BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Pakistan needs to re-imagine itself to contend with the contemporary challenges facing the nation, said Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America and an expert on South and Central Asia.
Delivering the 2nd Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Memorial Lecture today in Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambassador Haqqani underlined the need for Pakistan to re-imagine itself as an inclusive, pluralistic, multi-ethnic, democratic and modern Muslim majority state governed by the rule of law. It was time, he felt, that Pakistan abandoned the ideological paradigm of the yesteryears and moved forward to bring about greater economic integration and exchange in South Asia. He observed that Pakistan should eschew the politico-military strategic doctrine of becoming the centre of global Islamic resurgence for it has proved counter-productive. The need of the hour was to revitalize the stagnant economy to address the basic needs of Pakistani citizens. The Pakistan’s military, he felt, should be commensurate with Pakistan’s resources, for any military overreach only amounted to erosion of scarce resources which could be productively utilized for the growth of the nation. Reeling off statistics to justify his arguments, Ambassador Haqqani juxtaposed the sectoral growth of India and Pakistan only to highlight that Pakistan had performed miserably since Independence. He averred that if the re-imagination of Pakistan remained elusive then the demographic dividend of the state would turn into a demographic nightmare. Pakistan should have an alternative vision for itself. It should adopt a pragmatic approach to define its national interests. A re-imagined Pakistan involves a nation, Haqqani continued, which has high literacy, robust economy, quality healthcare and global connectivity so that it could find peace for itself. Pakistan cannot afford to be in a state of denial. It is the process of re-imagination that will help it overcome the tide of extremism that is sweeping of the country.
In response to a question, Ambassador Haqqani observed that Pakistani military needed a legitimizing ideology and justification for itself. It was time to crack the ideology to erode the proffered justification. Pakistani military, he felt, derived its power from the ideology of Pakistan and anybody who questioned the said ideology came under assault and that included Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Both India and Pakistan need to overcome the burden of history to bring about economic growth in the region. Re-imagining Pakistan was not an event but a process.
Earlier, Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia welcomed the distinguished diplomat and hoped that Ambassador Husain Haqqani’s positive views would help strengthen bilateral ties between India and Pakistan to bring all-round economic prosperity in the region.