The PML-N government has completed three years of its mandated period of five years which is fairly long period to assess its responses to the egregious challenges that it inherited and the results achieved. When the present government won the public franchise in the 2013 general elections, the country faced an existentialist threat from the burgeoning terrorism; the economy was in complete mess; the country faced the worst ever energy crisis; Karachi was in the grip of the extortion mafias, terrorists, target killers and sectarian violence and Balochistan was seething with insurgency and sectarian killings. In view of the intensity of these challenges it would be an understatement to say that Pakistan was at the cross-roads. In fact it was in a crucible of precipice and about to burst at the seams.

It is said the credit must be given where it lies. Three years down the line, the ambience of gloom has transformed into vibrant optimism and a real, verifiable and discernible change is evident in all the spheres of the national life. The government exhibited rare commitment and courage to deal with the phenomenon of terrorism by launching operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan in consultation with the Army which no previous government had the spunk to initiate. Thanks to the unprecedented sacrifices of our armed forces and their unflinching resolve to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, the operation has been a tremendous success as the entire infrastructure of the terrorists in the area has been dismantled and the entire belt cleared of the terrorists.

While the armed forces executed the operation, the federal government and the political parties gave national ownership to it and the support that it needed for its success. The state institutions also contributed to its success. The parliament passed the 21st amendment; the Supreme Court validated the amendment. They all deserve unqualified gratitude of the nation. Perhaps it would be pertinent to enumerate the achievements of this operation, sacrifices that were rendered by our troops and the impact that this operation has had throughout the country and on the overall improvement in law and order.

As per ISPR, during the two years operation 3,500 terrorists were killed and 992 of their hideouts were destroyed. In achieving this, 490 troops lost their lives while 2108 were injured. During the operation 7591 IEDs, 35310 mortar bombs and rockets and 2481 land mines and suicide jackets were recovered. Reportedly the repatriation of the IDPs is in full swing and more than sixty one per cent have returned to their homes. To help them restart their lives, the government and international agencies are providing financial help. Schools, mosques and market are being re-built. The destroyed infrastructure is being restored and a 700 Km road has been built in North Waziristan. New wings of FC and para-military forces are being raised to man the check posts along the Pak-Afghan border to regulate the movement of people through a process of verification of their antecedents.

Alongside operation in North Waziristan the army also undertook 19347 intelligence based operation in other part of the country to pre-empt the backlash and to eliminate the sleeping cells and supporters of the terrorists in which 213 terrorists were killed. These operations have helped a great deal in curtailing the incidents of terrorism and contributed immensely to the improvement of law and order in the country.

The situation in Karachi has vastly improved. As a result of the targeted operation 1203 terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, TTP and Tehrik-e-Swat have been arrested, including 636 target killers belonging to proscribed organization and political parties. The insurgency in Balochistan has been checked in its tracks.

The economy is on the upward curve signifying the commencement of an era of sustained economic growth. The macro-economic and structural reforms have produced encouraging results. The veracity and authenticity of these claims has been endorsed by the international institutions like MF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the global ranking agencies like Moody’s.

The latest endorsement of a turnaround in the economy comes from MSCI, which has upgraded Pakistan’s status from frontier to emerging market. MSCI is a leading provider of international investment decision support tools. According to EFG Hermes, an Egypt-based investment bank, this reclassification would attract $475 million foreign investment by the middle of 2017. Pakistan was part of MSCI EM index between 1994 and 2008. However the temporary closure of Pakistan Stock Exchange in 2008 led MSCI to remove it from the index and classify it as a ‘stand alone country index’ and made Pakistan a part of the frontier Markets index in 2009 and it has remained as such since then.

With regards to the energy crisis, the situation has improved gradually. Nearly 3000 MW electricity has been added to the system. A number of power projects have been initiated including under CPEC with a cumulative production capacity of 10,640 MW which are likely to come on stream by the end of 2018. The import of LNG from Qatar has already started creating a positive impact on the energy situation in the country.

The foregoing verifiable facts make it abundantly clear that the government has been successful in dealing with the challenges that it inherited. Some of them may not have been overcome completely as yet, but there is no denying the fact that in all spheres a considerable progress has been made and directions set to surmount them.

This is not a mean achievement considering the odds against the government and notwithstanding the political turmoil that some political elements have been trying to foment in the country. There are no two opinions about the fact that to build on these achievements and fortify them, the country needs political stability and an environment of security. The country cannot afford political upheavals at this critical juncture. Therefore the political forces which are presently engaged in creating chaotic conditions in the country must realize the gravity of the situation and refrain from any actions that can scuttle these achievements and consign the country to a perennial instability. They must play their role in reforming the system of governance and plugging the avenues of corruption instead of reliving the past.