AAt the end of the year, it can be instructive to revisit and analyze the challenges the world has had to face and the devices and instruments it has deployed to overcome them. We must also reflect on the positive points that came out of the year.
It should be noted that the United Nations has declared 2021 the International Year of Peace and Confidence, the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor. . It is important to stress that such statements are mere iterations that rarely result in concrete action.
Let’s take a look at international affairs before we focus on the national scene. The focus will then be on the situation in Pakistan and the repercussions of international events on its socio-political and economic situation. The government’s firm position vis à vis the United States and its zealous support for the talban regime call for a calm and enlightened analysis.
Only time will tell if tackling the Chinese camp, especially after saying “absolutely no” to American bases and declining President Biden’s invitation to attend a democratic countries seminar was worth Pakistan’s worth.
2021 has indeed been an eventful year. Much has happened that is likely to have far-reaching consequences. With a new president in the United States, hopes for a normalization of US-Iranian relations have been rekindled. However, this remained an unrealized hope.
The myth of American invincibility was shattered when the Taliban took control of Kabul without facing significant resistance. The unceremonious exit of President Ashraf Ghani and his cronies was the shock of the century for the Western Allies (NATO) of the United States. It was also a testament to Joe Biden’s inadequacy and incompetence as US president.
In Myanmar, the elected government was dismissed by an unscrupulous military junta. the Rebellion cracked another myth according to which an era of democracy would be the only political possibility after the annihilation of the regimes of Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak.
The emergence of China and Russia with their own brand (s) of political systems has the potential to pose a serious challenge to the Western style of democracy. The Singapore experience is another example. In fact, with right-wing religious leadership finding ground in many countries, including India, France, and Pakistan, mainstream democracy has a bumpy course ahead of it.
The discourse on development and economic growth is considered by many to be quite incongruous with current practices. The “disproportionate” emphasis on human rights as defined by Western powers irritates many governments in Asia and Africa, who find them hostile to economic development and poverty reduction.
Senior Burmese Army officials welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi’s status as a democracy and human rights activist. Their apologies to take over the reins of government were seen as mere concoctions.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to kneel before protesting against farmers, despite his aura of being a strongman. The power and authority Modi derives from the RSS and its ideology proved unimportant in the face of the farmers, most of whom were from the Punjab.
It can be said from recent events that the winds of change have heralded a new era in several regimes. It remains to be seen whether they can sustain the impact these changes will bring or collapse like Iraq or Libya. Saudi Arabia is one of those regimes.
The Saudi glasnost was the most incredible event in recent history. It started with the catapulting of Prince Muhammed bin Salman to his position of prominence in the kingdom’s governance structure. He was particularly persuaded by then-US President Donald Trump to follow the path of liberalism because he wanted Saudi Arabia to move closer to Israel.
Prince Muhammed appears determined to open up traditionally-bound Saudi society and allow Western liberalism to infiltrate. This caused quite a bit of fury in the Muslim world. Neon, the new city, would be the Los Vegas of the Middle East. This represents a break with the hundred years of socio-religious ethics that Saud’s family established and nurtured with unequivocal determination. Prince Muhammed’s enthusiastic overtures to normalize relations with Israel have also ruffled many feathers. How will the Muslims of the world react to this radical break with a religious ethic and tradition firmly anchored in the Islamic heart?
In Chile, Gabriel Boric, 35, leftist candidate and member of the Chilean Congress, former organizer of student protests, won the second round of the presidential election. The way Chile has conducted itself politically is very commendable. The election was seen as free and transparent and the loser, right-wing populist José Antonio Kast, immediately admitted defeat. He also tweeted that Mr. Boric “is the elected president of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration.”
Boric got 56 percent of the vote against 44 percent of Kast. His victory is part of a regional progressive wave that has already brought leftists to power in Mexico and Peru. In addition to addressing economic issues, Boric, who takes office in March, has pledged to steer Chile in a more environmentally friendly direction, with more guarantees of rights for women and LGBTQ people.
In Peru, left-wing candidate Pedro Castillo claimed victory on Tuesday after the final vote count in Peru’s June 6 presidential election, although his rival, right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, disputes the outcome. Castillo, a 51-year-old rural schoolteacher, has a lead of more than 44,000 votes, collecting 50.12% against 49.87% for Fujimori. “A new era has begun,” Castillo said in a tweet thanking his supporters. “Millions of Peruvians have stood up to defend their dignity and justice. ”
There is a lesson here for us Pakistanis who must also learn to stand up for our dignity and justice. In Honduras, left-wing opposition candidate Xiomara Castro claimed victory in the presidential election, staging a showdown with the National Party which said its candidate won a vote that could end 12 years in power. Conservative party. “We win! We win!” Castro, the former first lady of Honduras who is in her third presidential run, said applauding supporters of the Freedom and Re-foundation party. “Today the people have delivered justice. We have reversed authoritarianism.
Things had been quite volatile in some of the African states. Sudan was the most visible of them. On October 25, the Sudanese army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, took control of the government in a military coup. Initially, at least five senior government officials were arrested. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok refused to support the coup and on October 25 called for popular resistance. On October 26, he was placed under house arrest.
Key civilian groups, including the Association of Sudanese Professionals and the Forces for Freedom and Change, have called for civil disobedience and the refusal to cooperate with the coup plotters. Protests against the coup began on October 25 and at least 10 civilians were killed and 140 injured in military action on the first day of protests.
The setbacks caused by the Covid left almost nothing to remember about the year 2021. Closures, smart or not, tight spaces in hospitals and a greater proportion of deaths in national and class divisions were the the most striking features of this year. A substantial part of national resources has been consumed to import vaccines and ventilators. In relative terms, Imran Khan’s government has risen to the challenge. Pakistan has done better than most, even some developed countries like the UK. Italy and Spain have failed to cope with the virus and its fallout with no measures of effectiveness.
The NCOC is to be commended for monitoring the afflicted and commended for taking the necessary steps to contain the spread of the virus. The international impact of Covid in terms of economic hardship has caused price hikes to the dismay of the middle and poor sections of society. The IMF and FATF have also contributed to Pakistan’s economic difficulties. The introduction of the Kissan and Sehat cards by the current government can be good initiatives if they can be executed effectively.
The hoarding of essential food items has remained a sworn enemy of the government. Judicial reforms are the necessity of the times. The introduction of a single national program has become controversial.
On April 10, demonstrators called for a boycott of French products and the expulsion of the French ambassador. Protests intensified across Pakistan after party leader Saad Hussain Rizvi was arrested on April 12. There was a series of protests and strikes from April 11 to 20, orchestrated by a banned far-right party, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
The protests ended after the government agreed to discuss the expulsion of the French envoy to parliament. Once again, the incongruity of religious forces and the nation-state has become glaring. Some members of the ruling party have reportedly threatened to join the TLP. Vigilance in the name of religion has unfortunately become endemic in Pakistan. It is an alarming development.
The outfits seek to monopolize public space and have promoted a streak of religious extremism in which a factory manager was tortured to death and burned. It’s a stigma that the nation will have to live with for some time.
The author is a history teacher and writer. He can be contacted at [email protected]