Dire straits By Masood Sharif Khan Khattak DATED Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Having started a few years ago the ring of the alarm bells for Pakistan has been getting louder by the day but it does not seem to have reached a pitch that is loud enough to penetrate the well-padded eardrums of the Pakistani nation. The country stands devastated and is being ruthlessly ravaged. Yet, complacency has remained the order of the day through all these years. The Pakistani nation lives on in a state of denial regarding the fatal dangers the country faces.
The rocky mountains of Balochistan, the beautiful mountains and valleys of NWFP, Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas, the serene land of Sindh and of course the lovely plains of Punjab; all look back at the Pakistani nation pleadingly so that this great nation can somehow begin to feel the pain that is felt on every square inch of the motherland that we Pakistanis love so dearly but are so indifferent towards.
What is Pakistan waiting for? Bravado statements and illogical political rhetoric will not help. The evitable harm to Pakistan will soon become inevitable if the indifference to the motherland's plight continues unabated. With dangers looking straight into Pakistan's eyes and the motherland's lap soaked in the blood of its own sons and daughters the time to act is running out very fast.
For Pakistan, the troubles are already beyond the high water mark and many crucial dykes have already been shattered. It is long past the hour when Pakistan should have taken stock of its overall situation and realised that it exists in the world's most volatile regions and can no longer survive living the life of a nation that can disregard its immediate neighbourhood, the regional situation and how this region figures on the canvas of the world's only superpower and its allies. There is nothing that stops Pakistan from doing the right things in the eyes of its own people and thus become a self-respecting, dignified and sovereign nation. A nation that does not take pride in itself and does not value its existence has to, without a doubt, slip into the annals of history with no one shedding tears over its demise.
Pakistan, being in the cross hairs, needs to look at things straight in the eye in order to avoid the controversial international war on terror spilling on to Pakistani soil in the shape of substantially intensified drone attacks as well as ground incursions by US/NATO troops. If these eventualities are to be averted Pakistan will have to firmly assert itself and re-establish its sovereignty and writ over every square inch of its territory or else it will plunge into the kind of situation that has existed in Afghanistan over the last three decades.
Why should Pakistan be asking the world for money to fight any war if it truly considers it to be its own war? Why on earth should any other nation or organisation, whether we call them Friends of Pakistan, the IMF, the World Bank, the Shanghai Group or anything else, be concerned about keeping the Pakistani nation afloat. They will always give us just enough to have a temporary sigh of relief so that we are back at their doors for more alms on unacceptable conditions. We, the Pakistani nation, should now formulate a 'do-it-ourselves' resolve. The rest will follow automatically and in a dignified manner.
Pakistan now needs to save its national fabric before it is torn to shreds by the indigenous disruptive hands strengthened from abroad by powers that have never reconciled to the fact that Pakistan, had it possessed a good and stable economy, has all the other ingredients of a potent regional power. Pakistan has to start addressing and solving all its internal problems instantly if its national fabric is to remain intact. Pakistan possesses the wherewithal to do so. Pakistan has to face its challenges itself. The present always writes the future history of a nation. All of it is still in the hands of the Pakistani nation to rectify albeit not for very long.
The writer is a former director-general of the Intelligence Bureau and former vice-president of the PPP Parliamentarians. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org