On May 19, the National Security Special Committee (NSSC) of the Pakistan National Forum organised a meeting to discuss the grave internal and external challenges facing the country. A large number of distinguished guest comprising members of the civil society, intellectuals, vice chancellors, politicians, lawyers, and senior bureaucrats and technocrats, besides financial and national security experts attended it. Some of the issues that were highlighted in the meeting are:

Internal Challenges:

i    Pakistan is dealing with a covert war due to the insurgency in Balochistan and militancy emanating from FATA, which is aided and abetted by a Mossad-CIA-RAW-KHAD nexus based in Afghanistan. This war is beyond the capacity of the law enforcement agencies. Only the military can safeguard national security against armed intrusions.

i    Pakistan is facing the most dire economic crisis in its history, which may lead to a financial collapse. Especially due to the ongoing turmoil in the country’s financial hub, Karachi.

i    Political turmoil and corruption are undermining the public’s faith in the future of the state.

i    Lack of governance and the standoff between various organs of the state have resulted in public unrest and damaging Pakistan’s image.

i    Religious fanaticism, sectarian and ethnic divide and provincialism are adding fuel to the fire. Hence, weakening the national integration of Pakistan.

i    The civil servants are being deprived of their constitutional rights. They have become subservient to their political masters, resulting in maladministration. Favouritism, nepotism and cronyism have replaced eligibility and merit.

i    Increasing population has resulted in widespread poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, leading to the radicalisation of society.

i    The law enforcement agencies are corrupt. Meanwhile, the flouting and ridiculing of the Supreme Court’s verdicts is giving rise to lawlessness and chaos.

External Challenges:

i    The USA is facilitating India to play a major role in Afghanistan, while denying it to Pakistan particularly to contain China. The strategic partnership recently concluded between Afghanistan and the US and Afghanistan and India reveals their intention of domination over the South Asian region. Hence, peace and stability in Afghanistan may remain a distant dream that, in turn, could destabilise the region, especially Pakistan.

i    Pakistan’s nuclear weapons have long been a sore point for the USA, Israel and India. Since our military is responsible for its security, it is constantly targeted for having links with militant groups and for not doing enough in the war on terror. The bogey of religious extremists taking over the nuclear assets is being played up by the US/West as an excuse to capture or neutralise them.

i    Kashmir is Pakistan’s jugular vein; more so, because India is trying to turn it into a desert by stealing/blocking its share of the waters. Also, the Kashmir dispute is being put on the backburner, while matters like trade and CBMS are brought to the fore.

It is unfortunate that the political leadership has failed to recognise the threats to Pakistan’s existence. It lacks the capacity to counter them. Besides this, the ruling elite’s quest for power and wealth only seems to be its focus of interest. Thus, the onus to find solutions for the existing problems lies with those whose primary task is to ensure the security and integrity of the state.

The question, however, remains: after refusing to learn any lessons from our follies of the past 64 years, does the political leadership intend to replay the same old game of power politics? Nevertheless, to get the country out of the present mess, we certainly need to follow the teachings of Islam and the saying of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

n    The writer is President of the Pakistan National Forum.

    Email: ikramullahkhan1@yahoo.com