On the crossroads once again

Fast evolving regional situation is a corollary of the changing world scenario, where US, a superpower is adamant to remain all powerful and prolong its present status, and China, an emerging super power is struggling to keep rising economically, politically and militarily, without creating big antagonist waves. But the desires of both these competitors cannot get accommodated in the nature’s way of handling the rise and fall of powers. The cyclic motion of history is about to complete another big round. The catalyst being provided by Russia, that will ensure rise of China and flattening the American trajectory of influence over world affairs. But this won’t happen smoothly, China will have to fight (politically, diplomatically, economically and militarily) its way through, and stiff resistance shall be offered by US and her allies. Arenas of actions are likely to be away from the main lands of the big actors. The smaller partner countries with strategic and economic significances are the likely battlegrounds. Pakistan and India also fall in that category of allies. So it is for the leadership of these two nuclear countries to understand their positions, and rather than allowing themselves to play subservient roles, take charge of their destinies (of one and half billion people) and refuse to make this subcontinent, a battleground for the clashing egos of bigger powers.

 As a sequel to the on-going competition of the mighty three, middle and small sized countries willingly or otherwise are getting aligned with their favourite blocks. Indo-US political and military coalition in the region makes a formidable power entity. However the consummation, presently, is not complete as India is resisting certain diktats that she is not used to take, being a politically independent player for a long time. Russia and China are also trying their best to woo India and keep her away from totally aligning with USA. Pakistan on the other hand though being an old and tested friend of China is still clinging with US and her allies in a hope to avoid being pushed from one lap to another, which is a right thing to do. But is it doable? Diplomacy also has its limits, and with acute economic weakness, grave security situation and internal disharmony, choices are fast dwindling.

 This fluid situation has made Pakistan’s life quite difficult. Economic vulnerability (that some believe is deliberately induced, rather than a natural outcome of mismanagement alone) and deep internal political discord, has produced hay day like situation for the inimical forces, as they just need to provide momentum to the already existing downward slide. But situation is not hopeless, as yet. The Government and establishment immediately needs to react and remedy the economic, political and security malaise and create better internal conditions to successfully fight back all strands of various onslaughts.

 Economic situation cannot be amended with normal conventional steps. Neither IMF nor the frameworks of WTO and its likes will help Pakistan, to get out of this very difficult situation. It requires out of the box solution, which is not in sight. Fiscal emergency, total control on expenditures, drastic cut in unnecessary imports, controlling fake currency and detecting the entities involved in mopping of dollars in the market, are only few steps that would exhibit the seriousness of Government to alleviate the present dangerous economic situation.

Acknowledging the presence of economic hit men, understanding their techniques and their elimination along with the political ambitions of International Financial Institutions need to be understood thoroughly. It is not a simple game of academic approach or finance principles. It is much more complicated and an amalgam of direct and indirect strategies. Allowing free float of dollar under such environment is a sure recipe of disaster.

 If a large chunk of our economy is black and grey, which it is, then you can’t make policies that will stunt all economic activity forthwith. This is what happened when we stopped non-filers to take part in economic activity and started sniffing bank accounts. Also psychologically negative terms of “amnesty” and “bringing in tax net” does not auger well with human dignity. So all these steps are likely to fail as it has happened umpteen times in the past. Banking activity has sharply declined and revenues will further get stunted as most of the dealings will shift, if not already shifted, from cheques and drafts towards cash, commodities etc. Monies get controlled through incentives and disincentives (profit and loss), and application of force just scares it away.

FBR, in its present form, is a part of the problem and cannot be employed for problem solving, that is being tried again and again, though in vain.

 Beyond borders, the developing political and military situations all around are not very helpful either. Stalemate in the US-Taliban talks brings additional pressure on Pakistan. The American desire to exit peacefully themselves, but ensure that Afghanistan remains in turmoil, so that they keep controlling the region with the help of their proxies, creates a huge paradoxical situation.

Kashmiri Freedom Struggle and Pakistan’s diplomatic, legal and moral stance on the issue is much to the chagrin of Indian leadership. Thus ideal Indo-US nexus to teach Pakistan a lesson. Iran and Arab Countries standoff, aggravated by US for her own interests, also creates a foreign policy nightmare for Pakistan. Our sluggish, ambiguous and appeasing foreign policy has not allowed to breathe any vitality in our diplomacy.

 Opening too many internal fronts by the government with politicians, media, Judiciary and sub nationalists etc. has only weakened our cohesion and resolve and does not help in fighting back this ominous mixture of threats. On top of it the inability to perform simple municipal functions and implement laws of the land, gives impression of a pliable banana state. The wrong perception spread mainly by unfettered social media that behind every move or non-move of the government is the hand of establishment, further deepens the crises. And it seems everyone is waiting to act only when some big event happens. What else can be termed bigger than the prevailing situation?

Maybe that event is round the corner when budget is presented for voting....

 Now it needs to be seen, how our political and military leaderships read the situation and what are their plans to fight back these economic, political and military threats. Fluidity of the situation should not induce the feelings of helplessness and procrastination, and rapid advances be made for external realignments, economic revolution, internal cohesion and improvement of governance.

 Let’s keep our fingers crossed , pray and hope for the best ; while those who can practically contribute in developing the new scenarios rather than just passively responding to the events as they happen, should play their vital roles acting aggressively with knowledge, faith and vision.


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