An up-to-date and informed analysis of key issues of Pakistan.
As Pakistan turns 76, it is time to recognise the resilience of the country’s political forces and the parliament that have played a role in strengthening democracy and parliamentary systems.
On 14 August 1947, Pakistan emerged as a sovereign state on the global map. Founded on a compelling vision for the future — good governance, respect for the rule of law, constitutionalism, and democracy, the seventy-six years of the country’s journey have witnessed many challenges, rewards and accomplishments.
In history books, Pakistan is often referred as a case study for its poor level of democracy and repeated military takeovers. At the same time, the resilience of the country’s political forces and the parliament have created many milestones in strengthening democracy and parliamentary systems. The passing of the 18th constitutional amendment by consensus in 2010 is one such step forward. The amendment has led to provincial autonomy and empowerment of the smaller provinces. It has also resulted in establishment of important institutions to regulate shared resources and fostering a culture of dialogue among stakeholders, giving way to political stability and democracy.
The recent poly crisis – a combination of economic meltdown, political turmoil and judicial crisis – has pushed the country in a prolonged state of uncertainty. However, despite the ebb, there are growing voices from a broad spectrum of the civil society and progressive forces, including common citizens, calling for political and economic reforms. There is call for fundamental freedoms, greater representation of the marginalised groups and serious measures for economic and social equality. Political actors and groups contesting the upcoming elections will have to make serious efforts towards responding to the expanding public consciousness and aspirations for political and economic empowerment.
There is a growing consensus that the future of the country is linked with the upholding of the principles of the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and constitutionalism. The space for freedom of expression through the voice of an independent media needs to be expanded. There is a vibrant and engaged civil society in the country, which is giving greater voice to citizens in shaping the future direction of the country. Pakistan has some of the greatest demographic opportunities for development in the world as a growing youth population enters adulthood. The demographic dividend can be achieved with adequate investments in the education and skills of the youth, harvesting the fruits of long-term human capital development.
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