"No man undertakes a trade he has not learned, even the meanest; yet everyone thinks himself sufficiently qualified for the hardest of all trades that of government." Socrates Since Pakistan gained independence from the British Raj in 1947, successive civilian governments have experimented with new models of governance. In between, fatefully there have been military interventions that have not allowed democracy to take root and flourish in Pakistan. Another factor that has retarded progress in Pakistan is the attitude of the governments, both civilian and military, towards their predecessors. Often developmental projects initiated by previous regimes are criticised by the incumbent governments, and thus stopped midway, creating a situation that is not conducive to support growth of our economy. Injustice, instability and lawlessness are also some of the reasons that have retarded the countrys progress. Anyway, Islamabad presently is experimenting with a governance model that has been successfully worked in many democratic countries. But it seems that the dynamics of coalition government in Pakistan has not been very successful. The basic flaw in the present set-up is that the governments coalition partners have tried to solve economic problems through political manipulations. They have not learned the basics of an economic system, which demands that financial or monetary issues must always be dealt with or managed in a specific (economic) way and not through political considerations. For example, our politicians know that the Kalabagh Dam project was abandoned due to political manoeuvrings by various groups, despite the fact that it was and still is an absolute economic necessity for the survival of Pakistan. Similarly, the political leadership is well aware that the dams construction could have averted the galloping inflation and would have satisfied the vital requirements of energy and water. Since it has been stopped, the country is not only facing an acute shortage of electricity, but is also depriving its agricultural sector of the water that could have been easily stored in the dam. But the good news is that while the government is trying to pursue a policy of reconciliation and consensus, it has managed to successfully initiate work on Bhasha Dam. It will take 7 to 10 years before the fruits of constructing it can be enjoyed by the people of Pakistan - better late than never. Moreover, some political groups in the present democratic set-up have succeeded in creating an impression that either the people of Pakistan in general, or at least a vast majority of them, are anti-economy that is surely dangerous. Such groups are not prepared to pay their taxes, and any effort to levy or adjust the existing taxation system is vociferously opposed. That has made it compulsory for the federal government to provide subsidies in certain sectors, which will reduce the process of growth and development. Every country requires between seven to nine percent of economic growth to protect its self-respect and sovereignty. But if growth continues to hover around two to three percent for a considerable period of time, it leads the country to depend more on international financial institutions, like World Bank or IMF. In such a situation, the country is left with no option, except to agree to the harsh economic conditions imposed by these donor agencies, eventually affecting the social fabric of that nation. Thus, the coalition partners, in Pakistan, must realise that unless they are prepared to take certain economic decisions, which may seem to disrupt the lives of the masses for a short period, it will not be possible to emerge out of the present economic crisis. Our leaders must also realise that Pakistan is fighting war against terrorism, which is a costly affair. Thus, if there is no unity of purpose across the board, the country will continue to bleed economically. It must be carefully calculated as to what cost the state is prepared to pay, if it intends to stay afloat in today's turbulent economic indicators that have affected many countries across the globe. Meanwhile, the recent strife in the Arab world is a signal for countries, like Pakistan, whose already fragile economies continue to take body blows in the shape of increased bills for the import of oil, as several oil-exporting countries face social unrest and uncertainty that may raise oil prices in the world market. More than three years have past and the government is moving towards the next general elections. So, political posturing and rhetoric is natural, since every political party will try to propagate that it wants to reduce the economic burden on the common man. However, political sagacity demands that the leadership must avoid such fancy ideas that may sound very attractive, but in reality is a liability for our economy. Politicians must also remember that the 2010 floods played havoc with the economic indicators, which resulted in the capping of at least 300 developmental projects that could have alleviated the sufferings of the poor. Hence, they should not create conditions that lead to the destabilisation of established institutions, since instability will adversely affect the growth rate and shrink local and foreign investment. Keeping this in view, it is safe to say that the experiment of a coalition government has not been very successful. It has not helped the economy in any way. In fact, it has hindered the countrys development. While difference of opinion is the essence in any democratic set-up it should not be tolerated, if it tries to tear apart the entire system. Pakistan needs to revisit some of its priorities and more emphasis should be placed on issues like law and order, unemployment, and opening up of the markets that will create opportunities for investment with better facilities for those who want to invest here. This may seem to be a tall order, but there is definitely no other way out. The countrys salvation lies in an effort by all the political forces with a single purpose to pull it out of the present difficulties, including the menace of terrorism, corruption, bureaucratic wrangles and brinkmanship between political adversaries. As a last word, those who are talking about a revolution or inviting the generals to intervene must understand that Pakistan is united and will move forward. There is no place for divisive voices. But this can happen only if we learn from our past mistakes and improve on the experiments that have already been tried without much success. Otherwise, there will be no respite for the people or the nation in this merciless world. n The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: zarnatta@hotmail.com