Looks like everyone is worried about Pakistan’s economy and the only person who is not worried about the economy is the Finance Minister of Pakistan. A new kind of flavor is in the air where some unprecedented onslaught is in the air . Out of character in terms of the country’s politics where a verbal exchange is happening in the media . In yesteryears there would definitely been a Martial law by now.
What I intend to bring to the notice of the readers is the statement by the current Minister of Interior Iqbal Ahsan where he is heard admonishing the ISPR and related on hinting at the non performance of the economy. I am sure soon we would hear that the statement was taken out of context but we must analyze this in detail .
What is ironic that the double standard of the Interior Minister cautioning Pakistan Army for interfering in civilian matters whilst he himself being in government and an open opponent of Army’s intervention as we recall his activism during Musharraf days has sadly been very quiet when the same civilian supremacy was put into question in the city of Karachi where Rangers ignored the civilian supremacy time and again and unleashed a state operation against Muhajir political forces in Sindh. The same Minister who held a different portfolio at the time at State level chose to remain quiet . Selective approach I guess and which only kicked in when he was barred from entering the judicial complex by the Punjab wing of the same force “Rangers”.
The current Interior Minister was quick to criticize this overture and even went to the extent that he threatened to resign . Nonetheless all I can say is that when millions of Muhajirs watched this news that he was manhandled at the judicial complex they all gave a smile where ever they were . In Pakistan or abroad and even in London. The only phrase which most of the Muahjirs had to say was “How does it feel now?” . Anyways the Minister of Interior spoke again but only almost one week late after ISPR’s press briefing which spoke at length on various issues including the rise of hate speeches but also to reassure the world of their commitment against radicalization.
The recent statement of the Interior Minister is quiet astounding as Pakistanis we were expecting a resignation instead after his tirade a few days ago but has anyone ever done it in Pakistan respectfully. Even Chaudhary Nisar had to wait for being edged out of the cabinet only to be taken out of the picture. His main argument was that why the Army Chief at a speech recently raised questions on the nation’s economy when the question was raised that the “Tax to GDP ratio needs to be improved” . Here I have two questions in mind .
First of which is off the Interior Minister that why not the Finance Minister chose to respond and instead an Interior Minister responded . Doesn’t the finance minister have ability , knowledge or grit to respond to the question being raised on the economy or he just doesn’t care. Think that they all missed the point. Perhaps the Army Chief is hinting that if the Tax to the GDP ratio is improved or the Tax net improved than means more money available to spend on the defence of the country as 70% of whatever we will collect will go to them. With all what is happening around and the challenges along all the borders both on the eastern and western borders . I am sure we need to raise more regiments and which needs money . Now CPEC can bring that much only . With the option of foreign aid drying up. The only other way to do it is to increase the Tax collection . This is in my opinion was perhaps the Army Chief hinting at . The only problem is that he was doing it at the wrong forum speaking in Karachi and also was responded by the wrong Minister.
The second question which rises here is that Pakistan Army was in power between Oct 12th 1999 and till 2007 at least . I remember Army sponsored Tax surveys did happened extensively where all government officers went on foot with Army jawans to document the Tax economy. That didn’t work out. I wonder what alternate does the chief have in mind to increase the net since looks like both the civilian and military efforts have seemed to be failed in the last few decades. So the question is how we generate more money ? After all you can make and sell that many DHA’s . The concept of Demand and Supply will kick in eventually and marginal returns will fall on such properties or projects .
The problem is clear in Pakistan as I see being someone who has a bit of management experience that everyone is worried about other’s job without worrying about their own. Why would I say that ? Simple! Pakistan Army successfully and proudly recovered Canadians from captivity in Kohat Area after years of captivity . I hope no Jawan lost his life as it always pains me seeing our young men die due to follies of others. The question raising in my mind that is how did these captives managed to reach this far in the first place with so much presence of security. Reason is simple that those responsible for security are worried about politics and those responsible for politics are worried about money and those who are responsible to elect the right leadership are worried about everything else than choosing the right leadership.
Someone called the nation a Banana Republic . Indeed it is looking like one as the same Minister who chastisized Pakistan Army a few years ago in the National Assembly is now the Defence Minister. Those who have mocked the same are the patriots and those who came in support in millions in Karachi are traitors. Banana Republic it is becoming off indeed. Anyways as they say the circus goes on.
But as I write my city is still in shambles. All kind of leaders come to speak in it as conquerors but none do enough to build the largest city of Pakistan . I hope that the real Finance Minister will come out and address the concerns on seemingly the shortage of funds raised by the Army chief for the future planned expeditions both foreign and domestic.
The current verbal hostility seems to heat up but we will see if it would be beyond what it looks like today as I am sure with the upcoming visit by senior officials of the United States government things would need to be tidied up . Looks so it has begun. I just hope that people of Pakistan are allowed to work with independence positively for this country. Towards the nation which Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisaged.