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Wednesday July 06, 2022

Global issues: Challenges and opportunities for Pakistan

August 14, 2021

As Independence Day is approaching once again it is time to reminisce on the struggles that led to the birth of our motherland. Pakistan has always been a victim of peaks and valleys with experiencing coup d’Žtat four times without any bloodshed. The country did not have a stable constitution for twenty-six years since its inception. Not to forget the number of times the head of state has meddled with the head of government, despite following the British parliamentary model as a form of government. Nevertheless, the country remained impenetrable and overcame the existential crisis.

In the 21st century, as the world has globalised so have the issues. The COVID-19 pandemic is one out of those multiple global issues and Pakistan has fallen a victim to it due to the nature of the issue. However, it has been very challenging to tackle it considering the fact that Pakistan’s disposition is to create humour out of any context. When the entire world was under lockdown the nation of Pakistan was busy having picnics in the mountainous areas. While most of the states are having a severe contestation on the vaccine diplomacy, the people in Pakistan are not even willing to get them vaccinated in the first place since there is a misconception that chips are being inserted through vaccine and they will probably not survive beyond two years.

While the people of Pakistan do not go by the book they are neglecting the fact that Pakistan is a developing nation and even though the pandemic has drastically affected the global economy it significantly impacted Pakistan with the economic disruption exacerbating an already existing crisis. Although the government has formulated and implemented some mitigation measures, they are inadequate to counter the impact of the pandemic. So there is a possibility of a likely fallout of a near-meltdown of Pakistan’s economy on the nation’s hybrid political system that is dominated by the military.

While pandemic is one global issue, the recent wildfires in Turkey or the floods in China are a clear indication of dramatic change in the climate. The CO2 emissions from China and the United States are dangerously high. In addition, the much appreciated Asian Tigers have remarkably advanced their economies within a short period of time but they are facing a dual challenge. They not only have to adapt to the climate change largely caused by greenhouse gases but also alter development strategies that are increasingly contributing to global warming.

Meanwhile, Pakistan could not catch up with the pace of development of these Southeast Asian countries. But it’s never too late, Pakistan still can seize this pandemic as an opportunity to go green in the initial stages of development. Instead of solely industrialising first and then taking up measures to minimise the effect of climate change, Pakistan shall pitch on green industrialisation. Pakistan has already taken green initiatives, for example, the world’s largest afforestation programme of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme and Clean Green Pakistan Programme had a huge clout that even Saudi Arabia wants to replicate it in their country. Saudi Arabia also invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister to the ‘Middle East Green Initiative Summit’ that will be held in October this year. This is yet another opportunity to showcase Pakistan’s efforts in mitigating climate change despite being a developing country.

The genesis of Pakistan was the struggle of Muslims and the emerging Islamophobic sentiments around the globe create a misconception that Pakistan is an extremist nation because it is a Muslim nation. Meanwhile, the hybrid warfare strategies that adversaries like India are following in Baluchistan in the shape of BLA further not only trigger terrorism but also brand Pakistan as a country that violates the ethnic rights of its people.

Nevertheless, the Afghan Peace Process and Pakistan’s role as a mediator is one of the greatest opportunities that Pakistan captured to neutralise its international position and to withdraw from the tag of an extremist and terrorist country. Pakistan shall single out an impartial and non-partisan approach towards this scenario.

To further make it inclusive Pakistan should run an awareness campaign with the 4P’s of the contest: Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare which will help it build a counter-terrorism strategy, so that the operations Pakistan has held over the years under the National Action Plan and NACTA to knock out the terrorists turn out to be a success.

Although the global issues are many but the above mentioned ones have been drastically affecting the country. On this Independence Day, let’s make a renewed pledge to make the motherland a better place to live.

-Kashaf Sohail is an IR scholar at Bahria University, Islamabad. She works for women empowerment, community service and rescuing stray animals. She can be reached at: kashafsohail26@icloud.com

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