Pakistan, a country of 231 million multi-ethnic, multi-lingual people, is at the crossroads. The challenges of political polarisation, economic hardships, climate change, internal security threats due to religious extremism, and civil-military tensions are spiralling. The complex intertwining of the issues and the rapidly changing circumstances make it difficult to get a clear understanding of the dynamics of polity and society. The situation poses a challenge to a set of stakeholders, both internal and external, who support programs and policies for sustainable development of the country.
The article analyses why Pakistan’s power elites do not focus on urgent issues the country is faced with, and allow participatory politics in the country. One of the crucial factors is the civil-military relations. Bureaucracy was overpowered by the military in the early decades and it continues to dominate politics of the country. Both sides have been involved in self-serving battles that appear to be in a decisive phase with far reaching implications for domestic and regional security.
Pakistan is a country of multiple identity markers in terms of culture, ethnicity, language, religion, sects and class. This characteristic, instead of enriching our society, unfortunately put some sections at a disadvantage. The article gives a brief analysis how extremist ideologies, sectarian tensions and religious intolerance pose significant challenges and undermine the principles of pluralism and freedoms of belief and expression.
Climate change has come to hold a pivotal place in Pakistan’s political discourse. The writer argues that the climate emergency demands responses beyond the jurisdiction of carbon fueled capitalism. Pakistan needs to reimagine its existing pursuits of economic growth, translating into constructive policy shifts, including a transition in the energy sector.
Pakistan’s economy is going through its worst crisis. The article takes a look at how the slow growth, rising fiscal deficit, spiraling inflation, growing unemployment and the impacts of the unprecedented 2022 floods, in addition to the political turmoil, have taken a heavy toll on the lives and the livelihoods of common people in 2023. The way out, it is suggested, is political civility, and a strict discipline on macroeconomic policy front.