A new dawn

Hope we see the dream of Naya Pakistan soon becoming a reality

WORDS WITHIN

FIRDOUS SYED

In the growing din of a failing state, the so-called strategic experts had even begun to redraw the map of Pakistan. For the naysayers, Baluchistan appearing as a free country, the vanishing of Durand line and Pashtun speaking population from Khyber to Attack becoming part of lawless Afghanistan and Karachi emerging as a tiny port- state was believed to be a foregone conclusion.  The landlocked province of Pakistani Punjab, fully dependent on India for its survival, was imagined as a leftover Pakistan.  Right from its existence Pakistan has been limping from one crisis to another, after the fall of Dhaka Pakistan literally was on its knees. It was only the erudite leadership of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that could sign a Shimla agreement with Indira Gandhi thus securing the release of its 90,000 soldiers held as prisoners of war by victorious India. Eventually Pakistan could weather-out that storm and in due course of time also emerged as a nuclear power. However the way Pakistan found it besieged in plethora of internal and external crisises after the watershed event of 9/11 and particularly after the occupation of Afghanistan by the America and its allied forces, leave aside the usual doomsayers even the staunch well-wishers of Pakistan began worrying whether Pakistan will be able to survive?        
 Pakistan is still not completely out of woods and is faced with some serious existential threats. However May 11, elections have once for all demonstrated that the country of 180 million people is truly a resilient nation. The well-wishers may be accused of exaggerating the factual situation. Yet see how Shekhar Gupta the chief editor of Indian Express reporting from Lahore describes the conduct of elections: “This election further underlines the fact that we need to revisit some of our old, ossified stereotypes and prejudices about our most important neighbour... A wonderfully decisive new election, with an unprecedentedly high turnout, despite terror attacks (real attacks, not just threats), a commitment to civilian rule that was never so apparent or deep-rooted, a much stronger judiciary, an election commission that any democracy can be proud of and, most importantly, a new appreciation for institutions of democracy, as well as respect for them”. Shekhar Gupta one of the best Indian journalist however is not free from narrow prejudices --- he for the reasons only best known to him all the time wears hyper-patriotism on his sleeves and usually never finds anything worthy of Pakistan--- in his ultimate wisdom Pakistan is a sworn enemy of India---is now compelled to accept that it’s now time to revisit “some of our old, ossified stereotypes and prejudices about our most important neighbour” speaks volumes about the defining nature of these elections. The always sceptical about Pakistan New York Times too has acknowledged this orderly transition; “At least Pakistan did manage to have an election in which about 60 percent of voters participated and has achieved a peaceful transition of power in a country where coups have predominated.  
The unprecedented voter turnout, despite the real incidents of bomb blasts, suicidal attacks and rocket fired at the polling stations, was only made possible by the courageous people of Pakistan.  Pakistan was being damned as a terrorist sanctuary and was literally banished as a pariah by the international community. After the successful conduct of the elections, from Barrack Obama to David Cameron to Manmohan Singh all have suddenly discovered the deep commitment of Pakistani populace with the ideals of democracy. Irrespective of this newfound international approval, the huge voter turnout and relatively fair conduct of these elections has dramatically enhanced the stock and profile of Pakistan. Before the elections all the surveys and media reports had predicted a spilt mandate, the results have proved all the forecasts of a hung assembly completely false. The charismatic Imran Khan undeniably energised the youth of Pakistan with a dream of Naya Pakistan, however ultimately it was Nawaz Sharif who only triumphed in the hustings. For the sake of political stability in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif’s party PMLN attaining a working majority is a good omen. Despite Imran Khan’s party failing to meet the high expectations, PTI has emerged as a viable third alternative to two traditional parties; PMLN and PPP. The poor show of PPP in the elections owing to the worst performance during its five year rule was more or less expected. Nevertheless its downfall in the long run may prove disastrous for the federal polity of Pakistan. Once again it has been proved that PNLN is only a Punjab based party, on the contrary PPP had strong presence in all the four provinces of Pakistan.         
 The successful conduct of the elections is just a good beginning, it doesn’t necessarily signal end of all the troubles Pakistan is faced with.  Nawaz Sharif seems to be rightly focused on rescuing the fast sinking economy and bring Pakistan out of the international isolation. Besides the ill-health of the economy the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s relations with India will fully test the skills of the newly elected Pakistani leadership. While Afghanistan will remain a real challenge, irrespective of the alacrity shown by Nawaz Sharif even before formally assuming the charge to improve the relations with New Delhi--- which some quarters have described as an undue haste---the Indo-Pak relations will be bogged down by acrimony and perennial distrust. Watch this space, India and Pakistan as usual will continue to occupy our attention in coming weeks, perhaps months and years.   
firdoussyed@yahoo.com

Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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