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The new year is here, and old clichés

The new year is here, but in Pakistan, we’re already preparing for the recurrence of old issues over a couple of months. This was highlighted by the army chief’s announcement on Sunday, and he reminded us about the task more that the country was in.

It’s like we’ve been in this exact nazuk for a long time.In both Urdu and English, Pakistan was always visible in both directions at a crossroads. This is a manageable aspect. The big question is: why are we in this situation? Is traffic awful? Is the car stuck? We may not be able to navigate the curve.

On this Day of Judgement, it appears only higher powers have the solution for the task issue. For those stuck here, it is only possible to suggest the need to rethink our thinking.

Take two of the most significant issues — a statement that understates the severity of the crisis, which the army chief likely was thinking of when talking about those nazuk times that included terrorism and the economy.

The higher forces can provide the solution to our problem.

In both cases, the public debate is the laziest and least well-informed.

Terrorism — post-2008 We haven’t been able to discuss the issue in depth. The military-led efforts proved successful — that is the only thing we know. The reasons and how they succeeded and what didn’t work are frequently asked questions and rarely addressed.

In addition to the force, the hopes proclaimed in the National Action Plan were a single page that did not turn into anything else. Finding out what information was needed to transform the one-page document into elaborate plans was never a priority.

Then we came to the year last, and we abruptly began discussions in conjunction with TTP. They have now ended. However, no one knows the source of the idea behind the talks we had with TTP (except according to what “sources” of the knowledgeable claim).

Therefore, all that is left to be determined is whether or not the TTP or Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed invented it, as well as why.

Furthermore, it isn’t easy to find information about the motives for the revival.Clarifying the situation requires more than just harping on the region in Afghanistan that the TTP has found to thrive and utilise as a base to target Pakistan. What do the fences we constructed at great expense do if all the militants required was the freedom to move around in Afghanistan? 

Addressing these questions before forming a consensus for the activities is essential. These answers aid us in an overall plan of action rather than a patchwork of initiatives.

Economics is the second and potentially significant issue causing our perpetual crossing of the road. In contrast to militancy, it is not about the lack of information but deliberate ignorance.

The boom-and-bust cycles are the issue, as imports drive growth. This results in the IMF and its programs that result in a crash. The solution lies in long-term changes that will allow for more sustainable growth.

This means reducing consumption and the real estate market in our country and encouraging trade, in addition to other things. Every economist has said this, even the half dozen who make talks at the most critical spot of them all.

 

So, we claim that we don’t know the solutions. (As an aside, it’s fantastic that we believe we know the answer to the issue of militancy, which is more challenging to solve, but not the economy, which is where the solutions may be more straightforward.)

Then we spent the next four years arguing that PTI’s incompetence (and the fact that Asad Umar was naive about how to do his job. And the fact that Hafeez Sheik was the IMF’s man), and then we argued that Miftah Ismail was unable to handle the details.
Now that we’ve got no miracle worker to take over. (Ishaq Dar’s experience has failed) to guarantee a more stable exchange rate between the dollar and the rupee, we believe that the issues require consensus, a chart of the economy, and a united government to solve the issue. This idea that there is a consensus as complex as our obsession with our incompetence was the dominant theme in Rawalpindi. Our media from 2018 until October 2022 — disproving our erroneous notions of focusing on people instead of the policies.

The notion of a charter for economy or consensus has become so widely accepted there is no need to inquire about what we require to reach a consensus and the different factions currently ruling on it. Do both the PML-N and the PPP agree on privatizing state-owned companies like Steel Mills and PIA? Steel Mills and PIA? What is the consensus on energy-related issues? For instance, how would this happen if the solution is to transfer the DISCOs over to provinces? How will political parties come up with the courage to tax real estate in the presence of their sugar daddies and the defense housing societies?

All tough questions. This is perhaps why it’s easier to sing about charters of economics and unity government. This is a lot like those neocon plans to create Iraq in 2002. The idea seemed appealing to many, but the reality was quite different.

In fact, the ability to transcend the nazuk more is a matter of sincerity, reflection, and more sanity, and deft use of clichés. However, somehow, this is what we can accumulate. The abrupt shift to critical decision-making remains challenging as we walk around the intersection. The beginning of the new year doesn’t seem very promising.

 

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