IN the 1950s and ’60s, despite many negative factors (poor infrastructure, lack of industries, inadequate resources and restricted political activity), Pakistan was a much better place to live in. Since the revival of political activity — interspersed with martial laws — the situation has gone from bad to worse on almost all counts. The stress has been on mega projects (motorways, Orange trains, metros, etc.) instead of human development (population control, education, health, jobs, security, poverty alleviation). The rich are getting richer while everybody else is becoming poorer.
The common man’s priorities are different. First on the list is security of life and property. Next is respect of all citizens by the government and its minions (equality as citizens vis-a-vis speedy justice, freedom from undue harassment by government functionaries, the elimination of corruption by improving laws and doing away with discretionary powers).
The common citizen also demands good health facilities, affordable medicines, clean drinking water, unadulterated food and a uniform educational curriculum at school level, preferably at state expense. The VIP culture should be curbed with minimum protocol and security for VVIPs. No private residence should be declared an official residence.
There is a need for dedication and the will to improve the lot of the common man if Pakistan is to prosper.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2017