WITH the economy supposedly doing good — at least on paper — the level of discontent among the masses is somewhat incomprehensible. Opinion-makers believe the government is lacking a coherent vision.
Lawyer and rights activist Asma Jahangir finds the fault with the government’s sense of priority. “We claim to be an agrarian society, but what is happening with the farmers is disturbing. Besides, unemployment is increasing because the industries are in bad shape, with people selling industries and buying real estate instead. In part it is because of loadshedding which also hampered the effort to take full advantage of GSP+ quota,” says Asma.
The government, she recalls, has set the minimum wage at Rs12,000 per month, but its implementation is not there. “Instead of investing in the social sector, the government is spending on fancy projects,” she concludes.
Philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, also stresses the need of having a coherent vision. The government must foresee and devise plans that may not only alleviate poverty but also open doors for employment, he says.
Journalist Marvi Sirmed, however, believes that the purchasing power of the middle class has increased significantly over the last 20 years, but in the same breath warns that the middle class is “continuously shrinking”.
Talking of monopolisation of economy, she stresses the need to do away with them, but has little hope as the government, in her view, does not have a clue. Instead of spending on the youth, the government is investing on other less significant areas, which is “increasing the frustration of the masses”.
Published in Dawn March 22nd , 2015