The present day Pakistan is capable of tackling all sorts of challenges whether internal or external and any talk of instability in the country or a threat to its integrity is not only an exaggeration but an exercise to malign Pakistan.
Speaking at the book launch “Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State” edited by former diplomat Dr.Maleeha Lodhi at the High Commission here last evening, Hasan said: “We have confidence in our institutions and the resilience of our people.”
He said despite what the doomsayers have been forecasting about the future of Pakistan, the message of hope in the book dispels most of the apprehensions about Pakistan being a failed or failing state.
Hasan pointed out that with the advent of democratic government in 2008 following long decades of extra constitutional and military intervention, the country is on way to reverting to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of an egalitarian, progressive, secular and tolerant Pakistan.
“It would hopefully guarantee to all its citizens Islamic socio-economic justice and equality irrespective of caste, creed, colour or gender,” he said.
Hasan said Dr.Lodhi in her own analysis in the book spelt out five factors that she thought are pivotal to understanding Pakistan and its challenges.
These, he noted were, asymmetry between the political and non-political institutions in the country, Pakistan’s politics since its birth when feudal dominating order and culture ran the country, Pakistan’s reliance on borrowed growth which was and is responsible for the economic woes, geo-strategic location of the country and lastly national security goals and the role of outside powers and persistence of centrifugal forces in the country.
The High Commissioner praised the sacrifices rendered by former prime ministers Z.A.Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto for the cause of democracy by challenging dictatorships.
Its ironic that historians and political analysts have extensively written about the failure of political institutions in the country, they have conveniently ignored the valiant struggle of the political forces which challenged praetorian regimes and their so-called intellectuals supporters and pen-pushers assigned to the task of painting black everything democratic, he said.
He mentioned the role of independent media for the freedom of expression but at the same time observed that some of the media groups instead of respecting hard-earned freedom are abusing it to superimpose on themselves the role of being the sole arbiter of power rather than let it be the domain of an elected Parliament.
Hasan also lauded judiciary and said it has woken up to rise as independent to guarantee stable political and economic order. However, he said the real challenge faced by it is in reforming the lower courts where people do not get justice.
The High Commissioner said Dr.Lodhi has been able to collate all important issues in her book. “The selection of authors of various chapters and their relevance to the contemporary issues has made the book a must read for all Pakistanis and those interested in understanding Pakistan.”
He said Dr. Lodhi has also succeeded in challenging the myth of a failing or failed state as frequently churned out by doomsayers. He mentioned that US author Stephen Cohen would not be happy with the prognosis of this book because it directly challenges the thesis presented by Cohen in his book ‘Idea of Pakistan.’
“This pessimism about Pakistan is not limited to Cohen, there are few other scholars who have unfortunately taken upon themselves to discredit anything relating to Pakistan. Nevertheless Dr. Lodhi has tackled the issues with great finesse and demolished those myths which portray Pakistan in bad light.”
He agreed with Dr. Lodhi’s prognosis of a fast emerging middle class in the country which is a good omen for the future of the country. “I am confident that an uninterrupted democratic order is a panacea to country’s long-festering problems,” he stated.