IT is being claimed and boasted by the government that remittances have increased manifold, industrial output has enhanced and that there is sufficient gain in foreign exchange reserves. It also claims that agricultural sector performance is exemplary and there have been bumper crops, exports are increasing, tax collection has improved immensely and the number of filers has increased from 1.5 million to twice as many.
There are also claims of a boom in the construction industry, and that there have been enough rainfall and snowfall to keep the dams filled. On being reminded about the unprecedented inflation, the government says price hike is a global phenomenon, and that Pakistan is still the most inexpensive country in the region.
But there are several questions that need answers, as mere claims cannot satisfy the opposition and even the people who voted the ruling party to power. If the claims by the government are true and it is so competent, why the national exchequer is empty? Why are we close to default in case we do not get a meagre amount of $1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? Why did the government have to get more loans than did the previous governments? Why is there a cash crunch in various spheres of national life?
Why are the farmers facing massive urea shortage while it is supposed to be in surplus? Why was the liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract not executed during the summer to avoid gas shortage in the winter? Why is there a delay in the construction of the third LNG terminal?
Besides, who is responsible for the export of wheat and sugar which caused shortage in the country, and who compelled the ruling elite to import the same commodities at higher rates? Why not the due procedure was adopted which was already in place, like deployment of existing heavy machinery and throwing of salt, during the recent tragedy in Murree? And, why was there no protection for the victims against blatant commercial opportunism they had to put up with?
The ground reality is that the price hike in Pakistan is the highest in the region with the purchase power much less which has further aggravated the problem.
To start with, the ‘positive’ indicators are used by the government only to paint a rosy picture. If the indicators are really positive, why their effects are not seen and experienced by the people?
The fact is that indicators are partially positive, but due to incompetence, lack of forethought, inefficiency, infighting within the party, poor administration and corruption, the effects are not reaching down to the people, which has resulted in despair, despondency and uncertainty.
History bears testimony to the fact that in spite of various difficulties and impediments, the country has come out of crisis more than once. It has achieved significant progress and breakthroughs in all fields of national life and is a very important country with great potential to reach the zenith of glory.
Therefore, one can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, all those who are not sincere to the country will meet their Waterloo sooner or later. The fate of such people, the so-called leaders, in the past is a history we will do well to remember.
Lt-Col (retd) Syed Iftikhar Ahmed
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2022