was protected from being commercialized with heavy population with common market places to maintain its beauty and uniqueness as being the capital is now loosing its image. Increasing public housing, substandard smoke discharging public transportation, on going development of new commercial areas is drifting Islamabad as another city like Karachi.
Though Lahore city has been comparatively developed significantly, one of the reasons for Lahore being a less suffocated city is its natural greenery. However, the modern style shopping centres and other public places made some parts of the city very attractive. But one could find people in old localities are suffering with the non-availability of basic facility. Shortage of water, frequent interruption in electricity and bad sanitary system making common individual’s life miserable. The People in these localities consider themselves as discriminated people from the rich society who could afford to live luxurious life in the modern places.
Similarly, other than these major cities, looking the conditions of the smaller cities and towns, one feels that these are totally neglected areas and people have no voice for their better life.
Growing economic situation and stable conditions of any developing nation depend on the industrialization, trade and elevated foreign investments. It does not matter what the government spokesmen claim; the ground realities can only be judged by analyzing the status of industrialization and ratio of the export activities in the country.
Of course, the foreign terrorist elements in Pakistan are the major drawback at the present in maintaining law & order situation up to a desirable stage. Yet, this should not be the excusable item to present each time whenever any fatal incident occurred. Instead there should be punishment to the key figures in the law harsh enforcement agencies responsible for that vicinity.
The kidnapping of the foreign workers is a shame for any country. Who would show desire to come and launch an industry and invest money in Pakistan when the government cannot provide the security to them even for their lives?
The prime and revolutionary measures that need to be done in Pakistan is to provide guaranteed security and stability to the people and to the foreign investors. The priority should be given to the development of the industries at all levels.
Economic stability and development does not just come by bringing a banker or economist at the highest position. A nation of well being and economically, socially and politically secured is a stepwise and long-term process where an atmosphere of social security, justice and consistent progress in trade and industry is constantly maintained.