Pakistan

New Zealand’s post-Christchurch action and lessons for Pakistan

By Rafiq Jan

By taking a stand on gun control after the Christchurch attack, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown the world that where there is will, there is always a way. A terrorist attack jolted New Zealand when an Australian origin shooter stormed two mosques in Christchurch and killed around fifty innocent people.

Since then, the world saw Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern become a face of her nation’s sorrow and grief. She didn’t just try to wear a mask of grief. Her passion oozed that pain she felt deep inside her heart. But what is more significant is that her face has been the face full of resolve and commitment to her nation. A promise to the people who honored her to take the highest office of their country.

Her immediate response in the very first speech was her intention to ban semi automatic guns in the country. This was a landmark decision by a country that, until last week, hardly knew the definition of terrorism.

This timely and appropriate step for safety and welfare of its citizens gives a wake-up call to all of us. It highlights the need to respond quickly instead of forming commissions and JITs that take years to conclude.

Pakistan’s ruling elite now needs to learn from Jacinda Ardern that vital and strategic decisions need vision and seriousness instead of JITs. Our history speaks volumes of incapable and rogue rulers – both civil and military – who subjugated the country and used it as a rich grazing field only to usurp the national wealth.

Pakistan has a glistening example of New Zealand to learn from and continue its resolve to cull the proscribed organizations and those affiliated with those outfits for the past three decades. This seems to be a far cry in present domestic political scenario, but some tough and unpopular decisions need to be taken by those in power.

Pakistan now has a clear example in form of New Zealand’s drastic action and needs to follow suit by revamping its own policies on dealing with domestic problems. It needs to stop dilly-dallying on vital decisions in the wider interest of country. It must continue the isolation of banned religious outfits and indiscriminately bring the culprits to justice. This seems to be a tough call by any government under the present situation, but this is the time for Pakistan to prove to the world it means business and has the will and potential to win against all the odds.

However, there are still many challenges that remain.

There were many JITs, commissions and initiatives in the past which did nothing other than wasting time and money in pursuit of those futile practices. These included; the Lahore model town massacre, Karachi Baldia town factory burning, Dawn Leaks, Memo gate scandal, and currently the ongoing serial trials of some high ranking politicians for money laundering, undeclared overseas properties and tax evasion.

All these commissions and investigation teams finally become part of history while the issues remained. Regimes keep changing one after the other inheriting all such pending matters with no obvious plans to address them seriously.

Jacinda Ardern’s role throughout this national ordeal has been heroic and an eye opener for the world’s leaders with dual standards. A reminder that when times are tough, and your people are desperately looking towards you for solace, true leaders rise to the occasion and take bold steps for the longer interest of their nation.

Pakistan must learn from such examples with a nationwide consensus and rethink its strategy to tackle matters of national security. Pakistan also needs to be proactive in its approach and formulate a landmark legislation to nip the evil in the bud. It is only after bringing about changes in strategic policies that will ultimately reverse the global opinion and perception about Pakistan.

New Zealand’s PM proves to the world that to lead from the front in tumultuous times isn’t that easy. It takes iron will to show those who follow you that you care about them from bottom of your heart. You must walk the talk and share their grief and pain.

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