Financial Post & Times

Finance has always played the role of a spinal cord of the progress of any nation and the country. A strong economy is always backed by a strong financial system/operation. In the absence of a strong financial base/infrastructure the country can neither be strong militarily nor the nation can be healthy physically, mentally and economically. In order to develop a strong financial state, financial institutions are a must, in order to oversee and inculcate financial discipline in the financial managers. The pity with Pakistan has been that no financial institute worth the name could be developed and if at all developed, were placed under the surveillance of foreign so-called experts who were not Pakistani and could only safeguard the interest of their masters vis-é-vis Pakistan.

It was in sixties when Pakistani economy was about to take off, the phobia of twenty-two families eating the cake was injected into the body politics and the financial policy fell a victim to the political atmosphere of the country. Finance is a highly technical subject and does not mix well with politics and thereafter Pakistan’s economy started in the reverse gear. I remember a Pakistani bureaucrat who has been Governor of State Bank, Chairman Wapda, Finance Secretary, Finance Minister, Chairman Senate and President of Pakistan, saying that he holds the economy of Pakistan in his two closed hands, the right is the income side and the left is the expenditure side and he knows which one to tighten and which one to release at a given time. Surely this exercise could not be done by an expatriate working for his foreign master and not for Pakistan.

While the infant state of Pakistan was struggling through the pangs of birth, it needed a system of financial reporting so that the nation could be kept informed about the financial state of affairs, which is always depicted only through the financial institutions and the power that were got busy in the happy game of musical chair, little caring about the nation and its finances and that is why the financial institutions could not develop and financial reporting suffered a set back right from day one. A little bit of reporting is done by the daily newspapers on their individual initiative, in this scenario Financial Post has taken a lead and it was in May 1994 that Mr. Riaz Mansuri, Mr. Shahrukh and Mr. Tauqir Mahajir joined hands to launch Financial Post, which was some time later joined in by Mr. Wajid Jawad replacing Tauqir Mahajir and Shahrukh. This is now headed by a very dedicated Qudsia K. Khan as Chief Editor and Chief Executive. This newspaper is strictly devoted to promote financial reporting in very adverse circumstances where the source of information about the financial health of an organisation is only its balance sheet, which is very ably audited by a Chartered Accountant, while the inside story may be very grim.

Financial reporting does not necessarily mean the printing of the balance sheet and thrive on advertisements being issued by the financial institutions and the multi national companies to print their saga of the particular institution being healthy, wealthy and wise. Pakistan faces a great debt issue and has not found place in the financial reporting of any newspaper to educate and update its ardent readers. Pakistan has yet to pay $ 21 Billion in its foreign debt servicing liability during the period of July 2000 to June 2004 and the nation is still in the dark about it, rather our leading dailies carry banner headlines on receiving yet another tranche from foreign donors to add to our liabilities which is breaking the back of the nation with spiral high rise in cost of living of the common man, while our daily newspapers continue to be happy with their large circulation and printing of advertisements, they have ignored this grim financial situation of Pakistan which has upset the budget of every domestic household. It therefore falls upon the financial reporters to educate the readers and daily Financial Post deserves to be congratulated to fight their lonely battle without any financial help from any quarter whatsoever. This is the only newspaper conspicuous for the absence of advertisements.

The financial reporters, who are the second line of defence in the matters of state should take a lead in discussing the vital issue of debt servicing, whether or not Pakistan should go for Moratorium, should the newspapers not start a gallop poll or a popular vote. I for one is in favour of it. So be it, so far as finances are concerned, let there not be any holy cow, how so ever wealthy and healthy he may be and can pay tons of money in advertisement.

Another compatriot to Financial Post is Daily Business Recorder, who in its own right is now a newspaper tycoon, meddling more in the politics of the media rather than the requirements of the readers of the financial reports to help them invest more and more in the economy of Pakistan. Pakistan’s economy has also suffered largely for lack of authentic financial reports and the readers wish all the good wishes and good luck to Qudsia Khan in her Herculean task of managing Financial Post with more zeal and commitment with Pakistan. God blesses them all.

Mr. Ali Ashraf Khan is a Pakistani Businessman and Ex-Politician who bid good bye to politics in order to concentrate on more useful service benefit of the political intrigues prevalent in the National Political life of Pakistan. He frequently writes for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan.