Pakistanis holding dual nationality should be allowed to participate in polls
An acclaimed overseas Pakistani has stressed the need to allow dual nationality holders to participate in politics, saying such professionals (as holding dual nationality) can make progress towards resolving chronic problems ailing the national economy.
Being a Pakistani and US national, I can contest elections in the United States of America but cannot do so in my country of origin, says Khalid Jafri while talking to The News. He says he can not understand why Pakistanis like him are allowed neither to contest elections nor exercise their right to vote in the upcoming elections.
Jafri criticizes the decision of judiciary in this regard, saying intelligent minds with the ability to formulate the best policies, execute challenging tasks and steer the country towards right direction, are being excluded from the electioneering process. He also asks the Chief Election Commissioner to allow non-resident Pakistanis to exercise their vote in next month’s general elections.
Being a proud member of US community since 1981, Khalid Jafri is a successful businessman, electrical engineer, farmer and politician based in Stockton, California. Jafri has over thirty year political experience in San Joaquin County. He served as campaign worker for Congressman Shamway and Congressman Richard Pombo. In 1992, he was motivated to run for San Joaquin County Supervisor by the water and economic issues. In 1996, he ran for Mayor of Stockton, when he perceived there to be a lack of fiscal responsibility. In 2000, he ran for the US Congress on issues of social security, health care, economic growth, foreign trade and job growth policies. He succeeded in wining confidence of a large community of the area and got 35 per cent votes in the state assembly elections of California in late 2012.
Jafri took political science and public speaking classes before practically entering into field of politics. Being an engineer, he had no prior knowledge about the dynamics of politics, so he prepared myself for this challenging field. I have been elected central committee member for Republican Party, which is assigned the task of formulating policy, he says.
People like him who are living in other countries are ambassadors of Pakistan and have emerged as very successful persons in almost every field, he says, adding that they proved that Pakistanis could do wonders if they were provided equal opportunities.
Talking about ills of Pakistan political system, he says the contemporary politics has inbuilt flaws that is pushing the country towards backwardness. Especially, last government has shown very poor performance in its five-year tenure and our economy did not perform at all. The price of wheat flour has gone up to Rs 42 per kg and unemployment rate has also increased significantly, causing unrest among the masses. The middle class is suffering the most and braving the brunt of downturn in economy.
Commenting on policy making mechanism in Pakistan and role of politicians, he says, unlike other countries of the world, policy formulation framework in Pakistan is monopolized by a few. This group of ruling elite determines the fate of the whole nation. However, in the USA, a long chain of people and institutions contribute to policy formulation process, he says. In a systematic way, he adds, political institutions and think tanks extensively discuss and seek opinion of stakeholders before recommending policy initiatives. We have one-man-show in Pakistan that takes unilateral decision at policy level, he says.
He thinks policies in Pakistan are flawed mainly due to incompetent rulers. Our politicians are not fortunate enough to have good academic background, he claims and adds that they also lack the vision for running a country.
The experience and temperament of politician very much counts as far as his or her ability to deliver for the country is concerned, Jafri says.
Our politicians even talk non-sense on vital issues being confronted today. They are very personal and talk each other while they need to take a holistic approach for resolving contemporary issues of the country. Politicians used to be a visionary person who could look beyond the horizon and lead his or her nation towards a prosperous future. Unfortunately, we allowed the people to run the whole country who could not even run their own home.
Referring to the role of non-resident Pakistanis, he says, these people have potential to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan but they do not want to bring their money only due to poor governance and corruption. Even a taxi driver wants to invest his savings in Pakistan but he is reluctant only due to ills of governance in the country.
Had we been able to attract investment of overseas Pakistanis, there would have been a real turnaround in the economy of the country, creating millions of jobs and spurring growth in every sector. We should keep in mind the growth success of China which was sparked by foreign investment. If able politicians come into power in Pakistan, our country can become one of the fastest growing economies of the world. We have tremendous resources, Jafri observes, underlying the need for good governance that can make wonders for a real inclusive growth, benefiting each Pakistani.
Courtesy: The News
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