January issue 2012

By | Editorial | News & Politics | Published 12 years ago

At the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf rally in Ghotki, former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had threatened to spill the beans on why Pakistan’s nuclear assets were not safe in the hands of President Asif Zardari.

So he did, at PTI’s Karachi rally. In one of his conciliatory moments, the President had assured the Indians that there would be no first use of nuclear weapons on Pakistan’s part. How does a statement aimed at cooling tempers between two hostile neighbours pose a threat to our nuclear assets? Does Mr Qureshi contemplate dropping the bomb on India any time soon, or does he want to pursue a policy of good neighbourly relations?

The majority of this country’s 180 million people are tired of wars, bombs, killings. The war on terror has dragged on for 10 years now and claimed an estimated 35,000 lives, maimed hundreds, destroyed schools, properties, people’s livelihood and more.

All Pakistanis desire is PEACE. This country has seen enough of violence — in the form of sectarian wars, ethnic wars, insurgencies and the war on terror. Aditionally, those in the corridors of power have remained embroiled in their own personal wars.

2011 must rank as a year of major confrontations — between the PML-N and the PPP, the judiciary and the PPP, and the army and the PPP — sparking off a chain of rumours regarding the imminent fall of the government and creating an atmosphere of instability in the country.

The economy has all but collapsed. Allegations of corruption and misgovernance have dogged this government, as major institutions like the Pakistan Steel Mills, PIA and Pakistan Railways run in the red. And that’s not all. Inflation has touched a new high and gas and electricity shortages have descended to a new low.

The government has expended all its energies in deflecting criticism instead of taking stock of its abysmal performance and emerging out of its state of paralysis that is threatening to push the country over the edge. Not that the country’s leading parties have displayed any political sagacity or maturity. The PML-N is obsessed with getting rid of the PPP government before the Senate elections and the religious groups, with support from their benefactors in the establishment, are realigning to show their strength in the next elections; the opportunists, meanwhile are looking to jump ship and hop onto Imran Khan’s bandwagon — in the hope of making it to the winning post.

The key question is: Will Khan’s assorted team be able to deliver on all the tall promises they are making and revv up a distraught nation that has lost all hope?

Here’s hoping 2012 will be the year of realising our collective dream of peace, progress and prosperity for Pakistan.

Wishing all Newsline readers a very happy New Year.

Look out for the latest Annual 2012 issue of Newsline at newsstands across Pakistan.

Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.