When the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government came into power, Pakistan was surrounded with extraordinary challenges. Increasing violence, incidents of target killings, bomb blasts and continuous protests had badly crippled the country as far as the economy was concerned. Failed policies and lack of interest of the previous government had pushed the country to a point that it solely had to survive on imports, besides limiting the exports and increasing the dependence on foreign loans and remittances. Lack of timely action at that particular time gave a chance to our enemies to use our land for their benefits, leaving us with the menace of terrorism.

However, despite such grave challenges, the PML-N government, for the last three years, has been making bold decisions to address the socio-economic issues faced by the country. Sincere efforts in the last three years can be observed from the fact that the Pakistan of today is regarded as a fast growing economy with a potential to leave behind its regional competitors in years to come. The signing of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and various other agreements will not only attract more foreign direct investment into the country, but will also play a significant role in addressing basic issues pertaining to load shedding and poverty, besides creating employment opportunities in the Pakistani market.

Before indulging in unnecessary bashing of the government, everyone should take into account that Pakistan is in a state of war. Before comparing Pakistan to any other nation, we must understand that it only takes one suicide blast to tarnish a country’s image, while Pakistan has been suffering from this nuisance for the last 10 years. The recent Quetta blast proves that we up against heartless and soulless cowards.

The government assured us that the National Action Plan, which enjoys unprecedented levels of support and cooperation across the country’s political and military spectrum, would continue in letter and spirit and any negligence in this regard would not be tolerated. Effective implementation of the plan and concerted efforts by all the segments of society are perhaps the only ways left to end terrorism, which is a constant hurdle in the way of progress.

The blast in Quetta that killed more than 70 people must be an eye opener for every Pakistani, including the government and opposition, and mere condemnations and condolences over the incidents are not enough. Following the horrific incident, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired back-to-back high level meetings on security, which were attended by the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, federal ministers and top security officials at the PM’s House. The meetings confirmed the formation of a monitoring committee that would comprise representatives of departments and agencies concerned and also of federal and provincial governments to mitigate the threat of security. They made a resolve that the restoration of complete peace and tranquillity shall remain a top priority of the government and all the state institutions. It was stressed that intelligence agencies perform a vital role in guaranteeing national security and safeguarding the national interest for which they will be provided with all the necessary resources and support. The PM also took a strategic view of the regional and internal security situation and in that context also focused on the latest trends of activities of hostile intelligence agencies to destabilise Pakistan.

Apart from the government, each and every citizen must also play a constructive role and help the government identify and mitigate threats imposed by terrorism. It’s about time for the learned of the society to educate the illiterate regarding true teachings of Islam, which in my opinion is the most modern of all religions and clearly stresses on the importance of knowledge, tolerance, peace and freedom from one’s inner shackles. We cannot let people spread their brand of Islam, one that asks people to raise guns. I believe that the sorry state of affairs of this country won’t change until a general consensus is made on the fact that religion is kept out of politics. I commend Imran Khan for not indulging in political point scoring over the Quetta attack and would appreciate if the political leaders, instead of criticising the government, take into account the gravity of the situation and understand that we are fighting an enemy that we cannot see. In order to get rid of increasing violence, menace of extremism, prevailing confusion, intolerance and hatred, it is of utmost importance that the innocent youth of the country is not manipulated.