A new report by the Ayaan Institute think-tank has concluded that the Pakistani people need to decide if they want to be on a permanent lifeline of international loans and aid or do they want to tread the path of independence which will involve short-term pain, but long-term gain.
The report, which has been released weeks after former Pakistani PM Imran Khan was ousted, says Pakistan will have to decide whether or not they want to continue to be a proxy for U.S. interests in the region against China or Afghanistan.
The political upheaval in Pakistan and mass mobilisation of the Pakistani people in support of Imran Khan have led to an unprecedented global debate about the future policy direction of Pakistan.
The report authors, Jahanghir Mohammed, Hana Efendic and Fatih Kırşanlı, say they hope it will contribute to a much-needed debate currently ongoing among Pakistani communities worldwide about Pakistan’s problems and future direction.
“In the last 43 years, Pakistan has been a proxy for two U.S.-backed wars in Afghanistan and the blowback in terms of terrorism. The consequences on Pakistan’s economy and loss of life have been disastrous,” the report says.
“Pakistan’s democratic political system is clearly failing and not serving the best interests of its people or the economy. It needs serious change. Pakistani people need to come up with a polical system that rewards merit, expertise and good conduct/character, not party loyalty or interest.
“Corruption in the country is corrosive at all the highest levels of society and is hindering economic development and good governance.
“Pakistan’s population growth is estimated to reach as many as 338 million people by 2050. Pakistan’s export and trade performance must increase to a level to keep pace with the needs of such a large population.
“Overseas Pakistanis need to consider how best they can contribute to the changes that are needed to move this country forward.”
The PTI party came into power on the back of promises of ending Pakistan’s involvement in the United States-led War on Terror, tackling corruption and making social welfare reforms to benefit the poor.
But earlier this month The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of opposition parties, along with PTI defectors, tabled a No-Confidence Vote against Prime Minister Khan on the grounds of mismanagement of the economy and rising prices.
On April 10 the PTI was voted out of government and replaced by the opposition PDM and Shehbaz Sharif became the new Prime Minister.
“Our vision is to see a Muslim world that is independent, prosperous, strong, free from wars and conflict, and able to find its own solutions to its problems. Pakistan fails on all these aspirations,” the Ayaan report says.
“We are confident that most Pakistani people share the aspirations of Ayaan and will help shape a new future away from its failed past. Away from political failure, U.S. dependency, endemic corruption, and toward transparent and effective governance.”
You can read the report here.