High grocery bills, poor levels of education, lack of unity, et cetera and et cetera. If you begin to list the problems the Pakistani people face today the list could go on for pages and pages.
Most would argue these are obstacles that a country must overcome in order to thrive as a democracy. The U.S. has been a long-time financial supporter of Pakistan in hopes of helping establish a democracy there and, now more than ever, ensuring the country does not fall prey to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Then, why is Pakistan still failing when the U.S. is willing to cut them a slice of cake and perhaps even spoon-feed them a solution?
U.S.-Pakistan relations remain strained because of weak leadership in Pakistan. Not until a new political face comes into office will U.S. and Pakistani citizens see the desired results.
On the foreign policy and national security front, Asif Zardari’s leadership has been ineffective. CIA drone attacks and ISI initiatives complicate the strained relationship between the two nations. The Raymond Davis debacle confirmed all doubt regarding U.S. involvement in Pakistan. The situation also confirmed that the U.S. does not fully trust Pakistan to carry out the job of combating terrorism within its borders on its own. This should serve as a red flag for America that their continued monetary support is not addressing the problems they had hoped to remedy. One can only wonder where the funding provided to Pakistan is being spent.
The same leadership that is failing to maintain a relationship with the U.S. does not seem to be doing much for its nation either. Earlier this year, Time Magazine reported that Pakistan has one of the highest percentages of total household consumption expenditures going to food. Nearly 46% percent of Pakistanis’ annual income is spent on groceries, whereas in countries like the U.S. we spend about 7% on the same commodities. These numbers indicate economic instability and often times point to political unrest. The government of Pakistan has not been able to regulate the economy and stop the rise in prices. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, as there is also a lack of a workable tax system. Most of the wealth in Pakistan is circulated among parliamentary members because they fail to pay any taxes which would be used to aid the public good. These circumstances make it impossible to survive on a median income.
At the end of the day, those affected most by the scenarios mentioned above are the citizens of Pakistan. Many struggle to survive and fear for their life because of the high cost of living and unexpected attacks by either extremists or intelligence teams.
Pakistanis need to wake up and smell the coffee. Pakistan already claims to be a democracy, however, the government fails to provide its citizens with the comforts associated with the term. If the U.S. begins to knuckle down and question where their foreign aid is being spent and the Pakistanis actually make an effort to vote for change – both parties can help push out the current leadership.
Political faces like Imran Khan can bring about the change needed, but not until the general population of Pakistan recognizes the need for change and mobilize will we see a light at the end of the tunnel.
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