Survival of the fittestAugust 27, 2008
(Written by Afaq)
Have you ever studied Darwin’s “theory of Evolution”? For me, to some extent, it’s equally applicable to the international relations and all the conflicts. ‘Natural selection’ and ‘Survival of the fittest’, the leading axioms of it, also are accepted as a yardstick in the challenging game show among the nations, on every ground-Political or Economic. One must need to be smart enough and competent to survive in the second to second changing environment, knowing the art of making analysis of things happening on stage and behind the scene. One must be too quick in making right decisions at right time, and must be too smart to undo the mistakes if ever being made. The real test of nations (and leadership) comes, not when everything is going fine and smooth, but when things are deviating from normal course, and when perceptions are ruling over the facts.
We have faced well such challenging times, from the day one of the creation of Pakistan, which took a decisive turn regarding the aftershocks of Afghan-Soviet war. While, the conspiracy behind the crashed plane of General Zia-ul-Haq was still unfolded, we found USA saying ‘Good Bye’, and we are forced not only to feed the Afghan refugees, but also have to stand helplessly among the militant organizations, being covered under the label of Jihad. That was not the end. More difficult challenges were yet ahead. Nuclear tests, Kargil war, 12th Oct. 1999 plane hijacking, 9/11 aftermath, Daniel Pearl assassination, nuclear proliferation, 8th Oct. 2005 Earthquake, Balochistan insurgency, tribal areas mutiny, suicide bombers, extremism and non-stop threat of inflation……. all that are just few of the tags of the test for leadership along walking upon razor edge of making balance in relations with India, Afghanistan, United States and China.
After holding the most difficult offices for 9 years, finally General Pervez Musharraf has resigned. He is no more on board, to be used as a punch bag by media and political parties. Post-Musharraf era is to face harsh realities, rather allowing politicians and media to fabricate the facts. The nation already has suffered much of nerve-breaking distress. Now, we have no more prospects to waste in running along the vicious square of useless exercises on every front. It’s not the time to play politics, but to keep the national interests first.
We need to analyze the situation and to deal with the issues on emergency basis. Let’s have a quick look upon the challenges ahead;
1-Economic Front: From the state of complete default at late 90’s, Pakistan revived well its economy and even declared as the one of the fastest growing economies, with foreign reserves reached to 17 billion dollars from hardly 700 million dollars at 12th Oct. 1999, and growth rate reached to 7% for the first in our history. Over the years, our economy managed well the exchange rate of dollar to get locked between Rs. 60 and 61. In January 2008 issue, an international magazine ‘Economist’, has complimented the strong foundations of our economy by saying Pakistan as a safe haven for investment.
Regrettably, the situation has been reversed by 180 degrees after the revitalization of democracy in Pakistan. Now our foreign reserves are declined to hardly 9 billion dollars, and exchange rate of dollar up to Rs.77. Now, Pakistan looks no more a safe haven for investors. Foreign as well as local investors are packing to run away. Business community is waiting desperately for someone representing government to have sitting with them, and work out the reasons behind the economic collapse down, and the way outs of it.
The foremost and biggest challenge to Pakistan is to recover our economic indices, and to attract the investment back to Pakistan. Otherwise, the inflation and devaluation of currency would lead us to the end of everything……. everything, which one can imagine!
2-Writ of the state: Would you ever allow any stranger or enemy to jump down at your home and start killing your loving ones. If No, then why do we remain silent of those enemies of our loving homeland, who are openly challenging the writ of the state. We have to open our eyes regarding increasing threat of terrorism and extremism all around. We must bring them to an end. First, make a distinction. Terrorism is a global phenomenon of involvement of militancy, while extremism is linked with obscurantist views and indoctrinated mind set. Both need different strategies to deal with. A militant, being standing against the state must brought to justice by force. On the other hand, an extremist needs a different plan to subjugate. A wrong idea must be conquered by the true one. An old thought must be defeated by the newer one. A rigid ideology must be washed out by the flexible one. We must not forgive the anti-state elements, just because they are hiding themselves in the label of Islam. Killing the innocent people, blasting the girl schools, indoctrination of students of madrassas for suicide attacks, slaughtering our soldiers and crossing the border to make insurgency in Afghanistan is enough to expose their services to Islam. Enough is enough. It’s time to speak louder against them, instead of calling them mujaahideen.
Having said earlier, post-Musharraf era is to face the harsh realities, and not to play politics on the issues of our sovereignty. Brace the facts. Few days ago, soon after POF Wah cantt twin suicide blasts, which martyred about 100, Mr. Rehman Malik from interior ministry alarmed the nation, ‘‘we have only two options. Either to hand over Pakistan to Talibaans, or to launch operation against them.’’ Same sort of upsetting statement was coined by Prime Minister Gilani, few weeks ago, ‘‘there are foreigners hiding themselves in tribal areas, and are planning the deadly attacks. We don’t want to make any precedent for one more 9/11 to take place. We are fighting the war against terror in our own interest. Its not the war to please USA.’’ Chief Minister NWFP justified the same, ‘‘if militants keep on attacking the government offices and girl schools, why we allow them. The militants wouldn’t be forgiven by government, even if they surrendered.’’ Isn’t it the same outlook which Musharraf alarmed the nation again and again. What a shame for the politicians, if repeat once more, ‘‘Nation has rejected the Musharraf’s policies, in war against terrorism, by giving us the mandate.’’ Come on. Nation knows nothing, but one… that someone has badly fooled again in the name of democracy.
3-Democracy, but not demon-crazy: Yes, our politicians have already betrayed the nation enough in the name of democracy. We suppose democracy to be an exercise of having elections, in which we caste vote for some individual, representing some party. Fine enough……. but it’s time to analyze why such exercise always brings desperation and disappointment for the nation.
The political system in Pakistan is gripped by feudalistic mind set. We know, the same families are supposed to rule over us for decades… Bhutto, Sharif, Lughari, Mari, Mengal, Lashari, Bugti… blah blah… It’s a mafia. Go and observe. Their own people are like slaves to them. Having no penny in pockets, or bread in bellies, still they chant slogans for their feudal lords. After being elected, these lords never allow any developmental work in their own locality, and never allow any school to get operate, fearing to have conscience of people to wake up, which would one day deprive them of supremacy upon them.
When things get worst and going out of control, the army has to intervene in politics to safe the nation from further destruction. As a matter of fact, people always applause the army, calling them the savior of nation, but after some times, again start demanding the democracy. The vicious cycle carries on, and the dreams are always cursed by the democracy. To make end to that exercise, we need to educate the masses, and finally to abolish the feudalistic culture. It’s easier said than done. To get out old tested (and failed) faces from our political culture, a good step was taken by earlier, to make graduation as mandatory to contest. Unfortunately this was later revoked. It must be brought back. The right to make policies for Pakistan and to pass the bills in assembly must not be given to undergraduate illiterates. Moreover, new political parties must be introduced to challenge the monopoly of few old parties. The new parties should be composed of new faces, most likely to be young, educated, and visionary and better not from the political background. Otherwise, it would be demon-crazy or damn-crazy under the slogan of Democracy.
4-Propaganda front: This is the multi polar world. Nothing now happens in isolation. Every bit of information now reaches to every spot of world within a fraction of second, by internet, newspapers, mobile phones and satellite channels. ‘Propaganda’ is now accepted as an art to manipulate things to achieve the desired goals. 24-7 media, now is considered as an important tool to stabilize or destabilize the nations.
Being fair, credit goes to General Pervez Musharraf, on giving full liberty to media for the first time ever in Pakistan. Now, having more than 70 private channels, we are in better position to educate and inform the masses. Now, with such a vibrant media, we need to make sure few things at media front.
1– To keep the national interests first.
2– To raise the morale of nation high.
3– To follow the facts, not perceptions (To be neutral).
4– To portray the positive image of Pakistan.
5– To act as a defense line to deal an international campaign against Pakistan.
Our nation has already suffered lot of trauma, due to the frequency of ‘Breaking News’ and ‘News-Just in’ mostly featured by non-issues and rumors. It’s time to keep the national interests first. Our nation is already trapped badly in lot of miseries, and in vicious marathon to get ‘bread n butter’. No one has enough time to or resources to explore out the reality out of rumors. Its media, either electronic or press, which injects the perceptions in the minds of masses. Our nation has already been enslaved to pessimism and despondent thoughts. Its time to raise the morale of nation higher. Our media, unfortunately, has proved itself too biased in the hatred campaign against General Pervez Musharraf. Its time to follow the facts, not to build illusion of perceptions.
To put our Economy back on track, and to maintain the law and order situation, featured by the political stability, our media has to play its role, with a feel of responsibility. One sensitive graphical image or one embarrassing news on media, results in the stock market to crash, the next day, and delivers the negative image of Pakistan among international community.
Its not the time to clean our dirt live on TV channel, but its time for media to act as a defence line to secure the interests of Pakistan.
Now, in last, I would recall your attention again towards the leading axioms of Darwin’s theory of Evolution, i.e., ‘Natural Selection’ and ‘Survival of the fittest’. No nation is born slave or master. Nations evolve through difficulties. If one is capable enough to meet the challenges successfully, naturally get selected to the next level of competition and this struggle continues. In this competition, its only the fittest who survives.
Out of lot of challenges, I have picked only few. i.e., Economic front, writ of the state, Political front, and vibrant media front. All are dependent on each other. We have to work out on all these fronts strategically on emergency basis. We have no more time to waste. Otherwise, it would be too late!!!