One can only understand an issue, in its comprehensiveness, by looking at the whole picture; for parts are merely deceptive. Pakistan’s political leadership after the death of Quaid-i-Azam failed to grasp what ailed the country. We went adrift, failing to determine the strategic goals of the new born state and could not set national priorities to be achieved within a given timeframe. For the past 60 years, our national leadership just groped in the dark. Pakistan could not evolve a constitution till 1973 after attaining independence in 1947. For 26 years, this nation wandered in wilderness and in the process we lost our eastern wing. Even then neither the leadership nor the people learnt any lesson. The present gathering storm enveloping our national life reflects a desperate state of affairs in which the citizenry is yearning for peace in the face of the government’s failure to provide security.

Whereas change is the key to progress we keep rigidly following the colonial pattern in all our affairs without reforming domestic or foreign policy. Against the dictates of commonsense we endlessly repeat our follies. It seems the same old 100-odd families are set to enter the parliament and provincial assemblies after the general elections. The same political parties who have been tried and test continue to wield power; they are out to establish their dynastic rule. The election commission is doing its best to implement the code of conduct for the elections whose success lies in the maintenance of peace before and during the election period.

All eyes are set on the armed forces to assist in the maintenance of internal peace and safeguarding Pakistan’s eastern and western borders which are both under threat for the first time in our history. The army has recently changed its military doctrine underlining internal security. The recent terrorist attacks in Quetta and Karachi, the latest Lahore (Badami Bagh) inferno, the menace of terrorism coupled with drone attacks highlights the state of security in the country. The Supreme Court has warned that the law enforcing agencies including the police and the rangers, have failed to enforce law and order. This implies failure of the government which must do something to the conduct of polls in a peaceful environment. This would be a big challenge for the caretaker government. The choice of the new caretaker Prime Minister although only for two months or so is of great importance because of the need for holding timely and free, fair and transparent elections. This will have a great impact on the future shape of the representative government that one would very much wish turns out to be of the people, for the people and by the people.

Those concerned with the restoration of law and order should go to the root of the problem. We have so far been casually alluding to foreign hands without pinpointing the sources and have failed to plug the flow of funds and arms into Pakistan for use by terrorists network. This has necessitated a major shift in our security paradigm which is beyond the capacity of the status-quo forces. But an indication of change has come from a quarter least expected to say that US drones have been violating Pakistan’s sovereignty. Ben Emmerson QC the UN’s special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights has made this point. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon ought to take suitable measure against their recurrence by impressing upon the US to stop the practice. Pakistan has done well to go ahead with the Iranian gas pipeline and hand over the Gwadar port to a Chinese company, the moves of great strategic importance in the security paradigm of the region.

The writer is president of the Pakistan National Forum.  Email: ikramullahkhan1@yahoo.com