The only way forward


As the dust of political uncertainty seems to have somehow settled following former prime minister Imran Khan’s announcement at the culmination of his party’s protest march that he has arrived at a point where it is more appropriate to quit the existing system, the only way forward for the political leadership is to take cognizance of the growing economic hardships and social disparities, which have been spurring disbelief among the people over the existing system of governance in the country.
The past two years, no doubt, were full of challenges for the country’s leadership on a host of fronts ranging from political instability to economic upheavals to escalation in military tensions and a hot war going on Ukraine. Above all, the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered unprecedented restrictions on movement, also hastened to erode the people’s confidence in the ability of the country’s political leadership to stem the social and economic downturn as their hardships kept on growing.
The issue of climate change has also become acuter than it was thought before as a record number of natural disasters, including a massive monsoon deluge, struck the country and exposed its vulnerabilities to climactic changes. The citizens and businesses are looking towards their governments to help them sail through complex problems.
Although the challenges facing the Shehbaz Sharif government, as those of the past governments, are universal in nature and also inherited as far Pakistan is concerned, how the incumbent dispensation goes about tackling them is a million dollar question, which, if addressed with policy goals in the right perspective, is likely to restore public confidence and usher in the path to progress and prosperity. Because the well-being of the society as a whole is at stake, it is time for the country’s leadership to find potential solutions to political issues.
Rising levels of social and economic inequalities in the country and across the world have in fact contributed to the severity of the Covid-19 crisis and created significant polarization and geo-political unrest.
To move into a future that is more sustainable and secure, the decision-makers of the country must address some core challenges with a focus on reducing inequality and promoting shared prosperity. Although each challenge is discrete, together they have significant interdependence, so a failure to address one is likely to have an adverse effect on others. This is why an executive-level, cross-ministerial, cross-agency plan that is all inclusive will be critical to success.
Addressing unemployment and economic slowdown will rely in part on adult re-skilling programs in addition to transforming traditional education programs to lead the country to brighter future.
Political observers and independent reports of different organization speculate that unemployment and desperation among citizens have played a role in intensifying criminal activities in the country. The government has a number of challenges but all of them can be addressed through bold actions and public support. Political stability can prove pivotal for overcoming the short term problems.