Pakistan: A Polycrises State

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Abdul Samad Khan

The modern-day western form of state is a descendant of the treaty of Westphalia, which ended the thirty years’ war to ensure the territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and equality of a state among other states. Apparently, the state is supposed to play a parental role internally and defend against external invasions. From the Greek city-state expounded by Plato and Aristotle to the medieval western state of Machiavelli, among others, the western state was literally meant to be driven towards a responsible entity.
The modern western state is replicating this very picture. It would be odd not to mention the glamorous portrait of the modern welfare state established for the first time by history’s greatest statesman-the Holy Prophet(PBUH). The Madina state is a wonderful example of a welfare state wherein all the responsibilities, both in theory and practice, were carried out properly. A state is a welfare in the sense that it works, decides, formulates policies and implements them in the best favour of its inhabitants. While putting it simpler, a state is a welfare state only if it considers the interests of its citizens and is totally people-oriented.
While having this very essence of an independent and welfare state in mind, the Muslims as well as other sufferers of the British-cum- Hindu Raj launched a long-standing series of efforts even at the cost of their blood drops in order to get an independent state. They desired a separate homeland where they could rule as per their will-an inclusive politico-economic and social regime. The establishment of Pakistan as a result of the partition of In do-Pak Sub-continent provided the opportunity to take up the rule of a desired welfare state-a responsible state.
This is an undeniable fact that there were some efforts seen in the field during the early days in order to strengthen the feet of the newly established state. However, it must be mentioned here that this was the stage where we put ourselves in the wrong direction. The nascent state had made a long list of state priorities in hurry. Though it is a fact that our traditional or tangible security needed much attention as a result of the prevailing disturbed Eastern and Western borders, Pakistan must have prioritized the other sectors too in the same way. This was the time when Pakistan embarked on a long journey towards immature politico-democratic culture, crippling economic movement, and poor social progress( education, health, sanitation and poverty) among others. Its judicial system slipped into the hands of manipulators.
Modern-day Pakistan is a vivid continuation of its struggling past. It still needs to leave no stone unturned to have all its issues addressed. Whenever one sits down to zoom in on today’s Pakistan through the spectacle of a welfare state, one can easily see how many problems, barring it from transforming into a welfare state, Pakistan is currently undergoing.
The foremost issue is to ensure one of the fundamental rights-the right to life. The country has yet to ensure the right to security. Installing a durable peace via terminating terrorism has been a dilemma for the past couple of decades. Pakistan has gone through the most disturbed two decades since the inception of WoT. The menace of terrorism is resurging everywhere, especially in KPK. The recent increasing number of terrorist activities, especially the recent Peshawar Blast, has made it clear that terrorism is returning to its full sway.
Ironically, a lot of dramatic episodes of condemnation and heartfelt condolences following such heinous events are a matter of routine. But who is to blame for such mounting insecurity in people’s lives? Again, this is the responsibility of the state to secure its inhabitants. Pakistan must awaken from this dormant position and must take some serious measures to set the menace aside once and for all. Here, it must be mentioned that though it is an agreed-upon factor that terrorism is a common problem to the whole nation, the violent and frequent terrorist activities in KPK, including the erstwhile FATA, have raised questions on the state’s policies against terrorism.
Such a concern of a marginalized, targeted and prejudiced section of society harbingers the upcoming storm, which might disrupt the fabric of federation and national integrity. Therefore, it must be taken seriously and Pakistan must adopt a holistic approach against terrorism, thereby, bringing all the grieved dissidents into the sphere of the real federation and national unity.
Likewise, Pakistan is also struggling with food availability. The mounting rise in prices of daily commodities ranging from Ghee to onions has affected all up to the lower layer of the whole middle class. Hundreds of thousands can hardly have twice a meal a day. Moreover, the shortage dilemma of different daily commodities caused by hoarding and lack of proper investigation by the local administration adds to the price hike. Even people can be seen pushing others behind and moving ahead to have a bag of flour. One can’t even imagine how difficult it would be for the aged section of society. Can it be celebrated when women( even the aged ones) stand in line in a huge crowd in order to get the flour bag at a subsidized price? Who is to blame for the deaths over getting a discounted flour bag?
Similarly, it is not an undeniable fact that not even a single of all the representatives of state has ever experienced standing in line to have their vehicles fueled. The persistent rise in petroleum and deiseal prices as well as their artificial shortage have almost suffocated one’s patience. The state’s responsibility to ensure the full-fledged availability of filling stations is yet to be fulfilled.
Similarly, the prevailing political instability is another addition to the long list of crises. Especially the political circus which has been in function since the beginning of the last year has disturbed the whole country. The menace of revenge politics is still going on. The conduct of general elections in the two provinces and by-elections in eight NA constituencies is yet another major issue.
The economic meltdown is known to everyone. The crisis-hit Pakistan’s economy is struggling with a number of issues like mounting trade and fiscal deficits, currency devaluation, foreign and circular debts and poor revenue collection among others. The most deleterious problem is the faster depleting foreign exchange reserves which have dropped to nearly $3bn.
In a nutshell, today’s Pakistan is largely being questioned as a responsible state since it has yet to ensure peace and order in the country amidst the growing terrorist activities. People are still looking towards the state to come forward and make sure that its inhabitants have accessible basic commodities of life like flour, fuel and even a source of earning. In fact, the state is required to provide socio-economic security to all.