Contemporary Social issues of Pakistan: Our Responsibilities and 70th Independence Day

By Prof. Busharat Elahi Jamil.

Father of the Nation.

Pakistan has a diverged society, shared into various political, communal, castes, creeds, languages, sects, statuses, traditional and cultural assemblages. This diversity is endorsing the provincialism as well as racialism in Pakistan while it was the perspective of Quai-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as he advised the nation to circumvent both the evils. Pakistan is an Islamic ideological state and is responsible for the sanctuary of her ideology appropriately. Unfortunately, corrupt and dismissive political culture proves to be the root cause in derailing the practice of democracy in Pakistan, which is believed to be the chief reason for the decline in democratic values that actually offends its ideology. On the other hand, religious-based political clusters strive to win the votes in the name of Islam but fail to serve the society. All 5 big religious political parties are the power seekers and most of them are allies in every regime. However, with their collective efforts, they fail to lead the nation to resolve issues.

 

Regrettably, since the independence political and religious leadership misrepresented the nation. At the time of partition, when people were suffering from partition crisis and bloodshed, the leadership of all indulged communities was celebrating the partition and the birth of a new Country. This careless attitude swelled the miseries of more than 7 million refugees’ rehabilitation, settlement and permanent settlement. Steadily political forces, democratic and military regimes consequently demoralized the people failing to improve the socio-political and economic structure of the motherland. Pakistan started its journey with a single party the ‘All Pakistan Muslim League’ but gradually particular religious strata, feudal and landlord classes manipulated the politics and the economy mostly for the personal gains. Though they were responsible for the reformation and the leadership of the society, it was later proved to be the disastrous and exploitative political leadership. Because proper accountability is not apt to only 2% hegemonic political and elite strata of Pakistan. Institutions of accountability have been expelled in KPK and Sind and overall high jacked in Federation.

 

The system failed to undertake its responsibilities appropriately. The failure was later altered as a divergence to the blame game giving the fan to the sectarianism, zero tolerance in society and hate literature. Unfortunately, hate literature correspondingly adopted as a compulsory part of elementary schools’ syllabus that resulted in differences and complications between 97% majority and 3% minorities for generations because of its infusion at an early age. Many teachers, particularly in public sector institutes, are biased taking education as a profession but not as service. Unfortunately, more than 30 political supported and independent student federations are playing their role in the exploitation of the system and working under the political influence of certain socio-political motives. In General Zia’s regime, this sensation became so organized and strong that it started dictating the very sense of doctrines in masses, which deteriorated the integration, solidarity and damaging for the country.

 

During 1989-2017 total 3,062 incidents of sectarian violence have taken place, during which 5,681 persons were killed and more than 11,181 have been wounded. Poor law and order situation is suitable for the promotion of terrorism. More than 70,000 individuals have victimized in Pakistan. Moreover, since 1979, FATA remained infamous as a nursery of terrorism. Pakistan being the alley of US in War against terrorism paid a huge cost in sense of financial and the damage of human lives which however nurtured terrorism and anti-America sentiments among the affected masses as the prolonged war is witnessed by the generation born during the war that had nothing to do with the terrorism. Total 62,500 individuals died in terrorist attacks since 2003, resulting in brain drainage, lack of foreign investments, a weak economy and political instability in Pakistan.

Cramping spaces.

Overpopulation is another prime concern on the way of development as it emerged in the preliminary Census Report of 2017, ranking Pakistan the world’s 6th most populous country with more than 200 million inhabitants while in 1955 it was ranked 14th? Pakistan has 2.7% of world’s total population, having 60% rural and 40% urban inhabitants. Fewer job opportunities, lack of facilities, fewer resources and weak infrastructure augment the crisis of the rural population. This ongoing manipulative phenomenon is a big push for the rural population to shift towards urban areas. The urban growth rate has reached 3.5%, which is one of the highest in South Asia that turns out to be a huge administrative and socio-economic crisis in urban and rural areas. This massive flow gave birth to the launch of illegitimate housing societies on the fertile agricultural lands resulting in inappropriate expansion of cities. High prices and less production of cash crops and the less availability of agricultural raw material for the local industry are other associated issues. The agriculture sector is also suffering despite its 20% contribution to GDP and providing 40% production employment opportunities overall and 60% of the rural population.

 

On the other hand, women are about 50% of the total population of Pakistan but have certain dilemmas. Approximately 80% women are somehow facing domestic violence or sort of abuse in Pakistan. More than 5500 women have been killed annually because of domestic violence and 500 to 700 in honor killing reportedly. Women have fewer opportunities for education, games; women have only 3% seats in Pakistan’s parliament. The reserve seats for women in public sector organizations have no comparison according to their share in the population. Women literacy rate is only 46% in Pakistan while in rural areas ratio shrinks to 35%. However, because of media and press, there is a gradual improvement, First Women Bank, women police station, separate educational institutes of technical education are working but a specific rigidity and inflexibility, particularly in remote interior and tribal areas, is still a hindrance to the progress of women in the Country.

Concerning general welfare, Government, semi-Government institutes and NGOs are not delivering appropriately for the welfare of the people in Pakistan. Security, accommodation, medication, higher education, social security is not in the range of the middle, lower middle classes. Medicines, Proper hygienic food and purified water are not acceptably available to common people. Distances and differences are widening day by day. On average, every Pakistani shares a state loan of PRs. 101,338. More than 40% of Pakistan’s population is living below poverty line in miserable condition. Weak democratic norms, sectarianism, terrorism, delaying justice, weak laws, bribery, corrupt Government officials, backward education, overpopulation, poverty, a weak economy, extremism, fewer exports, brain drainage, biased and unprincipled attitude as well as free press and media are variant contemporary drawbacks of Pakistani society.

 

Overpopulation, bad governance, weak policies of Government, corruption and political instability are strong reasons for unemployment that consequently produces street crimes, suicides, law and order situation, human organs smuggling, terrorism, kidnapping, child trafficking, etc. During Nawaz regime, the unemployment ratio with 6% is the highest in last thirteen years (The Daily News). Because of heavy taxation, weak economic policies, terrorism and heavy industry are going to close or shifting to India, Bangladesh and Arabian states. Whereas the Industrial sector is contributing 21% of GDP. The imports are going to increase than the exports which are triggering the issue in the balance of payment and annual growing deficit in the budget.

 

Poverty also producing a social crisis in native society, the gap between rich and poor is widening within Pakistan. Lack of proper leadership and the imperialistic policies of external forces cumulatively supplementing the hate among common masses through a press, electronic media, social media and literature. The decisions and policies of regional and provincial labelled political parties are igniting hatred among the people in the name of religion as well as provinces.  Religious leaders are not playing their role appropriately to decorate the society with harmony, peace and equality. Increasingly, the social decline goes in favour of corrupt political and religious parties to establish their political dominance.

 

Corrupt politicians, bureaucracy, administration and accountability institutes could not confiscate the corruption because this system is suitable for them. In corruption, Pakistan was in 116th position out of 176 countries in 2016. The increasing nepotism and corruption are abruptly harmful for the development of Pakistan. President Parvez Musharaf formed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2002 to eliminate corrupt practices but politicians politicized this institution for their own purposes. Now Supreme Court labelled this institution the ‘died institution’. Accountability courts and particularly lower courts are under the influence of hegemony and politicians. Delaying justice, flaws in the judicial system, unlawful tactics are the common practices. Political governments failed to provide free justice on the doorsteps. The terms ‘police gardi’ and ‘wukla gardi’ are commonly practised and indicating the ‘uncontrollable society’ of Pakistan. The police department which is responsible to maintain law and order is the most corrupt institution of the Country.

 

In corruption, Pakistan was in 116th position out of 176 countries in 2016. The increasing nepotism and corruption are abruptly harmful for the development of Pakistan.

 

As a nation, we are somehow responsible for the increase in the miseries and issues of our beloved Country, Pakistan. Changes in the mindsets, modern education, strong integration, national unity and suitable economic policies are the needs of the time. Now Pakistan is on a sensitive edge and any dismissive approach can damage its strength and solidarity. Political and religious parties should play a vital role to sustain the situation and contain the problems of Pakistan. The country is in jeopardy not only by external forces but internals too. Development in the education sector is now mandatory to uplift the society and to eliminate the issues of radicalism and division. Only an educated nation can survive and combat with its issues because every dawn comes after darkness. In this regard, the vision advised and saying of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah should be a solution of the agonies of Pakistan.

 

The writer can be reached at busharathistorian@gmail.com