As Pakistani’s one of our favorite pastimes is to sit together and lament the current state of affairs surrounding the country. If one was to pry in on these conversations he or she would get the sense that our society teeters on the verge of total failure. From the state of our cricket to the state of our economic well being all it seems is doomed till perpetuity. Sure there are bouts of intermittent success that we celebrate with feverish euphoria but this euphoria itself stems from an underlying belief that any success we have is short lived and temporary. The question that arises is that is this mindset a result of pragmatism in the face of reality or a skewed perspective that poses a hindrance to the very growth that we so desperately crave.
Maheen Rahman dubbed Pakistan’s most amazing money manager by the likes of Business Insider and Bloomberg has gone on record to say that she is bullish regarding Pakistan’s future. The British High Commissioner Philip Barton to Pakistan has recently stated his belief that he sees a new rapidly emerging Pakistan bolstered by CPEC which would serve as conduit for trade with the rest of the world. He added that he was seeing a reverse brain drain in Pakistan that will be a game changer for the country.
On the economic front apart from CPEC we have made progress on multiple fronts. The country has secured a massive much needed loan from the ADB to the tune of $1.4 billion for installation of smart electricity meters to monitor growing theft and facilitate the government in privatization of power distribution companies and cutting power subsidies. K-electric continues to do well despite all the criticism coming its way and has recently announced work on a $400 million project, which will enable power lines in Karachi to handle another 30% of its existing capacity. Pakistan and Qatar have inked a government-to-government (G2G) deal for the award of a $16 billion contract for LNG. We have had initial talks with turkey over a twenty thousand kilometer road network that will connect rural Punjab. Internally we are seeing an improvement in the security situation with ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ and the Karachi operation beginning to bear fruit. On the foreign policy front we have seen progress on multiple fronts. Recent hostility towards India is mellowing with Sushma Swaraj India’s foreign minister visiting Pakistan. Even Pakistan’s frosty relationship with the US is improving after the visits made by the two Sharif’s.
All of the developments and statements mentioned above are relatively new, so why are still seeped in pessimism? Sure there are various problems that have beset the nation and this article is by no means a one sided narrative of optimism advocating blind optimism. The point is that we as a society are more pessimistic about our potential than we ought to be and it is with this perspective we approach our daily lives and take the small decisions that when combined will shape our future. We need to believe in ourselves if we are to progress, battle our problems with stoicism because it is in the end sentiment that powers human endeavor and if that is lacking than CPEC or any other injection will not change the situation.
By Syed Fareed ul Haq
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