The New Year begins with new hopes, despite the tumultuous year that was 2020. The world found itself in the grips of a pandemic that pervaded all aspects of life for individuals as well as nations. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, the world finds a sense of optimism in the vaccines that have finally been formulated to protect against coronavirus. For Pakistan, like almost every nation, the virus came with a host of challenges; not only did it put a strain on our healthcare facilities but it also impacted an already struggling economy. Moreover, Pakistan faces grave threats to its peace and security from within and, more importantly, from without. The situation on our eastern border along LoC is tense due to aggressive policies of the enemy. The enemy has also been targeting our forces in the provinces of KP and Balochistan. These challenges, in addition to COVID-19, demand a higher sense of responsibility as a citizen, a family, and a society. We stand at a precipice where any weakness on our part can prove to be costly for our nation.
By the grace of the Almighty, with adequate policy measures, and responsible attitudes by the populace, Pakistan was spared from the worst effects of the pandemic. Now with the second wave, again we are called upon to act responsibly and cautiously; the vaccine might be out but we will have to wait a little longer for it to prove to be truly effective. If we let the pandemic take the course it has in many other countries, given the state of the economy and the perils to our security, we would be in a complex situation where dealing with these obstacles will become difficult. That is something we absolutely cannot afford.
In the New Year, we will have to have a new and more robust response to the challenges that we face. It is crucial that we do so united and as a whole. Every citizen — be it man or woman, old or young — has to play their part. Women in particular have to step up to the plate, as they are equal stakeholders; now is not the time to sit back, now is the time to act. Changes in attitude and behaviour are a must. Not only do we need to take care that we do not fall prey to the pandemic physically, but we have to fight it to make sure that we can limit the impact that it can have on our economy. We have to make lifestyle changes not only in the way we eat to boost our health but also in the way we spend to bolster our economy. This will have to be done in congruence with the efforts to become more productive citizens. We cannot sustain a culture of overspending when almost half of our population make no active contribution to the economy.
Pakistan is a country that has a huge human resource pool that we are not fully tapping into. The road to being a strong nation is long and hard, fraught with challenges, and procrastination will slow down and delay us, and cause stagnation. The changes that we need to make might appear to be drastic and some might think that they should come gradually, but it is time that we play our part more actively, whatever may our capacity be, in working towards fighting the challenges that confront us. HH
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