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Economy & Governance in Pakistan

China and India are known for their manufacturing and service Industries. The hunger to move up in the innovation cycle is seen in both. However, the lesson of the history is that you cannot get your economies right if you do not get your Politics right.

Pakistan has been a serious victim of bad governance, ethnic rivalries, absence of rule of law and continued as well as strategic campaigns, therefore, could not find the magic formula for combining political control and economic growth, hence could not have a bright place under the sun. It’s a social time bomb to explode pretty soon as its democracy is, in reality, a comedy of errors and anarchy where loot and plunder remains the order of the day.

Pakistan’s Government seldom does a right yet there is so much it does wrong, it’s a strong society bound by a weak state and the style of governance defeats the national agenda thoroughly. It is almost at the brink of ruin because when a nation is weak from top to bottom, it becomes the hub of conspiracies and a soft target to the vested interests and economic tigers who want to lay their hands on its natural resources.

Pakistan today is in dire need of Economic reform. The fiscal control moves hand in hand with a greater need for reforms and investments. In the Pakistani context, this parameter is severely faulted where fiscal discipline, government debt and poorly executed social policies are bleeding the economic landscape. Reforms are firstly slow to come by and secondly the implementation tremendously lacks sincerity and earnestness.

On the other hand, there has always been a greater desire on the part of the governments to control rather than facilitate economic activities – typical case of more government and less governance which gets accentuated by pervasive corruption, lethargic governance, dynastic politics, lopsided economic opportunities and a feeble middle class revolt against the above. Nations thrive when they develop ‘inclusive’ political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become ‘extractive’ and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

If the political institutions are corrupt, partisan and party-centric, national goals are always mired in a phase of loot.

The future of our economy and its reforms should not be decided by the Finance Minister alone hailing from World Bank or some other bankers and economists but it should be decided through a dialogue process among all the sectors and stakeholders hailing from a variety of background.

No economy can flourish unless the society is perfectly stable with strict rule of law prevailing and in this context whatever needs to be fixed, must be fixed. When and if politics becomes an arena of investment for monetary gains, the political parties dole out huge amounts to rally the people around by making lofty promises to ultimately recoup their investments and no economic goals can be achieved.

By traversing through the corridors of history, it becomes abundantly evident that from the very start of Basic Democracy formula of General Ayub Khan down to two terms each of PPP and PML (N) including dictatorial regimes of Zia and Musharraf; favours were dished out to a handful of influential persons in terms of route permits, development funds, ration Depot, mega contracts and allotments to soft and defaulted bank loans and industrial licenses thus widening the gap of unfair distribution of national wealth.

We are a resourceful people, we are the righteous people, we are a resolute lot of people, who do not shrink from the necessary however hard and late it may be. We are a moral people who bravely enter the precincts where idealism collides with realism and come out enhanced. In fact, we are immature people always demanding the nourishment of myth and legend that exalts us. Realities intimidate and unsettle us. This is indeed high time for us to pressurize all leading political parties to come up with a sound, viable and targeted economic agenda. The people voting for a particular agenda ought to monitor the implementation of promised goals. Its more than forty years that promise of food, shelter and clothing for the masses could not be fulfilled yet such parties return to power time and again on the same slogan.

The author has carefully gone through the manifesto of all the political parties and can confidently  say that PTI’s programme is the most progressive sort in intent and purpose. Imran Khan is truly a target-oriented personality and his sincerity dedication to tasks ahead, honesty and leadership qualities are proven in public affairs. The nation has already tested religious parties, PPP and Muslim League (N) many a time and all have disappointed miserably. Seeing the track record it is surely expected that the youth of Pakistan under the leadership of Mr Khan would bring about a long-awaited change in the country for the better.

By: Muhammad Ilyas Sheikh

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