Tuesday September 06, 2016
Mir Taqi Mir and Pakistan's Economic Ailments
We do not know the exact context of the couplet written by Urduís classic poet Mir Taqi Mir that reads: Mir Bemar Hoye Jis Ke Sabab Ė Usi Attar Ke Launday Say Dua Lete Hain: We acquire prescription from the Son of the same quack who made us sick.
In whatever context Mir wrote this couplet it somehow perfectly describes the reasons of Pakistanís economic ailments.
It is a separate story the government of Pakistan admits it or not but Pakistanís economic collapse is more than certain. The government may hide its head in sand of ignorance like ostrich and refuse to accept the reality of imminent demise of Pakistanís economy, but financial hurricane is about to hit Pakistanís economic shores.
The present government had choices. As a new democratic government it could formulate economic policies to free Pakistan from the shackles of World Bank and make it a self-reliant country. However, it decided to tread on the same rotten path which was taken by all previous governments.
Only in name Peoples Party government did not take any step to assert peoplesí will on its internal external and economic policies.
Immediately after taking over Pakistan, it decided to go back to the son of the same quake World Bank which is responsible for Pakistanís current economic collapse. Pakistan was forced to turn back to World Bank because of the policies adopted by shamefully sheepish past and present rulers of Pakistan.
Every time Pakistan goes back to World Bank to acquire few more dollars for its ailing economy the bank slaps more conditions on Pakistan. Most of the time those conditions worsen the economy. Consequently, economyís ailments become further chronic. Pakistanís economic managers are constantly in flight to catch up with World Bank officials in Washington, London, Ankara or Dubai. They go wherever the World Bank officials want to meet them. They do not have enough of leverage to tell World Bank officials to come to Islamabad so that Pakistan can save few dollars which it has to incur on travel arrangements of its economic managers. Like kite-tail, Pakistanís economic managers follow World Bank officials across the globe.
Leaving aside the devil of the details, the next imminent financial death trap of World Bank for the people of Pakistan is the condition of imposition of 15% value added tax on all sellable items of daily use.
Does Pakistan Peoples Party government realize the people of Pakistan have exhausted their ability to pay taxes?
One misperception about taxes: most of the analysts perceive the people of Pakistan do not pay taxes. The fact of the matter is there is indirect tax system in Pakistan. Indirect tax system was introduced to collect revenues in undocumented economy which worked well until Pakistan decided to involve the World Bank, WTO and WFO in Pakistan. These international Financial Institutions forced Pakistan through gradual conditions to enforce privatization to end mix economy the best antidote to control uncontrollable greedy local capitalists.
With such gradual tightening these international Financial Institutions have choked Pakistanís economy to the extent that it cannot fulfill the needs of Pakistani market any longer; real demand with fake manipulated supplies is constantly weakening common folks buying capacity.
The unfortunate aspect of the whole situation is the Peoples Party government is playing as a stauncher agent of these international Financial Institutions. Instead of taking steps to remap the economic course for Pakistan, it is cooperating with these institutions more slavishly and pushing Pakistan towards economic collapse.
In order to survive financially, Pakistan has to stop going back to proverbial son of Mir Taqi Mirís Attar even if has to declare bankruptcy. If Pakistan continued to visit and revisit this son of Attar, there is no doubt, it will become bankrupt anyway, but it will be the worst scenario. Pakistan and Pakistanis wonít be able to handle its consequences.
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