Essay No. 108:
Eternal Vigilance Is The Price Of Liberty: The maxim requires of every nation – big or small, to be vigilant to safeguard its freedom. Freedom is the most precious thing to be loved to admire. A nation that does not love freedom, in fact, loves servitude and slaver. Freedom thus has to be guarded against all possible dangers.
Nations that have belligerent neighbours, have to be aware of their evil designs. A slightest lapse or negligence on the part of the comparatively weak can encourage the powerful, the strong to launch aggression against the former. A poor, weak country has to be in a state of perpetual preparedness to deal with aggression that might be clamped on it at any time.
Pakistan since its inception has been facing a powerful neighbour. It has a number of standing disputes with India, including the Kashmir, which it wishes to resolve in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan and India have fought two wars, which have not helped either party so far.
The dispute continues to hang in balance, much to the detriment of both the parties. Lately, they have resorted to the process of dialogue through the adoption of certain Confidence Building Measures (CBM). In view of the existing hostility, Pakistan is a small country as compared to India, has to cater to its defence needs in order to meet any challenge in future.
The defence cannot be slackened under any condition, as long as disputes with India remain unresolved. Defence consumes a large proportion of budgetary resources in both countries. A small percentage of resources goes to the Public Sector Development Programme to increase the pace of capital formation.
Top of all, social sectors like education, health, housing are starved for want to resources. Social sectors thus remain undeveloped in Pakistan and India. In view of the scarcity of budgetary resources, the government in Pakistan finds it rather difficult to increase the financial allocations for financing education and health.
If the standing disputes are resolved in a spirit of giving and take then spending on defence can be increased. Resources hitherto going to defence, would now be available to be diverted to social sectors. That would give a boost to social sectors in India and Pakistan.
The best strategy of defence is to empower people in the real sense in Pakistan. Planned endeavours are needed to reduce economic poverty. The economic living of the people should be improved. This can be done by raising the level of GDP. If this happens, it would go a long way in increasing income per capita of the people to upgrade their living standard. Economic empowerment of the people is the need of time.
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Political institutions need to be strengthened to promote political empowerment of people. Rule of law should prevail in the country. The regime of merit should be encouraged for dispensing justice to the people. People being a victim of repression, tyranny cannot defend their country properly.
The real defence in a country lies in the people. If people are economically, politically empowered and are not subject to any repression, enjoying their rights according to the constitution, would better be placed to defend their country properly.
The defence is modern times has to be perceived in a wider perspective. Of course military, naval, air force defence is inevitable. It cannot be neglected. However, the best defence is to empower people in a developing country like Pakistan. Their economic, political problems need to be resolved on a priority basis through the development of varied type institutions.
Human Resource Development should be the top priority agenda of the government. Higher Education is receiving priority at the hands of the Higher Commission. Let us make the defence of the country impregnable through education and empowerment of people.