In the first part, the country’s failing political system, the sluggish and flawed justice dispensation, the people’s lack of trust in them; near absence of law and order, and total breakdown of municipal functions were discussed.

It was proposed to divide the country into smaller manageable provinces/districts to ensure good governance, the creation of roving courts and issues like two-tier government (federal and local) were discussed. Now in this important and last part, some more issues like education and security will be considered.

We are well aware of the deteriorating state of our education system. There are many parallel systems in vogue. Even the English and Urdu medium streams have further subdivisions, and a large swath of society has only the option of Madrassas. The rich and the upper-middle class educate their children in international streams i.e. Cambridge and Oxford, appearing in O Level and A Level exams and take away many seats in engineering colleges, medical colleges, finance etc; and the poor and lower middle class remain at a disadvantage. In this way, very intelligent and deserving children are left behind in the race of life, and the country also lags behind in development due to loss of great volume of talent. Due to the lack of equal opportunities, the selection shrinks, resulting in mediocrity rampant in almost every institution and at every level. And, we keep wondering why we have stagnation in institutions, lagging behind on nearly every front.

The need to change the educational structure of the entire country has been identified, but how to adapt it to our national and local environment, while remaining relevant and attached with the global higher educational systems needs to be professionally evaluated by experts in this field. It may not be wise for a layman to comment on this, but one thing is quite clear, that this serious problem cannot be solved without the imposition of an education emergency. All tiers of society, including institutions and retired personnel will have to be integrated to bring about a meaningful change. The young population, if illiterate, unhealthy and without economic opportunities, can be a burden on the society and the country. And there are already enough signs for those who sense and gaze in that direction.

Regarding Pakistan’s security apparatus, the first thing to understand is that ‘national security’ is not only a military term or a phrase related to public law and order. National security depends on many factors such as economy, the functioning of the systems, provision of justice, food autarky, water sufficiency and protection of borders and the people, etc. But here we will focus on the security forces of Pakistan guarding the country’s borders against the enemies and fighting the armed groups spreading internal disturbances. There are many misunderstandings (facts, fictions and perceptions) in circulation about the forces, especially the army. They are often not openly discussed. It would be in the national interest to speak out and write about them, remaining conscious that these are sensitive issues and the enemies should not be given any opportunity to spread any negative propaganda against our best institutions. Armed Forces should also open up to whatever extent possible and try to remove general apprehensions.

Our beloved country faced severe security challenges from the very beginning (India, Kashmir, river water, etc.). The details are well understood by the readers. Other than that, we probably had no choice but to join other military blocs to strengthen our forces for our own protection. We became members of SEATO, CENTO, etc., and hence our inclination towards the US and the West. The Armed Forces of Pakistan emerged as a strong institution. And unfortunately, in collaboration with the bureaucracy, they considered it necessary to intervene in politics under the misplaced principle of necessity, and some of the politicians themselves had included a uniformed general in the cabinet. Judiciary, at times condoned such interventions. It was our greatest misfortune. Since then, the military’s involvement in politics has never ended, changed only with varying intensity and depth. Thus, Pakistan’s problems have always been viewed from a security perspective and basic issues such as education, health and justice got perpetually relegated. It slowly created bitterness between the military and the genuine politicians. A new nursery of politicians took advantage of the opportunity to climb to apex positions with the help of the army and thus the horrific stories of ineptness and corruption.

During this period, there have been some glimmers of development, but we drifted away from true sustainable democracy, and it is now clear that democratic values do not exist in political parties or the political system. The sham democracy and vested interests have engulfed the entire polity, giving nothing but false promises to the poor people. But now some young politicians are emerging as a pleasant breeze. Also, there are undercurrents in the military of having to stay away from politics to achieve true democracy.

But to achieve this goal, political, judicial, social and military leadership will have to join their heads and take some extraordinary steps and devise systems in which new young and capable people, free from corruption, have the opportunity to take over the reins of the country. How will this happen? Is it impossible? Nothing is impossible in human thoughts and actions.

Whenever different people talk about such commissions, it seems that they want to take promises and undertakings from others by pretending to be self-righteous and flawless. In fact, there is not a single important entity that can be absolved of the wrongdoings perpetrated against our people and the systems.

Just admit the general guilt and take the following steps:

The Army should admit its past ingressions and undertake that in the future, other than their main security tasks they would help and assist the country, the people and the government, limited to whatever advice and help is sought within the bounds of the law and constitution. It should remove the impression of violating the constitution and laws by its actions and behaviour. Take another at the military system and focus on making it economical, participatory and yet efficient. We must concentrate on the nature and character of future wars; a smart standing army and a larger reserve force may be an answer.

The entire justice system should be restructured (investigation, prosecution and court procedures) to provide prompt and just verdicts. Lateral entries in higher judiciary may be discouraged. The steering committee headed by the Chief Justice, which is probably already working on this, should make its recommendations soon. Chairmen NAB and EC should be selected by SJC and not by political parties.

All political parties should say goodbye to dynasties and self-styled royal families imposed on them. The younger leaders should come forward and pledge that they will never sit in the laps of dictators, and keep the old corrupt leaders away from their ranks. They must pledge to put the interests of the nation, the country and welfare of the people first.

The judiciary and the armed forces should be respected but there should be no room for appeasement by the executive authorities. Politicians and the government should never ask them to do anything illegal nor allow them to do so. This would only work if true democratic values are upheld within their parties and in the Parliament.

The politicisation of bureaucracy and police can only be stopped by providing these two great and important institutions with constitutional protection and independence in their affairs. Only the appointment of the top bureaucrat and top police officer should be the prerogative of the Executive Head along with periodic appraisal of their performance. Beyond that, there should be no interference in promotions, postings etc, as is the case of the Armed Forces.

The media should realise its power and responsibility and must be held responsible through a neutral supra body appointed by the SC.

Now this would all be wishful thinking if we can’t collectively think of ways and means to bring about all the suggested changes. Rather, first a discussion must ensue to modify or challenge the changes suggested in the two papers. After the majority’s view is consolidated (consensus being impossible) then we can evolve the modalities. There are certain ideas worth considering, like the expansion of the National Security Committee (NSC) where the judiciary, bureaucracy (including the top police official) and media representatives should be included in the discussion. Or a referendum by the incumbent political leadership with the approval of SC. Maybe an open discussion for emergence of a new political setup that gets voted in for this very objective etc.

All these options should be discussed threadbare at the platform of the newly-composed National Security Committee and the Chief Justice of Pakistan should take the oath from all concerned for the New Charter.

An interim government led by the non-politicised members of the higher judiciary (agreed by stakeholders), including retired bureaucrats, honest generals and other technocrats should be formed with the commitment of instituting the new system. The political parties should first prove themselves at local tiers and then come forward with their new workable manifestos. Clean personalities, beyond any blemish should be allowed to contest the elections (A strong, neutral EC is enough to ensure that) after a certain stabilising period. The resultant legislative assembly should draft a new constitution in three to six months or bring changes to the constitution that are free of existing flaws, institute governance that ensures public welfare, by providing education, justice, health and equal economic opportunities.

Now all this is easy to say and difficult to do, but in the face of the existential threat that we face because of the obsolescence of this outdated system and its various sub systems, we need to act collectively and swiftly. Many questions have been left unanswered, as the purpose is to initiate a discussion and then a process. However, if even one of the four major stakeholders (political parties, judiciary, armed forces, media) refuse to reform themselves, none of the above will be possible. And Allah forbid, chaos and anarchy may reign supreme.