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Pakistan

No free lunch, no easy solution

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There should be no doubt that when in 1996 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was launched, it’s aim was to end corruption in the country.

Tahir Malik Profile Tahir Malik

Throughout Imran Khan’s political career, his focus was always centered on looted wealth; on the ardaris and the Sharifs. However, today, it seems like perhaps for Imran Khan, the removal of Zardari and Sharif represented an easy solution to the problems Pakistan faces. As opposed to changing the system, reforming the administration, making a team and planning, the eradication of the two rivals seemed like a much easier step to take.

It was not too difficult to brand the two “thieves” and build the impression that inflation, joblessness, injustices and systemic ills were all because of former rulers. It was easy then to sell the simplistic formula that the eradication of PML-N and PPP governments would automatically lead to the end of all problems.

Ironic then, that today the biggest pitfall that faces the government is the extremely simple solution it offered to these extremely complex problems.

Who can forget what Imran Khan had said before becoming Prime Minister? “I will commit suicide rather than going to the IMF [International Monetary Fund],” he had pledged. Who can forget that Asad Umar and Mian Atif were presented to the country as their economic saviors? According to Murad Saeed, now a Minister, as soon as PTI would form a government, it would bring back $200 billion of Pakistan’s looted wealth and pay off all international loans.

Today Pakistan is not ruled by Asif Ali Zardari. Nawaz Sharif is not the ruler in Islamabad. Imran Khan is sitting in the Premier’s seat since almost three years. The former two have been to jail. They have been bombarded with cases upon cases. But “Naya Pakistan” remains unchanged from the older one. Corruption continues unabated. The common citizen has received no relief. Inflation and unemployment rage on. The dreams of the youth are still shattered.

Affordable housing hasn’t been built, jobs have not been created. Necessary goods are outside the reach of the average citizen. Utility prices remain high.

In short, neither the departure of Zardari, nor the removal of Sharif has resulted in any kind of change. In many ways, matters have become worse, giving rise to more anxiety and hopelessness among the masses. The reason for all this is Imran Khan himself and the though process that PTI refuses to change.

Believing that the simple act of bringing Imran into power will be a universal panacea is something we must all now be concerned with. Compare PTI government’s performance to that of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. The former has raised the price of gas and electricity by almost 30%. Circular debt has reached the horrifying figure of Rs. 2400 billion, and are projected to reach Rs. 3800 by 2025. Electricity costs, raised a stunning 22 times already, are set to be raised once again. Clarified butter [desi ghee] is more expensive by Rs. 200 while cow’s milk is more expensive by Rs. 100. Fuel and petroleum products have risen by Rs. 40 per liter. Vegetables, the staple food for all poor households, have also become more costly, by Rs. 40 to Rs. 100 per liter.

Burdened by the continuing destruction of the economy, industries are now mulling downsizing their staff by as much as 20%. Eid holidays, brought about by a covid wave, might result in a Rs. 11 billion daily loss to our export sector. Speaking of coronavirus, that brings its own set of problems quite unique to us. Sputnik, the vaccine developed by Russia, is retailing for Rs. 750 in India, while here it is being sold by Rs. 12,500.

In corruption indexes, we have been on a steady freefall. FDI has been reduced by 27% in just seven months.

Three years in power preceded by 22 years of struggle have ended in these depressing figures. Not one day of these years was spent on planning for resolving the country’s many issues. All that the party and its Chairman planned was to refer to Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif as “thieves”. Perhaps they really did believe that all that nothing more than this over simplistic step was required.

As they say, it is not easy to fool all the people all the time, but PTI has surely fooled itself for 25 years now.

 

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Chairman FBR holds E-Kachehri

E-Kachehri by Chairman FBR provides an opportunity to taxpayers to directly communicate with the Chairman for redressal of their grievances and also helps keep a check on the performance of the Field Formations.

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Islamabad: Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana held E-Kachehri at FBR Headquarters on Monday to listen to the issues of taxpayers and provide prompt assistance.

The E-Kachehri provides a platform to taxpayers to appraise their concerns directly to Chairman FBR and also give their suggestions regarding tax-related issues and matters, said a statement issued on Monday.

During the Kachehri, the chairman directly received telephone calls from taxpayers and listened to their grievances and recommendation. Chairman FBR gave on-spot directions to relevant offices to promptly resolve issues of the taxpayers.

He also appreciated the suggestions given by some taxpayers and assured them that their valued input would be duly considered.

He reiterated that FBR was taking all possible measures to facilitate the taxpayers by ensuring timely provision of services and promote tax culture and compliance across the country.

E-Kachehri by Chairman FBR provides an opportunity to taxpayers to directly communicate with the Chairman for redressal of their grievances and also helps keep a check on the performance of the Field Formations.

Chairman FBR has already directed all Field Formations to timely resolve the taxpayers’ concerns through improved service delivery.

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Pakistan

Pakistan, Iran vow to expand cooperation in diverse areas

This resolve has been expressed at a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi in Islamabad today.

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Islamabad: Pakistan and Iran on Monday reiterated the resolve to further broaden mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas of common interest.

This resolve was expressed at a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi in Islamabad on Monday.

Both sides underscored the need for operationalizing bilateral trade mechanisms to boost the volume of trade up to ten billion dollars.

They urged the need to work together to overcome the challenges being faced by the region.

Besides, they discussed key regional and global developments, particularly the situation in the Middle East.

President Asif Ali Zardari expressed deep concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and strongly condemned Israel’s military aggression against the people of Gaza that had resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent Palestinians. He assured that Pakistan would consistently and unequivocally support the Palestinian cause.

Both the leaders reiterated the need for enhanced international endeavours to bring an end to Israeli suppression of the people of Gaza and for enhanced humanitarian relief and assistance.

Asif Ali Zardari said Pakistan and Iran enjoy close fraternal ties based on shared religion, culture, and history, which need to be further strengthened for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.

He thanked Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi for being the first Head of State to visit Pakistan after the general elections, which reflects the deep personal commitment of the Iranian President to Pakistan.

The Pakistan President appreciated Iran’s principled stance and its consistent support to the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and their right to self-determination.

Iranian President Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi emphasized the need for further expanding and consolidating bilateral relations in all areas of mutual interest. He said the interest of the two brotherly countries call for further cementing economic, trade and cultural relations.

Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi highlighted that both countries have enormous potential to increase bilateral trade to the level of ten billion dollars.

He appreciated Pakistan’s consistent support for their Palestinian brethren during the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

 

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Pakistan on track to secure new loan from IMF: Finance Minister

Muhammad Aurangzeb says the IMF has been very receptive in terms of agreeing to consider a larger and longer programme.

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Washington: Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said on Monday that Pakistan is on track to secure a new loan from IMF.

In an interview with English Language newspaper The National, he said the IMF has been very receptive in terms of agreeing to consider a larger and longer programme.

The Finance Minister said Pakistan would need at least three years of support to carry out a reform agenda across several sectors including taxation and energy.

Muhammad Aurangzeb said macroeconomic factors are shifting in Pakistan's favour as it works to boost its lagging economy.

The Finance Minister said Pakistan's currency has stabilized and the inflation is on track to drop to single-digit levels by the end of next year.  

 

 

 

 

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