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Being a Beggar and being Proud ?

Editorial, 05 Sep 10

At the moment Pakistan owes US$55 billion to external creditors, which is equivalent to almost 32% of GDP. In fiscal year 2009-10, the government of Pakistan spent up to US$3.4 billion servicing this debt, and this figure will increase dramatically over the next few years with total external debt projected to be US$74 billion by 2014-5.


 Qarz ki peetay thay mae aur kehtay thay k haan,  Rang layea gi hamari faqa musti Aik din.


It is a matter of shame that in the aftermath of the recent floods the only euphoria felt in the country is the growing plea from all quarters to the world to waive off it's loans to Pakistan. We are putting ourselves at par with Haiti when it comes to loans write off, but at the same time claim to be the citadel of Islam and the only   atomic power in the Muslim world. How unlike a self respecting nation. We are addicted to begging. which is blatantly in contradiction with the claims of being a sovereign country. The curse of beggary is aptly exemplified in the following short anecdote:


A  fellow was fed up with his wife's loose character and her indulgence in the world's oldest profession. He pleaded her to stop her activities to which the wife agreed upon one condition. she said if he (the husband) goes out with bowl in hand and begs in the street for three days she would give up her activity. The husband readily agreed and set out to beg. After the three days were over the husband did not bother to contact his wife.She instead approached him and said "well, congratulations, you have fulfilled my condition, now I will fulfill my promise and stop indulging in prostitution". The husband anxiously replied "no, no,  you can continue your business, I will continue mine".


Dependence on Aid and loans started soon after the death of the Quaid e Azam and there was never looking back since then. Pakistan's rulers whether they were in civies or in uniform never thought about the repayment of the loans which they amassed progressively in their tenure of powers. No ruler ever tried to impose Austerity measures on themselves first and in the government spendings in general  at any time except for a prime minister named Junejo (may God reward him) who ordered all govt servants including military generals to use home made suzuki cars. He was soon booted out by the military president Gen Ziaul Haq and so ended a feeble symbolic attempt at adopting austerity in govt expenditures.


Even today, when the country is faced with the biggest disaster in it's history, no efforts have been made to adopt austerity. No personal example has been set by any leader here. Merely canceling Eid celebrations or defense day parade is a joke and means nothing. Some basic steps which should be taken to show the govt is serious about  implementing austerity measures is to:


1. Auction all foreign made govt cars and every official from the president down to the tehsildar should be made to use a local made car of max 1300 cc.  Similarly import of foreign made vehicles both by the govt and private sector should be banned for the next 20 years.


2. Construction of houses on more than one Kanal plot should be banned both in the govt and private sectors. Govt functionaries including President, PM, Governors, Ministers etc should be made to shift into one Kanal houses.


3. All foreign tours unless absolutely essential and that too with minimum personnel should be banned for the next ten years.


4.  Keeping the bare security imperatives into consideration, Defense spendings should be drastically curtailed. and that too should be discussed in the parliament and media.


6. Our leaders should display pride in their simplicity and patriotism. Abdul Sattar Eidhi should be made the incharge of austerity measures in the country with the status of a Vice President and having sweeping powers in this regard, like that of military rulers on taking over.


If we wish to come out of the debt quagmire and regain our self respect, then  there is no other way but to adopt severe and unpopular austerity measures, otherwise we will continue to be in this degraded state. going from bad to worse with each passing day.-- Editorial 05 Sep 10



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