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ANALYSIS: What Pakistan expects in Year 2017?

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The New Year brings new challenges for Pakistani state, society and polity – an year of stabilization after the country passes through the malignancy of terrorism. The country needs a new vision and healthy mindset to stabilize in a world facing existential threats.

Pakistan passed through two critical change of guards this year, in the Army and judiciary. Pakistan’s Army under the command of iconic General Raheel Sharif fought against the existential threat of terrorism-still it needs to stabilize the gains in the war. The country needs to fight the extremist mindset and cut the larger than life role of the obscurantist elements in our society and the statecraft.

To fight a mindset that has led our country away from the real challenges faced by it to the perceived ones and thus dividing and weakening the nation.

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After 2013 general elections Pakistan has traveled a critical road towards economic stabilization with the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout. Though the bailout period and the IMF supervision of the economy has been completed but it is yet to be seen whether the economic managers of the government could guide the national economy to further freedom or request again to the IMF to help them out of the crisis.

The government’s fiscal bosses drumming up about positive indicators of the economy, however, dwindling exports and piling circular debt of the energy sector indicating towards potential Achilles Heal of the Pakistani economy. It has to be seen how the PML-N government tackle these challenges to our national economy.

The government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in past three years of its tenure has proactively worked to overcome the energy crisis that has crippled the national economy. An energy committee of the cabinet headed by prime minister himself shows the seriousness of the matter and the government’s commitment to resolve the crisis.

The government has promised to end the electricity load-shedding by March 2018, which is also the year of general elections in Pakistan.

The new year will be the twilight period of the incumbent government’s tenure, so as we can safely hope diminished hours of power load shedding with completion of some of the under construction power plants within scheduled time.

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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor- a brainchild of the Chinese leadership to promote its trade in the world under the concept of ‘one belt one road’, has been an opportunity and also a challenge for Pakistan’s government and other political leadership to implement the flagship project successfully.

The opposition politicians linked with three smaller provinces of Pakistan have time and again accused the government of providing benefit to its stronghold Punjab.

Political pundits and the analysts having an eye on the affairs between various state institutions are expecting lesser scuffle between the military and the civilian rulers for the political space after recent change of command in the army.

If Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government completes its tenure successfully, it will set a tradition of political stability, as it would be the second five-year period of a civilian government that will be completed after the first complete tenure of Pakistan People’s Party from 2008-2013.

The country faces serious challenges in its foreign affairs with an aggressive and belligerent India on the eastern borders threatening to deprive Pakistan from its due share of the river water under the Indus Water Treaty.

On the western frontier Afghanistan, having closer links and partnership with India, accusing Pakistan repeatedly for its own debacle in the war against Taliban militants.

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How the United States, a close ally of Pakistan for past 70 years, could behave under the new president Donald Trump who is being seen closer to regional rival India than Pakistan.

It looks a realignment going to take place in the region in near future as the old foes likely to become friend and allies and vice versa with Pakistan’s strengthening relations with Russia, along with close and historic all-weather bonds with China; Someone has said that no friends and foes only interests count in state affairs.

Pakistan is passing through an interesting period of its history. In the country an era of stability likely to begin having more mature political system with some established norms of democracy. However the country faces challenges of obscurantism and radicalized mindset of a large chunk of the population. The political leadership and the state institutions have to set more realistic targets and policies with emphasis on seeking solution of real issues and challenges faced by Pakistan and its people instead of entangling in the web of perceived ideological labyrinth.

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