Editorial - A faded dream - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=37623&Cat=8

The Lahore Resolution, or the Pakistan Resolution, was adopted by the Muslim League during its general session of March 22-24, 1940. It called for greater Muslim autonomy in British India and eventually became the lever which gave us Partition. It was a bloody process. Borders were arbitrarily drawn, families split apart, villages dismembered and the dreadful images of the silent trains laden with bodies are somewhere deep in the collective consciousness of all of us. Seventy-one years later we live in a state wracked by terrorism, teetering on the brink of economic ruin, poorly educated with almost a third of the population suffering food insecurity and one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Predictions of our demise have become almost routine and scarcely a month passes without this-that-or-the-other economic guru or think-tank discussing Pakistan in something approaching the past tense.

Whilst it is true that the dream of the founding fathers has tarnished and faded, it is equally true that despite frequent and dire prediction – Pakistan has endured. It may not have prospered as much as it might, been dragged hither and thither by polarised politicians and generals who thought they knew best, but we are beginning the fourth session of the current parliament and the opposition does not seem inclined to derail the process of civilian governance. We have inept and corrupt governance but, by the standards of the Arab world, we do not have a particularly repressive governance and we have a media that is, despite the rulers’ attempts to muzzle it, comparatively free. We have a growing sense that accountability under the law may be becoming more real as some powerful figures find themselves behind bars accused of serious crimes. We remain hobbled by dynastic politics and the stranglehold of feudalism, and democracy must be considered a work in progress rather than a fully-fledged reality. We could remain at this position, stalled in our development as a mature nation, far into the future. Our dependence on external aid and the importance of our strategic position mean that, like it or not, those who keep us afloat will continue to do so because the alternative, state failure, is unthinkable. Ultimately the key to our future lies in whether or not we choose to invest in the education of our young people. In that choice lies the future of all of us individually and all of us as citizens of Pakistan; and failure must not be an option.

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