Pakistan votes for Change

    People of Pakistan have spoken out loud and clear. They have voted for change. Whether it is for Nawaz Sharif’s The Pakistan Muslim League (N) or Imran Khan’s Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf, the electorate’s intentions are clearly known. They want change.

    For the first time in the history of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a civilian government has completed a full five year term. And, more appreciably, it is the first time again, that transition of power from one civilian government to another is taking place peacefully in Pakistan. Another appreciable aspect of the recent elections in Pakistan is the people’s resolute disapproval and disregard for violence perpetrated by the Taliban to disrupt the elections.

    Despite a number of violent incidents, the people of Pakistan bravely came out in large numbers to vote and be counted. People of Pakistan have conveyed in unequivocal terms their preference for a democratic change. They have thrown out the Pakistan Peoples Party whose government failed to govern the nation. People now expect the new government of Nawaz Sharif to deal with the nation’s problems effectively and govern the nation well. Nawaz Sharif will not find it easy to grapple with an enormity of problems facing Pakistan. He has to provide stability to a country reeling under multiple challenges.

    First and foremost is putting a check on violence perpetrated by fundamentalists. Pakistan has to have peace before it can tackle the problems of economy at home and having better relations with the world, more importantly, with India. Nawaz Sharif is aware of the challenges facing him. In fact, he referred to the problems of unemployment and poverty in his first victory speech.

    He knows he has to turn around the economy. He will need a lot of investment in the country that lacks the very basic infrastructure. There are patriotic people of Pakistani origin abroad who would love to invest in Pakistan but for that Sharif will have to create conditions in the country that will attract investors. Again, peace is the first requisite. Sharif will do well to build confidence of non-resident Pakistanis before any investment could flow in. The youth are restless. They want education and employment.

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    A resurging economy can provide jobs and the youth can provide productivity and the combination can work wonders for Pakistan Nawaz Sharif will have to go an extra mile to have cordial working relationship with Military in Pakistan.With gun in hand, Pakistan military is in a position to dictate terms, as it has done in the past.

    Ten years have gone by since Sharif’s last confrontation with General Parvez Musharaf and he certainly would have worked out some plans to have the Military on his side which, however, does not mean bending backwards all the way. India will be keenly watching Nawaz Sharif’s steps and will expect India- Pakistan relations to improve in times to come. India of course will wish him all success in his third stint as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

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    Volume 10 Issue 41 | New York | Oct 21

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