Sixty-eight years since independence and Pakistan is still unsure about its purpose of existence. This cannot be better illustrated than through the presence of certain religious minded political parties. These parties have a not-so-pleasant history and have manifested similarly unpleasant views about the country.

Today, Pakistani society is visibly divided in two camps. The first is trying to make Pakistan a democratic welfare state based on the modern political thought. Meanwhile, the second camp proposes that since the foundation of this country was based on the basic tenets of Islam, thus Pakistan should be an "Islamic" democratic welfare state. Both sides are trying to manipulate Jinnah's ideas and various speeches to substantiate their argument.

However, the most interesting aspect of this polarisation is the stance of the religious-minded political parties. They are not absolute rightest in their essence as widely perceived but they have rebranded themselves as the true guardians of the ideology of the founding fathers and custodians of democracy as well. At least two of these newly branded parties were staunch opponents of Indian partition and the politics of All India Muslim League, led by their then foe and now Quaid, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. However, they not only have created an acceptance among masses but have been weighing in the political balance as an alternative political force which can revive Jinnah's Pakistan, which they originally opposed during Jinnah's lifetime.

Today, Pakistan is facing internal challenges that can be detrimental to its existence. And therefore, there is a need to realign our intellectual efforts to chalk out a future course of action. Whether Pakistan was created to be a bastion of Islam or it was created as a separate county for Muslims of subcontinent India to safeguard their social, religious and economic rights has been a matter of debate since 1947. But this debate should be terminated now as this is no longer a relevant issue.

What is relevant, however, in view of the contemporary environment and challenges faced by us, is the future direction of this country. We must find answers to the question: what will our future generations inherit from us?

Will they inherit an intolerant, ignorant and superstitious society? Will they inherit a country with weak institutions and a political system unable to address their problems? Will they inherit a country where supreme law making forum acts as subservient to one of its constitutionally subordinate institution? Will they inherit a confused and biased society where message from the Friday sermon is different from the message of the school?

In order to answer these questions, a new debate among various groups of society must be initiated. We, as a society, can survive only if we can strike a balance between the polarising groups among us. The method and course of action can be unique and different, but there must be a well-defined and common goal. If this synchronisation is missing, there is no doubt that future will be no better than the present.

We should also reflect on what we have achieved by indulging into the debate of "the idea of Pakistan in founding fathers' minds." These are the fruits of the confusion created by this debate that we are reaping these days. It is the fault of this very debate that only after one-and-a-half month of Peshawar incidence, the apologists of militancy are back.

Just compare the reactions of Peshawar and Shikarpur incidents and get a clear idea of how indulgence in fruitless ideological battles has made the society so apathetic towards the Shikarpur attack.

So far, our policy makers have failed to take a visionary step. From Objectives Resolution to establishment of military courts, our political and constitutional history is full of manoeuvres necessitated by survival instincts of the respective ruling party – that those very instincts failed them is another debate altogether.

The doctrine of necessity is deeply imbedded in our collective thought process that not even the masses but even intelligentsia – and allow me to include politicians as well for principally, only they possess power to make policies – have no vision of future needs. Accordingly, we keep on making stopgap arrangement for every problem faced. This is evident from the recent petrol shortage fiasco.

Reports suggest that finance division withheld payments to maintain enough funds in the foreign deposits to appease IMF for $550 million loan tranche. There is no question that presently Pakistan needs foreign assistance due to our imbalanced fiscal operations. But we are, firstly, not sure what price we can pay for that and secondly, have no viable plan to get rid of the menace of foreign aid.

If things continue to remain as they are, our children and grandchildren will be worse off than us.