Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mian Nawaz Sharif’s Date With Destiny by Masood Sharif Khan Khattak

The next few weeks, months and indeed the next five years will be extremely important for Pakistan, its people, the incoming Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his PML(N). Mian Nawaz Sharif is going to be the ‘man on the spot’ of the foreseeable future. Whatever he does will either make or destroy Pakistan’s future. Having been a Prime Minister twice the people of Pakistan expect him to do well. Mian Nawaz Sharif has set up a date with his destiny as well as that of Pakistan. Absolute success is his only option as Pakistan now has a zero capacity for sustaining another failed government. History too will be unforgiving. This is no easy situation for Mian Nawaz Sharif and, consequently, for Pakistan. Therefore, it becomes incumbent upon all political parties, irrespective of their political differences with Mian Nawaz Sharif or the PML(N) to cooperate with the incoming government in all its positive actions. Each and every political party and political leader owes this cooperation to none other than Pakistan itself. Mian Nawaz Sharif must know that every Pakistani has his, or her, eyes on the team that he builds around himself. It is granted that people who have stuck to their guns with Mian Nawaz Sharif through thick and thin would probably be upper most in his mind for various key appointments and we are likely to see a lot of that happening in the initial days. But what Mian Nawaz Sharif must do, in his and in Pakistan’s interest, is that concrete targets for the first three months must be set for the people who are going to walk into the corridors of power with Mian Nawaz Sharif in the next couple of weeks. The bar should be raised for those who achieve their initial targets and those who fail to achieve reasonable successes must be shown the door and be replaced. Mian Nawaz Sharif will have no room to accommodate non achievers in significant positions without paying a heavy price for doing so. Solving of the deadly menace of power outages (load shedding) must be amongst Mian Nawaz Sharif’s highest priorities. Some of the ways to do that will include

 (1) conversion of the thermal power stations to become coal driven 

 (2) developing and acquiring nuclear power generating capacity 

 (3) allowing more than one privatized power generating unit at each local level e.g a Tehsil or a District to avoid monopoly and to generate competition and better services to the locals 

 (4) to let the private sector explore and undertake any power generation project on a commercial basis as long as marketing and sale of their power remains their own business (no sovereign guarantees) and the people are allowed free access to any power provider (including WAPDA) 

 (5) allowing of duty free import of hybrid cars/jeeps of up to 4000 cc for a period of three years after which all CNG stations must be closed down and the gas thus saved utilized for industrial purposes and for power generating units in the public as well as private sectors 

 (6) competitive private power generating units must be liberally encouraged without assigning any concessions like guarantees etc. 

The energy crisis has acquired critical dimensions and unconventional out-of-the-book solutions will be needed. Mian Nawaz Sharif must expound the political will to make Pakistan a country that is seen as an extremely responsible State which desires peace within, with the Region and the world at large. A very powerful personality with a rational voice in the Foreign Office of Pakistan shall be required to achieve this image of Pakistan. That voice in the foreign office must also be able to convince the world that Pakistan’s effort to become a stable and economically sound country in the region must not be hindered. A most dynamic Foreign office team must thus be amongst Mian Nawaz Sharif’s top priorities. Improving and maintaining law and order in Pakistan with special emphasis on the crucial areas of distress in this sector of governance will be, if not more, just as important as the provision of energy. Success in these two sectors will bring about a turnaround in the economic sector as well as the general health of Pakistan as a nation that can then lead its daily life in a constructive and civil manner. Foreign investment will be an automatic corollary. Peace in Karachi is the key to Pakistan’s revival in most sectors of national life including its economy. A Prime Minister needs to only make a team of efficient people to look after the law and order sector of governance and accord his political will to improve the situation and, thereafter, it is that team that functions and produces the requisite results. This is what the people of Pakistan expect from Mian Nawaz Sharif and shall be watching closely. Ever since Mian Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan in late 2007 he has been extremely balanced in his approach towards relationship with the country’s military establishment. The Army, under General Ashfaque Pervez Kayani, has also moved a long way towards creating civil military harmony despite provocations of the highest order. Mian Nawaz Sharif must now bring the civil military relations to a new and raised platform of professionalism in the best of national interests. This will augur well for a quicker all round recovery. Mian Nawaz Sharif will be well advised to visit the Army units in the company of the Army Chief in far flung areas and show that he is one of them by resorting to casual contacts with the soldiers and men bearing hardships for the county. This will, for sure, help Mian Nawaz Sharif develop a very healthy civil-military relationship. Pakistan will be a huge beneficiary of this cordial relationship. The holding of meetings of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) as a routine will further boost civil-military understanding of national matters. 

The promotion of national harmony will also have to be one of Mian Nawaz Sharif’s top most concurrent priorities. He will have to undertake more visits to KPK where his political adversaries have the reins of the Provincial government and magnanimously announce mega development projects for that Province. I had once written a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari and had held a Press Conference indicating a road map for the progress of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. The link to that letter is The Federal Government of Mian Nawaz Sharif will do well if it implements those projects in this paper which can only be implemented with the support and approval of the Federal Government. In the promotion of national harmony Mian Nawaz Sharif must interact with the PPP government in Sindh just like he would have if it had been a PML-N government and make Pakistan look as if Pakistan is ONE united country on its way towards progress and prosperity. He must undertake visits to the interior of KPK, Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir without let or fear. If the security forces of Pakistan cannot provide security to its own Prime Minister how will they ever protect Pakistan? The fear factor created by aides will have to be overcome by Mian Nawaz Sharif in order to win the hearts and minds of all Pakistanis. In short the promotion of national harmony must figure way up in the priorities that Mian Nawaz Sharif will lay out for himself. Pakistan can no longer be pulled in different directions and still hope to prosper and progress as a happy nation. Fiefdoms will have to go and all opposition parties governing provinces, or not, will have to show greater maturity till it is election time again. Magnanimity always emanates from the more powerful. Mian Nawaz Sharif has a very strong mandate and thus the most powerful position in the country. 

He will have to be magnanimous. Accommodative politics will stand Mian Nawaz Sharif in good stead. He must meet all political party heads, including those of small and regional parties, on a regular basis. Leaders of bigger parties will have to be accorded protocol worthy of them. Mian Nawaz Sharif must not always expect others to call upon him but instead ask for appointments to call upon other party heads for informal discussion on national matters. The ball is fairly and squarely in Mian Nawaz Sharif’s court and he must know that from now onwards every word he utters and every gesture he makes are watched by 180 million expectant eyes that are now very weary and are full of pain and have no hope left in them. Can Mian Nawaz Sharif give those eyes hope and take their pain away? Everything is at stake for Pakistan and for Mian Nawaz Sharif. He can become the Mahathir of Pakistan or be just one more forgotten ‘also ran’ case. REFERENCE: Mian Nawaz Sharif’s Date With Destiny June 2nd, 2013 by Masood Sharif Khattak

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