A Grand National Dialogue

So far one thing is clear: the experiment of 2018 has failed. The state institutions had cooperated unprecedentedly and the media coverage was all favourable. Still, the government could not deliver. Once again, there are slogans for change. There is a serious demand for a “grand national dialogue“. The reason for that is that the state is facing most of the challenges, not the government. Therefore, there is an urge to have a grand dialogue at the national level. The reasons for holding the dialogue are:

  • The process of government formation was controversial. Apart from PTI, every party had called the elections ‘fraud’ and ‘rigged’.
  • In the Senate, the national assembly, and the provincial assemblies, the elected opposition leaders have no authority.
  • Pakistan is passing through an unprecedented economic crisis.
  • For the first time, the military’s role in politics is being questioned directly.
  • In the past, the government used to act as a bridge between the establishment and the opposition. The current government thinks that the establishment is with the opposition.
  • The tribal areas in Balochistan and GB continue to remain deprived of basic facilities.
  • Because of the role of the judiciary before the 2018 elections and after it, the institution has lost its credibility.
  • India annexed “occupied” Kashmir but because of its international isolation on the diplomatic front, Pakistan could not force India to reverse the decision
  • Because of the mismanagement of foreign policy by Imran Khan we lost our friends in the Arab world.
  • The issues and developments in West Asia affect us directly. Israel is getting official recognition and there are reports that UAE, Israel, and India are going to form a strategic alliance

These are the challenges that Pakistan is facing at the moment. To deal with them Pakistan needs to ensure ‘unity’ at the national level. Otherwise, the country will face a civil war. The Supreme Court Bar Association should aim at organizing a Grand National dialogue. Or a council of elders can be formed which would include people like Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar and others. The dialogue would engage the government, the army, and the opposition. The dialogue would have four goals to

  • Resolve the current political crisis.
  • Set rules of games to restrict every institution to its constitutional mandate.
  • Create a fair accountability system.
  • Set up a truth and reconciliation commission.
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