Pakistan is fast approaching a situation where internal and external challenges have started threatening its existence. Despite this, the country’s top leaders are least bothered about discussing and resolving the issues affecting the masses. A crisis does not erupt overnight; it takes a long time to develop. The Arab Spring is a case in point. This is what happens when the government is corrupt and incapable of solving the people’s problems. Also, when a smooth transfer of political power is not allowed.

Sadly, there are only a few achievements that Pakistan, now in its 65th year of existence, can be proud of. It is a fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. It is the sixth largest nation in terms of population. Its military is the seventh largest in the world, having the best professional capabilities and is highly-respected globally. Yet, Pakistan needs to ‘do more’ to deal with the challenges it is facing today.

Respect for the Constitution and state institutions (legislative, executive and judiciary) is pivotal to progress and prosperity of nations. It is most unfortunate that successive governments, both civil and military, have never attempted to find the causes that have led to our failure as a state. Most evils in our socio-political system stem from this failure that can be termed “strategic blunder”. The fallout of this strategic blunder has adversely affected our polity. The failure of the post-1971 democratic government to take to task those who were responsible for the dismemberment of Pakistan on December 16 was a part of that blunder. In addition, most of the state’s problems are due to its failure to evolve a genuine democratic system of governance based on the 1973 Constitution.

So, where do we stand today after four-and-a-half years of the PPP-led coalition government’s rule? Consider the law and order situation as well as governance in the country. Not satisfactory, indeed! Nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Health and education sectors are the worst casualties. Economy is on the verge of collapse. Terrorism is gripping even the most sensitive law enforcement and security installations. Some of the army, navy and air force bases have been attacked by militants belonging to anti-state organisations just to destabilise the state. The attack on Minhas Airbase at Kamra is the latest example of how closely the extremist groups are collaborating to harm Pakistan. With this, the government and the people’s trust in the armed forces and security agencies is being assaulted.

The situation is becoming worse, especially when, on the one hand, fresh military action is contemplated in the tribal belt to contain the activities of terrorist groups; and on the other, the country is going to the polls, maybe by the end 2012 or early 2013. At this juncture, there is confrontation between the government and the judiciary over the full bench judgment of the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Raja Pevaiz Ashraf is due to appear before the court on August 27, under the shadows of a contempt of court notice for not writing to the Swiss authorities to reopen the graft cases against President Asif Zardari.

The Attorney General has stated that the court can neither summon the PM, nor ask him to write the letter as it would be against the Constitution. One would like to wish that the wise warning given by the Chief Election Commissioner, Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim,” This is the last chance for the nation to bring about a change of government through the ballot, failing which the bullets may replace the ballot papers,” is heeded.

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