An Open Letter from a Citizen, to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Shareef, the Prime Minister of Pakistan in Making
My Dear Mian Nawaz Shareef,
People of Pakistan have given you a clear mandate for the third and probably the last time to rule this country. If we overlook the factor of rigging in elections on massive scale for the time being (which is a separate subject for discussion) we can conclude that collective wisdom of the masses, particularly of the Punjab, has decided to test your abilities to solve the acute and serious crisis through which Pakistan is passing. The collective wisdom has taken into account your past experience of governance, your expertise in business management and your rapport with international community, while putting the crown on your head, and justifiably expects that these advantages should be utilized to change the destiny of this nation. It has also given you clear majority in National Assembly so that excuse of any blackmailing or bargaining attached with a hung parliament is eliminated.
The challenges faced by Pakistan can be broadly divided in two categories; one having internal dimension and others having external dimension. I shall here dwell on only those issues which relate to the external front. If you pass the test in dealing which external challenges you would win about 80 % of the battle. The problems on internal front would just require your political will and honesty of purpose.
1. Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline
Please do not back out on Pak-Iran gas Pipeline Agreement. As an expert on economy you know better than anyone else how much importance this project carries for our betterment. Since it involves fostering closer relations with Iran, the agreement will not be digested easily by the west and the US and even by some of our friends in the Middle East. Once we believe that we should have good bilateral relations with all our neighbors including India, then why exclude Iran? Apart from diplomatic pressures from outside, your advisers will come up with many excuses like shortage of funds for this project. Please stand against all odds with resolve and do not budge. I know you can arrange funds for this. Where there is will there is way.
2. Gawadar Port Operation
Please carry forward the policy on Gawadar Port to be operated by Chinese company. The PPP govt had reluctantly signed the agreement with China in their last days in power as they were also under lot of foreign pressure not to sign it. We are already surrounded by forces that are bent upon damaging Pakistan including seceding Baluchistan from us. The presence of China in this region is the only option that can effectively counter this threat and ensure our security. The economic development that will follow this arrangement will go a long way to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger as you have already promised. Everybody knows that presence of Chinese influence in this area will not be acceptable to many countries including the US and India, but you have to put the interests of Pakistan above anything else. So please be careful. If you scum to the foreign pressure and retract from this agreement, you will be unfortunately seen as the tool of foreign vested interests, who have brought you in power to serve their purpose.
3. Foreign Funding of Sectarian Outfits
Please stop the sources of foreign funding to our sectarian religious parties. The news are in circulation that many of our friendly countries in the Middle East are providing huge funds to our religious outfits, some of them defunct, to support their activities. The authenticity of this can be confirmed by your intelligence agencies. If it is true then this is a major factor that is boosting extremism and terrorism in our country. You are expected to use your good offices with our friendly countries and stop the influx of such funds. All such funds, if they are required for welfare projects, should be funneled through government. Our friendly and brotherly Muslim countries should not make our soil as battle ground for religious extremists.
4. The End of ‘War on Terror’
Please note that the war on terror has already come to an end. The US President had already announced an end to the decade of ‘war on terror’ last year. I do not know why Pakistan was so reluctant to announce the same. Please tell the world community that we have now entered the phase of peacemaking, rehabilitation and reconstruction. This requires an active role of Pakistan to stabilize situation in Afghanistan. Any shortcut or ad-hoc measures are likely to create problems as of late 1980’s. Though the foreign powers have their own agenda but please try to convince them that if they want a stable region after the pullout of NATO, the best security arrangement can be achieved by involving Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.
5. Relations with India
And lastly, please be careful while taking extraordinary peace initiatives with India. Everybody desires good relations with our arch rival, but it has to be reciprocal. Take into account their inner intentions and the bargain must be on ‘give and take’. Kashmir dispute should remain cornerstone in our foreign policy and our moral and diplomatic support to the cause of Kashmiri people for self-determination should visibly continue. In any of your initiatives on bilateral relations with India you must take on-board all the stakeholders, including Army, otherwise you are liable to face another Kargil-like embarrassment. While giving any concession to India in terms of, say trade, keep in mind what all they are ready to yield to Pakistan.
Dear Nawaz Shareef, the nation is looking forward to your actions and deeds very eagerly and your govt will be kept under constant focus by the people of Pakistan, so please fasten your belt right now.