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Pakistan Press (05 Oct 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Discovering Islam in Trump’s America By Farhan Shah: New Age Islam's Selection, 05 October 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

05 October 2017

Discovering Islam in Trump’s America

By Farhan Shah

Safe Workplaces for Women in Pakistan

By Roshaneh Zafar

Homage To Catatonia

By Chris Cork

Afghanistan War: Some Glaring Misperceptions

By Touqir Hussain

Islamabad-Kabul In Retrospect

By Reema Shaukat

Improving Governance

By Amna Ejaz Rafi

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Discovering Islam in Trump’s America

By Farhan Shah

October 5, 2017

At the beginning of September 2017, I arrived in Washington, DC to visit my father’s friend Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, and discuss my research for my upcoming master’s programme. I should have realised that my visit would not simply consist of relaxed sessions over tea talking literary ideas on the East, as Ambassador Ahmed immediately turned my time here into a dynamic and interactive opportunity for professional and personal growth. Before long, I was accompanying him to important meetings with State Department and British Council officials, as well as his interactions with the diaspora community and religious congregations in the eastern US.

Simultaneously, I was granted the opportunity to sit in on a couple of his classes on Islam and gain a brief insight into the college experience in America. It has allowed me to garner a sense of how much of a gulf we, as Muslims, have to bridge with non-Muslims in the West in our own capacity as individuals — unfortunately, not always with the direct guidance of dignitaries such as Ahmed. It also allowed me though to realise that reaching out and making friends can often do more to change attitudes than any government- funded awareness drive.

Ahmed’s class responds with enthusiasm to this multi-layered topic as he sparks the class’ interest by employing the Socratic method — constantly exchanging ideas and asking questions for the class to ponder. He also helped the students better understand the wide diversity within the Muslim world by explaining to the students the characteristics of the three categories of Muslim societies: the modernists who endeavour to balance their faith and keep up with the demands of the world today, the mystics who aim to realise the spiritual message of truth and constancy in the faith and the literalists who try to recreate the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and live their own lives as closely relating to his times as possible.

Evident in America today is a very negative and close-minded perception of Muslims. Often they are seen as terrorists abroad or those who may perhaps sympathise with terrorists at home. The teaching of Islam, already difficult in a post-9/11 world, is now made all the more challenging in Trump’s America, a place where hatred and “othering” of people in society has become legitimised in complete contrast with the country’s pluralistic founding ideals. These binaries prevent Americans from not only engaging with an entire civilisation but also from being able to acknowledge the vast cultural, ethnic and socio-economic diversity that exists within it.

Not many students knew much about Islam. None of the students could say they had heard of modernist Muslims such as Jinnah or Sir Syed Ahmed Khan or that they even existed. They were fascinated to learn that a Muslim leader like Jinnah could even exist. Contrary to stereotypes about Muslims in America today, Jinnah was able to don a suit with a cigar in hand and win over 90 per cent of the Muslim vote in India. No preacher or mullah ever commanded such success at the polls, even though they were in the field against Jinnah — yet they are often portrayed as the only representatives of the faith.

The challenge of this class is thus to convert this absolute lack of knowledge into an understanding of a world that seems alien but whose principles and values are closer to home than these students may realise. The Muslim world is one-quarter of the global population. It simply cannot be ignored.

Yet, even as attacks on mosques, women, minorities and other vulnerable groups intensify in the US, it was heartening to see young American students genuinely wanting to engage with and learn more about the topic, excited about being taught by their Muslim professor.

I realised in these experiences there needs to be a broader understanding of how complex and nuanced the world of Islam really is. The challenge is to encourage the understanding of Islam through this modernist method.

These lessons are not only supposed to be learnt by people in a land far away — they must be reincorporated in our polity at home as well. The interactions with the Hindus forced the Muslims to modernise in South Asia. One may argue intense challenges from within exist in the Middle East. Even in Pakistan today, though, we must ask ourselves whether Pakistan itself is understanding Islam in this method or resorting to binaries and demarcating a nation which was created for the Muslims of South Asia with this compass? Neither we in Pakistan, nor the people living in America are reminded of this. Unfortunately, we are being hijacked today by preachers of intolerance and being accused of not doing enough against this barbarism — a lot of which has emerged due to the intricacies of geopolitics rather than some inherent lust for violence.

I am from Sindh in Pakistan — a land which put great emphasis on cohesion between faiths in society. In this land of Sufis, a common prayer taught to young children in the erstwhile Khairpur state was a simple “Allah — Hindu jo, Muslim jo, Sab Jo Khair Kar.” — “O Lord, please bestow your grace on Hindus, Muslims and all.” This culture that is beautiful, hospitable and famously universal is also in danger of being wiped out.

These are authentic, indigenous values that we appear to be losing in Pakistan today — once more increasingly due to geopolitical reasons. They are not exclusive to Sindh. They are at the core of the existence of the federation, represented in its flag. The challenge is to carry forward Jinnah’s mantle, a modernist law-abiding man, who abhorred mob action and vigilantism — something which the self-described custodians of the faith express relish in doing.

At a dinner to commemorate Sir Syed in Edison, New Jersey, upon receiving the Aligarh Alumni Association of New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s Sir Syed Day Lifetime Achievement Award For Excellence in Literature, Poetry, Arts or The Sciences and/or for Outstanding Public Service, Ahmed explained how Ilm or knowledge is the second most used word in the Quran after that of Allah. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said the ink of the scholar is greater than the blood of the martyr. This is the essence of Islam. It is so unfortunate how this narrative is pushed out of the mainstream.

Attending this gathering allowed me to reflect and think about the philosophy of teaching picked up from Ahmed. It solidified my own thinking on reaching out, as he does, with integrity and trying to remain available in my community, as I try to, in order to create a better understanding. This is a reflection of the finest traditions of Sufi South Asian Islam.

The challenge for Americans is to understand Islam as it is. The challenge for Pakistanis is to go back to a clear and honest understanding of the faith, not allowing it to be infiltrated and hijacked as it is today and confusing my own generation.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1523011/discovering-islam-trumps-america/

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Safe Workplaces for Women in Pakistan

By Roshaneh Zafar

October 05, 2017

WORKING for an institution that is committed to establishing a sexual harassment-free environment, I am often confronted with situations that require great maturity and understanding. Sexual harassment at the workplace is a reality; however, very little data is available to verify the extent of the problem.

Some estimates place the incidence of sexual harassment as high as 93 per cent, while others put it at 50pc. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that a majority of such cases go unreported. Most women when confronted with sexual harassment at the workplace choose to remain silent and do not pursue the issue out of fear of losing their jobs or facing criticism and, in many cases, a backlash.

The truth is that with a runaway population, estimated to be growing at 2.4pc per year, and an economy that is stagnating, promoting dignity at the workplace is imperative if we are to improve economic opportunities for women. Poor, illiterate and lacking social or economic agency, most are employed for low wages in the informal sector. Women are often face dismissal on getting married, during pregnancy or while rearing their child. In such situations, women are less likely to speak out against harassment.

Let us take the case of Fatima (name has been changed), who wrote to me complaining about the unwarranted and unsolicited attentions of her male manager. The latter had made comments about her dress and often asked her personal questions, and on one occasion, when there was no one in office, he had tried to physically harass her; when rebuffed he spread all kinds of rumours about her. The situation had reached this point because Fatima had kept quiet until now and had not communicated with anyone else in the institution regarding the matter.

In such cases, it is hard to provide evidence; often, it is ‘her’ word against ‘his’. Unfortunately, many in Pakistan are quick to judge an individual and even quicker to start a process of character assassination. It is up to the institution to develop robust and effective means for redressal, which should include fair opportunities for hearing the case, having a panel of objective and gender-sensitive individuals both male and female to review each case, and making sure the process is kept confidential.

This is not rocket science and is about building a strong culture with zero tolerance for sexual harassment. It also involves educating male and female staff on the code of conduct and what constitutes professional behaviour.

Ideally, harassment should be dealt with under the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010, and Amendment Act, 2012, which put Pakistan ahead of many of its peers. However, the presence of this law does not do much for women facing harassment daily. Economic necessity and fear of social judgement or humiliation keeps many women quiet — especially those who are widows, single mothers, divorced or the main breadwinners. More often than not, they cannot afford to lose their jobs and therefore are fearful of reporting harassment. Harassment often take place by someone they trust — this added layer of disbelief and shame makes it harder for women to come forward with their stories.

Somewhat similar to Fatima’s story is the Ayesha Gulalai incident where she came forward with allegations of harassment against PTI chief Imran Khan. She claimed to have received undesirable messages from the party founder, but instead of positive results, there was a backlash. Instead of the public discourse being steered towards better workplace policies or improving our understanding of sexual harassment as an important social issue the incident led to a mass smear campaign on social media against Ms Gulalai.

Undoubtedly harassment, especially in the workplace, is a major issue faced by women all over the world. It is very common and stems from lack of proper education, laws and systems meant to ensure that women feel protected and comfortable.

With more women joining the labour force in Pakistan, workplace harassment is something that needs to be dealt with logically and quickly. More so, figures of authority should act as role models upholding high standards of conduct in order to achieve a harassment-free environment. Our societal norms and ideas are deeply embedded in patriarchy; this shows we need to make fundamental changes to people’s way of thinking. Educating the population is the first step in ensuring that women are safe and viewed as more than sexual objects. The path to ensuring a woman’s safety will not be easy, but it is extremely necessary.

Source; dawn.com/news/1361755/safe-workplaces

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Homage to Catatonia

By Chris Cork

October 5, 2017

With 59 dead (including the shooter) and over 500 wounded the biggest mass shooting in modern American history is currently slipping down the rolling news agenda and will be on the inside pages by the weekend. The latest mass-murderer to enter the record books is white, aged 64 and with little by way of a criminal past. He is not a terrorist either, apparently. Your opinions may vary on that one. He was rich (by my standards at least) and a gambler with no known political or religious affiliations. We await the outcome of police examination of computer records and hard drives found at the site of the shooting and in his home, but there is no talk as yet of him being a part of any conspiracy or the tool of any Islamist group, claims by the IS notwithstanding.

And that about wraps it up. As the incident was unfolding and before the numbers of dead and injured climbed I posted on Facebook that there was nothing to see here, move along please and this is just Americans going about their regular business and having a bit of a cull. Fury erupted. I was shock-horror — unfriended. People I had been friends with for years expressed their anger at my callous and unfeeling/uncaring bluntness. They were hurt.

My compassion tap got turned off in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre as far as America is concerned. If the butchery of 20 children in their classroom is not going to shift America out of the vice-like grip of the gun lobby both in and out of politics then nothing will. There are far more deserving recipients of my admittedly limited stock of compassion, and I am not going to waste it on a state that continues to inflict wounds upon itself on a regular basis. There are others on my list of compassion-free zones but let’s stick with America.

‘Move along please nothing to see here’…because there is nothing to see. The stock media responses clicked into gear, tales of ‘heroism’ as the incident unfolded, survivors interviewed by breathless anchors dripping with faux concern. Hey…c’mon…they’re anchors, it’s what they do. The whole nine yards and it was nothing to see beyond rolling reportage. As these words are typed it has already dropped waaay down the schedule of news organisations that are not US based.

And there is nothing to see because there is nothing happening beyond the incident itself. The mighty wall of catatonia was up and running within seconds of first reports on the tickers. There is going to be no consequence beyond a rise in the sale of prosthetics and coffins. Offensive? Look again. See anything happening beyond that? Me neither.

Mass public protests outside of the political mainstream? Good heavens no. Vigils aplenty. Candle sales booming. Truckloads of prayers and heartfelt wishes rumbling along the highways to be unloaded somewhere in Vegas. A shed-full of memorial services this coming Sunday. Oh the horror the horror…and nothing is happening.

So people objected to my use of the word ‘cull’? First known use was in the 13th century. Today usually used in the context of a population reduction usually of a group of animals that have got too numerous. Deer are culled. So are humans, and this was nothing but. For whatever reason the culler had decided to take down as many of his own kind as he could given the considerable resources at his disposal. Terrible? Not really. America — in the big picture — is content for there to be regular culls of its populace, this being the price that must be paid for the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It’s the law.

To be sure there are friends in America that are aghast at my callous position, and they are anything but sympathisers with the gun lovers. Far from it. But they are a minority and a powerless one at that, neutered by a political system that validates the cull and yes is content and is going to remain so certainly for whatever is left of my lifetime.

We’re just cleaning up here…nothing to see so move along please. (Sound of water from hoses washing the floor of the concert venue…)

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1523007/homage-to-catatonia/

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Afghanistan War: Some Glaring Misperceptions

By Touqir Hussain

October 5, 2017

Does history really repeat itself? Yes, but rarely and certainly not in the way we think it does. More often than not it does not, even though some similarities between any two historical events make us believe otherwise. The reality is in historical analogies not only similarities but dissimilarities also are important, and often more important. History is a useful guide to understand the present but we have to be careful how to use it. There is always something new or different in the present and our analysis ignores it at our peril.

By the conventional view of history we feel the Afghanistan war is failing because the country has always defeated empires and it is doing the same now. This, I am afraid, is a mischaracterisation of the war responsible for many a faulty analysis. We have to ask ourselves if the old Afghanistan bears much resemblance to the contemporary Afghanistan (the post-monarchy state) which continues to be called a graveyard of empires like the old one. Did that Afghanistan have al Qaeda, the Taliban and their support base in Pakistan, drug mafia, and an ethnically-divided Afghanistan where the traditional Pashtun-dominated balance of power has been fractured. Not to mention the competing strategic interests of Pakistan, Iran and India; rising China; scramble for energy and resource-rich Central Asia; and the complex geopolitics of today?

To be specific, let us go back to the ’80s Jihad, the first war of the contemporary Afghanistan, and see who defeated whom? Did Afghans really defeat the Soviets proving the dictum of their country being a graveyard of empires? No, Afghans did not defeat the Soviets, certainly not by themselves. It was a coalition of victors comprising a superpower, the CIA, the ISI, and of course the Afghans (majority of them but not all). The Afghans were divided then as they are now. So what graveyard of empires are we talking about? It was essentially the final battle of the Cold War fought in Afghanistan in which America won but the poor Afghans ended up as losers as much as winners. They got rid of the Communists but got stuck with the Taliban. The superpowers went home but regional powers walked in. And soon sneaked in the international Jihad.

It was only a matter of time before another Afghanistan war started. At the end of all this Afghans may yet lose again but they will not be alone. Pakistan too has lost as has Washington. But this is not a defeat of America the empire by Afghanistan. Neither America went there as an empire, nor is every Afghan fighting Americans. Just a radical minority called the Taliban supported at various times to varying degrees by Pakistan, Iran and Russia. If America has failed so has Afghanistan. What graveyard of empires?

Yet another misperception about this poorly understood war, has to do with statements from official sources that Pakistan is not trying to impose any solution of its own on Afghanistan. It desires an “Afghan led and Afghan owned” peace process. This is frankly no more than a politically correct statement making Pakistan look good. Pakistan knows full well the Afghan government is weak and has a legitimacy problem with the Taliban insurgents who do not want to talk to them. By themselves Kabul cannot bring about peace. It needs the help of Islamabad and Washington.

Even this talk of a regional solution to facilitate a political solution is a myth. How can you have a political solution without an internal reconciliation in Afghanistan? And Afghans need reconciliation not just with the Taliban and the alienated population sympathetic to them but also among the divided Unity Government that masks serious internal cleavages and discord, including ethnic tensions. And how can regional countries help if their own relationships among themselves remain conflicted in which Afghanistan is more of an effect than a cause?

Finally there are the key misperceptions as to what the Trump strategy means. It is widely believed that Trump is looking for a military solution which frankly he is not. It just appears that way. Similarly contrary to appearances India is not being invited to play a security role in Afghanistan (Does India need a US invitation to get involved in Afghanistan!). India is essentially being asked to share Washington’s economic burden in Afghanistan. Trump’s speeches are heavily political aimed at his base trumpeting America First theme and burden sharing by allies. The call to India was more for domestic audience.

Unlike the failed strategies of the Obama administration, “we will fight and we will talk” and later “we will talk and not fight”, the Trump team wants to fight first and talk later. And fight with a strategy that has not been tried before — address the sanctuaries issue more forcefully, get re-involved in counter-insurgency with a different military approach and tactics and try to take the fight to the Taliban and possibly to Pakistan. The thinking is that it will force the Taliban to talk.

Does Trump have a right strategy? I have my doubts. Americans rarely have had a right strategy in fighting insurgencies, civil wars and wars of national liberation as the Vietnam war proved so tragically. Ken Burns’s 10-part documentary on the Vietnam War currently being shown on PBS Television here in the US gives an enormous insight into this failing.

Basically the Americans want to get out, of course leaving behind enough military presence for counter-terrorism operations and for an advisory role. But only after they have achieved some degree of pacification if not a peace deal. Whatever the original aim, Americans are there now not so much for geopolitics but for reasons of national security to which terrorism remains a big threat. It has been a poorly fought war, and they want to salvage their image, aiming not so much for peace with honour — whose time is long past — but peace without dishonour.

Much would depend on Pakistan’s role. It is the most consequential external player after the US but is seen, rightly or wrongly, by both Kabul and Washington as having been part of the problem. The central role will of course belong to the Afghan government whose own failure more than that of anyone else has brought this war to such a sorry pass and suffering to their great country.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1523018/afghanistan-war-glaring-misperceptions/

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Islamabad-Kabul in Retrospect

By Reema Shaukat

October 5, 2017

IRONICALLY both Pakistan and Afghanistan were not able to enjoy relations in fine fettle since post-Cold War time frame. Pakistan being a neighbour to war-torn Afghanistan and for the sake of humanity hailed migrants of Afghan war. But these relations were time tested after 9/11 and war against terrorism. This war against terrorism pressed Afghanistan security and stability towards more chaos. Instead of finding long term peace this country was pushed into muddle of proxies, insurgencies, political chaos, poverty, regional and international powers interest, thus all augmented Afghan morass.

Time and again Pakistan has always understood Afghan dilemmas and extended helping hand to restore steadiness in Afghanistan and particularly for regional harmony it has played crucial role. Pakistan has always stretched its role on forefront to ensure that peaceful Afghanistan turns out for peaceful Pakistan too. Recently when US President Trump announced new policy for Afghanistan encompassing role of India and regional players, that dogma apart from raising brows on the role of US and NATO for past several years asks Pakistan to do more. US President announced that more troops will be sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan in this regard must do more to harness militants or face sanctions if not able to do so.

Afghan officials welcomed Trump statements but for Pakistan such charges of sheltering militants are not acceptable. Pakistan has always initiated efforts to bring back amity in Afghanistan and world acknowledges its energies to curb menace of terrorism. For accusations of Trump it answered simply that Afghan war cannot be fought in Pakistan and demanded that the U.S. military should eliminate sanctuaries for terrorists on the Afghan side. For Pakistan, both US and now role of India which has proven facts to export terrorism, want Afghanistan soil to be used against Pakistan.

On the other hand, US very well understands that without the role of Pakistan, it cannot achieve success in war against terrorism. US General Joseph Dunford while highlighting Pakistan’s efforts said that “we cannot be successful in Afghanistan which we’ve seen over the last several years, unless we have a higher degree of cooperation from Pakistan. So Pakistan is absolutely an integral part of the strategic review that’s ongoing. Pakistan has key role in the region as well as in Afghanistan”. Whereas after announcement of new Trump policy, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that US, with its new strategy for breaking the deadlock with Taliban insurgents, is not going to give up the fight in Afghanistan. In a recent visit to Afghanistan Jim Mattis said that “we will not abandon Afghanistan to a merciless enemy trying to kill its way to power.

With our new conditions-based south Asia strategy we will be better postured to support Afghanistan, as your forces turn the tide against the terrorists. The U.S. plan calls for a larger military presence in Afghanistan”. With all such steps one can analyse that the Trump administration hopes its more assertive stance in Afghanistan will result in enough military gains to pressure the Taliban to the negotiating table. But there appears no reason for the insurgents to lay down their weapons. Currently, the US backed Kabul government controls only around 60 percent of the country while the Taliban controls the other 40 percent. Therefore, US must act wisely and review its previous strategies in war against terrorism.

To enhance mutual cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pak Army Chief recently visited Kabul for constructive talks with Afghan leadership. Apart from talks with Afghan counterparts to strengthen bilateral security cooperation ways for effective border management were also discussed. Relations between Islamabad and Kabul have been tarnished by mistrust and misgiving, with Kabul mostly accusing Pakistan for supporting anti-state militants. Apart from blame game by Afghanistan, Pakistan has always stressed for effective cooperation on matters of border management. Army Chief met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and both sides discussed regional security, bilateral relations, fight against terrorism, trade and transit. The Afghan president highlighted that the time has come to take practical steps towards creating an atmosphere of mutual trust. After talks he said that Pakistan assured of its readiness to cooperate in tackling the threat of terrorism which both countries are facing and supported Afghan-led efforts to promote peace. Whereas, Pakistan has always emphasised the need for the two countries to resolve differences by relying on bilateral mechanisms and dialogue. The Afghan government and the United States claim insurgents using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil for launching attacks in Afghanistan.

While Islamabad has always rejected such charges and insists that no such activity takes place on its side of the border because of sustained anti-terrorism operations the security forces have undertaken over the past few years. To ensure proper border security Pakistan proposed building of a fence and new security outposts on the nearly 2,600-kilometre border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In past the border was free of observation posts and infiltrators were able to move freely from both sides but today 90 percent of the areas from Pakistani side is difficult to infiltrate.

However, nothing concrete comes up on border management from Afghan side as they oppose fencing saying this time old international border demarcation is disputed. For a long term peace and stability in Afghanistan, a clear message and steps should be taken by Kabul. Afghanistan’s internal peace, political stability, sincerity in efforts to restore peace and determinations from all segments of society should come up for stable Afghanistan. Pakistan has always guaranteed and will continue its support for peaceful Afghan solution and eradicating terrorism.

Source: pakobserver.net/islamabad-kabul-retrospect/

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Improving Governance

By Amna Ejaz Rafi

October 5, 2017

GOVERNANCE is to manage a country’s economic, political and administrative affairs. Governance has a pivotal role in the life of a nation; it is an inevitable phenomenon for the smooth working of state machinery, it can lead a nation to glory and can also make it fall. State structures responsible to ensure governance are Judiciary, Executive and Legislature. In a broader perspective, governance is the way in which individuals and institutions – public and private – manage their affairs. Political stability, rule of law and public participation in policy making and implementation are the essence of good governance. At the urban and rural levels, local officials, landlords, associations of farmers, trade unions, NGOs, religious leaders, land mafia and powerful families influence governance. Besides, media, international donors, multi-national corporations also have a say in the decision-making process. Seeing the prevailing situation in Pakistan, the picture is bleak with rising challenges of poverty, energy crisis, unemployment, law & order and corruption.

As per the findings of the annual Corruption Perceptions Index, released by Transparency International “Pakistan ranks at 116 of 176 countries, included in the index for the year 2016”. The father of the nation referred to corruption as “poison” (speech to the constituent assembly, Aug 11, 1947). Unfortunately, the corruption in Pakistan is rampant at all segments of the society. The tradition of nepotism and political recruitments has spawned a culture of “uncontrolled corruption”, thereby, the working environment discourages honesty and compliance to duty. The deteriorating conditions of agricultural and industrial sectors has led to unemployment. The educated jobless youth out of frustration, indulge in crime and other evils.

To bring an end to the corrupt practices and to promote the equitable, accountable and democratic norms and to end the mal-governance requires legislation followed by effective implementation/enforcement. Parallel to this should be an independent judicial system in which, the dispensation of justice must be irrespective of class, creed and religion. Stable economic growth is also one of the major components of good governance. Government should create an investment friendly environment in order to boost up the economy and industrial activity. A major area of reforms in Pakistan is to create space for the growth of new entrants in the private sector by removing the bureaucratic constraints and smooth operations.

Law and order situation should be made conducive and encouraging for foreign investors, so that the FDI may be enhanced for the ultimate benefit of the nation and the country at large. Private sector participation needs to be encouraged at all levels. The objective should be to create a conducive environment wherein both the public and private services can function side by side, and contribute towards the development of the country. Also, to further rule out the uneven allocation of resources, and ensure the proper utilization of resources at the grass root level, the federal government has to keep a watch over the functioning of the local/provincial governments, but this should not be tantamount to interference. In Pakistan, the tax system lacks fairness. There needs to be a continuity in the budgeting policies. The projects undertaken during one government’s tenure should be completed even if the new government takes over. Loans to start mega projects should be made public and should be accepted after a debate has been conducted and consensus reached. This would enhance the public’s confidence in the government.

Education is another area which needs to be focused. Imparting education and creating awareness among the masses can bring a positive change in the development, thus, contributing immensely towards good governance. The syllabi taught in schools should cover the religious, historical and cultural aspects. While the sentiments of provincialism and sectarianism should be negated, with an aim to make the society more tolerant, moderate and progressive. Lastly media highlights the policies of government or criticises its malpractices; the projection should be balanced and should not result in maligning the image of Pakistan.

Source: pakobserver.net/improving-governance/

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