The common man’s plight

While government has been crying hoarse to work for the poverty alleviation of the common man, the steps taken are just to the contrary and to fill the coffers of the government. Governments in Canada and America and in Europe provide free medical aid to their citizen but in our country the common man alongwith the uncommon high-up has been saddled with the responsibility of paying 15% GST and 3% additional price on medicine that is 18% on each and every medicine. Now the sick man will go sicker and probably end up to his grave for want of medicine, which he can ill afford to buy? Everyday that passes there is a price hike on every consumer item, recently price of petroleum and petroleum products have been raised, this has raised the transport cost and bus fare, which again is the common mans item. Gas prices have also been raised, so is the cost of telephone calls, which also contains many incidental charges mentioned in the bill, electricity bill are no exception, what is the purpose of presenting a budget every year and the budgeting control when all the items on which the budget is framed are raised, right, left and center at the sweet will of the power that be, there is no sanctity of the budget, it has lost the confidence of the nation.

The government on the face of it appears to be no better than a retailer who wants to make money for every quarter, right, left and center. Recently 34 firms represented Turkish businessmen delegation visited Pakistan in the middle of February 2002 for Pak-Turkish Joint Business Council meeting on 16th February at Federation House and they also held a single country exhibition at Karachi. One of the influential or a boot licker managed to get the exclusive contractual rights for providing support services to this Turkish delegation. Given below is the list and rates charged for some of the services provided by contractor to Turkish delegates and visitors:

Photograph Available

The whole purpose of this particular supplier of support services was to make as much money as possible, surely this is not the purpose of joint ventures in trade and industry or exports, much less a government in office. This single country exhibition was the joint venture of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and FPCCI and the top brass of both these organisations succumb to the pressure of this particular influential who managed to fleece the Turkish delegation. This is not the way to compete in international markets of cooperation. Turkey imports rice to the value of US $ 97.6 million in the year 2000 and Pakistanis share is US $ 0.32 million, just 0.03%, while we are a rise producing and exporting country and Turkey is a brother member country in ECO also. Pakistan has miserably failed to enter into the Turkish market, with the kind of thinking as depicted in the supply of support services to visiting Turkish delegation Pakistan will never be able to enter any international market.

Pakistan is also producer and exporter of quality surgical instruments. Turkey’s annual import of this item is US $ 290 million. Pakistanis share is only US $ One million. What a pity, no wonder our un-imaginative bureaucrats, commercial councilors should awake and arise to serve Pakistan irrespective of their personal earnings at the cost of the tax payers and the common man. Pakistan needs an Ataturk, who can inspire the nation. General Pervez Musharrafs early life has been spent in Turkey and it is now for him to prove to be an Ataturk.

History records that when the Greek Generals were presented to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to sign the surrender documents, Kemal Ataturk did not tick them off in his frenzy of victory, he received the Greek General at lunch and said ” Come on General, war is a game in which some time the genius lose.” This is unlike Lord Montgomery, who ticked off the German Field Marshal Kietel, while signing the victory in Europe documents in Versailles or unlike the American five star General Douglas Mcarther, who rode Emperor Hiro Hitto’s white stallion to victory and received the surrender of Japan in Tokyo. Here lies the difference between Muslim and non-Muslim. A Musalman can never be a terrorist, he can only be a freedom fighter and there is a very thin line between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. Only one has to discern between the two from the facts of history.

Mr. Shokat Aziz, the Finance Minister is representing Pakistan at the United Nation Conference on financing for development in Monterrey, Mexico. Rich countries failed to hold both their own aid agencies and international institutions like IMF and World Bank accountable for results. At this juncture I am reminded of a verse in Holy Quran that God will not change the fate of the nations, who do not strive to do so. Pakistan is still great because of its manpower, resources and strategic position; it needs only a leader to harness these resources into a nation of steel as was done by Chairman Mao Tse Tung. China gained its independence two years later than Pakistan, where are they and where are we.