The depression that came with the announcement of drilling for oil being suspended, struck the whole country. This was just a few weeks after Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed confidence that reserves of oil would soon be discovered and Pakistan’s economic woes would be greatly lessened.

It was stunning to see gloating and schadenfreude aimed at Pakistan by no less than Pakistani opinion-makers themselves. Expressing delight over the misfortune of others becomes rather tragic when it is delight expressed at the misfortune of one’s own countrymen. In the race for ratings and with the ingrained belief that bad news sells, will the television media succeed in driving the country into a deep depression?

Pakistan’s media in its flesh-consuming frenzy may not realize that they are not insulated from the effects of the negativity they spread. Rather, the first effects of the constant lamentations on television are felt on their own clients, ie advertisers themselves.

It is true that perhaps the PTI government did not know the scale of the problems that they would face. There are areas where the government could perform better. Yet there is also a need to inject a positive spirit into our news transmissions.

What should the media show and what should it not repeat ad nauseum? The psychological impact of the way news is being shown on television is enormous.

Pakistan is facing a perpetual threat. We are not fighting a few people, and not just terrorists either. We are fighting a plethora of foreign intelligence agencies, with ulterior motives, and their own interests to protect.

Economy

Where Prime Minister Imran Khan has secured a good reputation in his mannerism while interacting with foreign dignitaries in a patriotic and graceful manner, the proclivity for discussing corruption in Pakistan on an international stage could be viewed as harmful and counterproductive to the country’s image.

Similarly, the penchant for giving definitive proclamations and having to walk them back due to practical necessity, is also a trait that could be recalibrated in the better interest of the country.

The rise of the price of the dollar has started a hoarding effect. One is reminded of the contrast with Turkey, where a devaluation of the Turkish Lira led to people burning dollar notes in protest, rather than rushing to purchase them. What is needed is a similar spirit in Pakistan.

We are facing a challenging year ahead. Decisions on international arbitrations, including Reko Diq and Karkey are expected soon, as well as developments on Pakistan’s FATF status.

This requires us to remain strong and united, with a high morale in our approach to tackling these challenges.

Our most supreme loyalty must be to the country. It is without doubt that the military is the most disciplined institution in the country; and has remained protected from political ingress, and as a result has the reputation of one of the best armies in the world, custodian of the nuclear assets, as well as a tremendous human resource.

Today boasting 300 foreign qualified PhDs, from the top varsities of the world, it is rich in human resource in a way that no other institution in Pakistan is.

It is a support system that is available to us in immediate time; why do we not deploy the formidable trained human resource we have in our own country? The need of the hour is to hold back petty jealousies and think of the larger interest of the country, and country alone.

Efforts to try and deliberately create such a propaganda to keep Pakistan behind in its race for progress. Why should Pakistan not benefit from the rich experience of Pakistanis?

An example of the dire state of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is PIA. At the time General Musharraf left, the PIA deficit was 73 Billion total in its then 65 years. Today this stands at 400 Billion. Unless the 192 SOEs bleeding the national kitty dry are reformed and put on the path to profitability, we will not be able to sustain a long-term economic recovery. We cannot allow SOEs keep bleeding without any checks and balances.

IT solutions, agriculture, and trade with regions is the agenda of the future. Regions progress not countries, and this wisdom is known in Pakistan and the strategic direction of the country must be accordingly set for the next several years.