Highway to Pakistan's future - By Farhan Bokhari - April 10, 2011

How does Pakistan overcome its multi-faceted predicaments and extricate itself from its current round of challenges? In brief, that surmises the main theme of a just-published book, appropriately titled: Pakistan-Beyond the Crisis State.
Edited by Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's newspaper editor-turned-diplomat with the distinction of having served as the country's ambassador to Washington and London, the book draws together a cream of Pakistani experts from a diverse set of backgrounds with a view to assessing different sectors.
The book is a breath of fresh air for a country which has seen a steady stream of writings over the years which have only reinforced the idea of Pakistan heading towards becoming a failed state if not indeed reaching that stage yet.
For Pakistan's top decision makers, the book offers what could well become a set of serious policy guidelines to begin reclaiming areas of authority that have been lost under different rulers. It is a set of recommendations which are all the more relevant given the rapidly growing malaise surrounding practically every walk of life.

The HEC's achievements in areas ranging from the way it has empowered universities in general, to its contribution of giving an impetus to the number of Pakistani students who acquired PhD degrees since the commission was created, appears to have been practically ignored for now. Tragically, the bottom line is indeed a very troubling one. Pakistan's ruling elite appear to have no time or interest in pursuing a cause related to the acquisition and utility of higher knowledge. Lodhi's book, despite being a very timely contribution to recommending reforms on the road to Pakistan's future, will nevertheless go largely unnoticed for the country's political masters, mainly obsessed with the best way to survive in power. It is a tragic conclusion for a country which in the past has hovered time and again between military rule and civilian democratic eras. Tragically, the present democratic era may well have been a period of fresh hope for Pakistan, in building a fresh national consensus to deal with some of the toughest challenges ever faced.
On the contrary, there appears to be an increasing yearning by Pakistan's political masters to simply survive at any cost, without any apparent recourse to setting the pace for a qualitatively new future.
Lodhi's choice of her book's title underlines what is indeed a vital element in looking at Pakistan's past history, present state and future outlook. The recognition of a crisis that has loomed large around the country indeed states the obvious. For more than three decades since democracy was derailed under the late general Zia ul Haq in 1977 and the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan has lived in the eye of the storm. And yet, recognising life beyond the state of crisis, as the title of her book aptly suggests, must be a pivotal step in setting pace to a qualitatively new and better future for a country that remains central to many global security currents.

Farhan Bokhari is a Pakistan-based commentator who writes on political and economic matters.

Source : http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/highway-to-pakistan-s-future-1.789535

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