Institutional fault lines and Independent foreign policy

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Rai Ahmad Kamal
John F.Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country does for you, say what you can do for your country”. The revolution in the country demands sacrifices.If we veritably desire a democratic setup for our country then we”ll have to alter our priorities keeping aside all the political affiliations.The so-called ruling elite has been deciding the fate of the masses for decades in the name of democracy.They claim that they have labored a lot to drag Pakistan out of the blind well but the indexes eventuate opposite story where Pakistan falls at 104 out of 167 countries in democracy and 154 out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index(HDI).In rule of law, Pakistan stands at 130 out of 139 countries. The report of the World Justice Project is a slap in the face of these self-centered rulers who remain engaged in straightening their potatoes.Despite experienced economists, Pakistan’s economy continues to remain in turbulent waters because of a lack of sincere and visionary leadership.The people should now decide whether they want to be ruled by these corrupt elites or they will decide their fate.If a government doesn’t work in the right direction, people should oust them from their offices.Democracy resides with people, not with specific personalities. PTI’s skipper apart from conspiracy theory should develop a roadmap that how Pakistan could be dragged out of a sinking boat.Voicing Independent Foreign Policy isn’t enough unless bringing our own house in order because knocking on the doors of International Financial Institutions periodically will eventually let us drive according to their terms & conditions.In this way, every country and IFIs will use Carrot & Stick Policy & we continue to rotate in this vicious circle despite voicing the mantras of real Independence & Independent Foreign Policy. To get rid of this ruckus, the Institutions should be independent & they must restrict themselves in their defined boundaries.The establishment must also let democracy prevail by backing off this chessboard of pick and choose.The courts bearing in mind their oath must have a proper check and balance that no specific personality or an institution dares to cross its limit. Police, FIA, and NAB should prosecute the cases against all the political leaders with integrity and honesty, and the mechanism of accountability should be across the board. The courts should also decide the cases on merit without any prejudice within a specific time frame. It’s a pity that in Pakistan people contest their cases from one generation to the next and so on. There is a need for proper overhauling of the system because the faults of our institutions also compounded our woes. Pakistan framed its National Security policy based on geoeconomics. It’s a solid initiative because now Pakistan will not become a prisoner of its geography as we have remained during the Soviet’s attack on Afghanistan and after 9/11. Pakistan should captivate all the countries through its robust foreign policy to invest in Pakistan in different sectors like mining, food processing, cement, textiles, automobiles, and chemicals. Pakistan must set up special CPEC desks in all its embassies across the world to attract foreign direct investment by making them realize the potential of CPEC. It’s a great initiative that Pakistan prioritized Special Economic Zones and declared them tax-free zones for 10 years butthe fault lies within our foreign policy and our complex system of NOCs and regressive system of taxation on the businesses. The foreign office should spring up a robust foreign policy to engage all countries on common grounds of mutual trade and investment, security, countering terrorism, technological advancement, combating lethal diseases, and human resource management. Besides this, the government should develop one window system for all the requisite NOCs so that the investors might not have to drag themselves from one office to the other in search of NOCs. Furthermore, there must be a direct system of taxation on all businesses rather than indirect taxation which reaches up to 35%. On the other hand, Pakistan must not become a party in conflicts of major powers, instead, it should maintain cordial relations with all great giants including the US, China, Russia, and the EU. Pakistan should not lean entirely towards China by abandoning the US but keep a balancing act. Pakistan should engage with Russia to buy oil and wheat at a 30% discount so that we could reduce our import bill. All these measures should be taken to boost the economy of the country considering the National Security Policy based on geoeconomics because security and sovereignty can’t be compromised when a country has a strong economy at the back end.It gets compromised by knocking on the doors of International Financial Institutions. This lets those IFIs straighten their potatoes.But following this road of geoeconomics, Pakistan can move towards independent foreign policy and our security and sovereignty will never be compromised and one can hanker that Pakistan will take a due turn, and someday it will join the queue of developed nations. Otherwise, we are already in a quagmire by putting all of our eggs into the basket of the IMF.

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