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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The New Resolution

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: March 22, 2012

Another Pakistan Day on the horizon. What I see is the usual rhetorical speeches, some patriotic songs and a reminder of what Allama Sahib had envisioned, what Quaid was able to accomplish. Nothing more and nothing less. Each new year, at the beginning of the year, people tend to make a lot of resolutions, and then break those resolutions, as if they never existed. Need I say more in this regard about the “Pakistan Resolution”?

The driving force behind the move called the ‘two nation theory’ has been fiercely debated and it is pointless to regurgitate the same old arguments. Whether the ‘two nation theory” is a fact or not is insignificant. What is more critical right now is where we are headed collectively as a nation. Pakistan is a reality and moving ahead with the times in sharp contrast to the vision of the people who once gathered at Iqbal Park in 1940. Either we continue the lament or we collectively come to the inevitable conclusion: it is what it is. Now, how to march forward?

We are one heck of a strategically placed country, neighbouring two giants if you will, China and India. It is no surprise that both are poised to become world economic leaders. There is a major paradigm shift happening around the globe and the old school of thought about strength is being challenged. The future resides in economic prowess and progress. The ability to cripple the world based on dominating either supply lines or critical technological functions is being dubbed as the new way to demonstrate your strength.

Business graduates would recall the ‘four P’s’ of marketing, which are critical for any organisation. I know I am aging, but if I recall, those elements are product, price, place and promotion. Needless to say, both our neighbours have excelled in those. Having discovered their niche, they intend to exploit their strengths on the global stage. In our case, we are a confused nation. We are still stuck with the anti-India-centric strategy and an imaginary slogan of ‘all-weather friend China’. Next, we have Afghanistan on our frontal radar. Therefore we are unable to define and exploit our niche.

It is about time to identify our economic strengths as a nation. In order to do that, much like the marketing P’s, we have five T’s to ponder. In this amateur scribe’s utterly flawed opinion, those five T’s are: tolerance, tourism, technology, taxation and transparency. Many would laugh this off and ridicule the simplicity. However, when one pays some serious attention to these elements, the glaring facts tend to emerge.

It is no surprise that, sadly, we are known as the terrorism capital of the world. This has to be reversed at any cost. This scribe has previously argued that it requires an overhaul of the mindset of the nation. The sore, sticking issue of conspiracies ought to be buried, once and forever. Even if there is any shadow of a doubt, we have to diffuse it with tact, resolve and unyielding determination. We are way too smart for any so-called evil and conniving conspirator to mess with us to begin with. The element of tolerance gives the impression of a strong cohesive and diverse nation: different languages, ethnicities, colours and faiths, yet joined by geographic and historical bounds. No language, sect, race or religion superior or inferior. That’s truly one heck of a tolerant nation.

Next is technology. No question about the importance of this one. We have to compete with the neighbours who, literally, are going to control this facet all over the world. We may not be able to surpass them due to their sheer size. But even if we intend to become the second fiddle, it would be a monumental achievement in itself because, believe it or not, huge economic betterment will be associated with it, and everyone’s eyes will be watching.

The more we open our country to tourism, the more we will be able to market ourselves on the international stage. This element opens the doors for economic activities and in turn, rewards Pakistan manifold. No amount of diplomacy can produce the amount of goodwill that person-to-person contact can. Much like our neighbours, we have command of the universally accepted English language. Needless to say, we are equally gifted with similar traits, yet we have not tapped into our core strengths.

Taxation is the lifeblood for any nation. That is the source of revenue that gets redistributed to the people. From a street vendor to a conglomerate, all have to be a part of this. Without proper taxation, we would remain in an abyss. 

Last but not least, is the transparency of government. If the government is the representative of the people and truly for the people, then every single paisa it earns should be available for public scrutiny. All in all, this is the new resolution we ought to focus on. Enough of what happened 72 years ago. It is time to do what will keep us going for the next 72 and more.

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