On August 14th, 1947 when Pakistan came on the map of the world thanks to the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the national motto was ” Apne watan main Apna haiy sabkuch piyarey.” Meaning thereby that every thing in the homeland belongs to the nation, but after fifty years of the existence of Pakistan, the slogan is ” Apne watan main apna kuchnahi haiy piyare.” Meaning thereby that nothing in the country belongs to the nation.
The Federal Minister for Interior while addressing the SITE Association of Karachi the other day has lamented that the Indian press being the organ of an enemy country have been making irresponsible reporting in respect of Pakistan and the pity is that Pakistani press is also following suit. That being so, the Honourable Minister is requested to pin point the irresponsible reporting in Pakistan, so that the readers could sift brawn from hay. The nation will boycott the newspapers that print such irresponsible reports. Since the nation is thirsty of facts, which they do not get from the rhetorical statements of the rulers, they fall back upon the false reports to know the facts as printed in the media.
Nine billion dollars is our annual export earning with seven billion dollars in remittances and Pakistan’s import bill is eleven billion dollars, this five billion dollars are left in the kitty annually. Where does this money go every year? These are unexplainable facts, which make the readers read the so-called false reporting.
The Interior Minister has also stressed that the economic situation in Pakistan is not so grim as to lead the business community to leave Pakistan and invest abroad, but the facts are otherwise. The value of property and industry is going down, during the British Indian days every rupee was backed by gold reserve. Is that so in the present state of affairs in the country. Let the rulers answer this blunt question, the fact is now that in order to create dollar reserve the government is printing currency notes and it is an economic truth that printing of notes only leads to inflation and buying dollars from the local market will only lead to devaluation of rupee. Is it not a fact? To tell the truth, the rupee has been devalued to the tune of 20 % or so in the last 12 months, and the power that be, still says that every thing is hanky dory and there is no cause of panic.
Flight of capital is not the only drain on Pakistan, the flight of brain is also there, young men and women of our country have adopted Canadian nationality and are marking time in Pakistan to fly to their adopted country at the best opportunity after earning whatever they could from their home country. The embassies are minting tons of money in the visa fees. There is a newspaper report that ladies are getting their dresses prepared in large numbers which they are going to use in Western hemisphere, when questioned by one of the tailors, the lady customer advised the tailor also to leave the country as early as possible, this is the ground reality and this is the general situation. Nothing will be acceptable to the nation, which is not transparent to the intelligent mass of Pakistan. After fifty years we refuse to be dumb driven cattle to the cattle shed. Which I am sorry to say we are being moved towards.
Some years ago the import tariff use to be on the average 65 % or so. Now think of the amount available on customs import duties of $ 11 Billion. Over a period of six years this average tariff rate has been reduced to 25 % or so. What a colossal amount of custom revenue lost, and that to at the instructions from subsidiaries of our Western master.
Edible oil, is the major import item, our unscrupulous and indiscreet countrymen are not only the importers of this major commodity but also they have got their export offices abroad wherefrom they buy sub-standard quality of edible oil at dirt cheap price and which is unfit for human consumption and is exported to Pakistan at the standard rates, then there is an edible oil plant located at Port Qasim with the collaboration of Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, and this plant has never worked for more than 20% of its capacity, probably this plant and few more such plants would be a major factor in saving hard earned foreign exchange, would the Ministry of Commerce and Industry look into the grim reality or harp on the tune of every thing being hanky dory.
When the Chief Executive is busy paving the road to peace and tranquility by having a meeting with his Indian counterpart on Kashmir and other issues, is it advisable on the part of his cabinet member to refer rhetorically on India being an enemy country, it is not good to have an enemy on ones hand for all times to come, efforts are being made to bring down Arabs and Israel on negotiating table and this is what General Musharraf is trying to do since October 12th 1999. The nation rallies behind him.
In order to let the nation feel that every thing in the country belongs to them and not that nothing belongs to them and every thing belongs to the politicians. It is necessary that that transparency should be made the rule of law and there should be nothing for national confidentiality, then and only then Pakistan will have good governance and a government for the people.
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.