How would I have bettered the economy if I was in the government?
The first step would be to sit and thoroughly think about what has happened to and in our country so far. On one hand we can review the economic policies that have been pursued in our country. They were not developed smartly and are the main reason for the increase in interest rates and exempted subsidies. Those policies have caused inflation, poverty and unemployment in the entire country. On the other hand no one is ready to pay taxes. This is where our economy stands at hand right now.
Take a look at our disturbed security policy for a moment:
. We have made a 180 degree turn from the Taliban
. We have granted NATO access to our bases
. We have bestowed permission to have its supplies pass through our grounds
. We have allowed drone attacks to occur in our country
. We have let 10,000 CIA agents invade our land.
At the end we are still the ones to stand as criminals in court. Our economy has also been destroyed because of the above mentioned reasons and yet we are still accused as the biggest threat of terror. We are blamed for the origination of terror sprouting from our land. So there is definitely something very wrong happening.
After figuring all the above out, we come to the point where we now have to decide what we all want. The fundamental points that need to be figured out are:
. Do we want to move on like this forever?
. Do we want peace in our region?
. Do we want to have peaceful relations with other countries?
. How do we want to work along with other provinces of the country?
. What do we want in our constitution?
. How will we ever solve the water crisis in our country?
. How will we solve the energy crisis?
. How much do we want to spend on education?
. How much do we want to spend on health?
. How will we fix our economy?
. How do we improve our judiciary?
. What do we want to do for the poor?
. How do we strengthen the country’s institutions?
. Should we beg IMF and the entire world for monetary assistance or do we want sovereignty?
. Will we reduce our expenditures to become sovereign?
. What do we do with the public sector enterprises (PSE)?
. Should we privatize most of them?
Simplicity plays a huge factor in a country’s economy. Fingers are always pointed at the expenditures and lavish lifestyle of the president, prime minister and the parliamentarians.
If their expenditure is reduced there won’t be a huge difference in numbers because the civil government’s expenditure is lower than that of others. But symbolically it is very important.
Steps should be taken from the people on top that includes the president, prime minister, parliament and other politicians. They should start living simply and present themselves for accountability. They should abide the law of the land at all times.
In the beginning, no one wore the national dress of the country, i.e. ‘shalwar qameez’. But when the leaders started wearing it, the people automatically followed.
People will definitely trust someone who takes a position as the prime minister and proclaims on his first day that he will not reside in the prime minister’s house and he will travel in a small vehicle – no matter what. People will actually start paying taxes knowing that their money is going to the right hands.
The nation would begin to take the government seriously, once the leaders reduce or limit their expenditures. The leaders will have to create examples themselves in order to implement simplicity.
When we speak of betterment we should also take a look at the country’s bureaucracy – because it needs many reforms. Pakistan’s bureaucracy is disturbed and it is not the bureaucrats’ fault. We use them for political benefits and categorize them into favorites; which is not acceptable at any circumstances.
Pakistan’s judiciary is independent but the lower court, where 90% of the decisions are made, is in a horrible and terrible situation. Justice is still not served at that level.
The parliament should be empowered but it isn’t because there isn’t a correct parliamentary system in the country. Everyone was sitting and waiting for the 18th amendment to be passed, believing that the president’s powers would be given to the prime minister.
So, what happened after the amendment was passed?
The prime minister’s did receive the authority but it wasn’t of any use because the president is the head of his party and transferring his powers did not make a difference to him. The key is to empower the parliament, committee system and the MNAs.
As for the accountability institution, I must say with due apologies that, it has been used by every political party as a weapon against its opponent. There needs to be a man who is credible and neutral enough to empower the institution. No one will be exempted from accountability, be it the services, judiciary, politicians, business men, etc. There shouldn’t be any holy cows in the country; everyone should be accountable if he or she has spent the government’s money.
I will repeat what I have said many times before that there should be a decision taken that every civilian of this country who earns an income has to pay tax. Whoever earns an amount that exceeds a certain level has to pay tax no matter where he or she generates the income from; whether it is derived from services, agriculture, capital gain, stock market, industry, etc.
My entire family earns from the sugar cane business and I’m willing to pay tax. I’ve already mentioned – in an article of mine – how much tax revenue can be generated from the agricultural and real estate sector. The issue is of the Rs. 1000 billion for which the nation has to compromise its sovereignty. We implore the IMF and America to complete the amount that we ourselves can create on our own.
Pakistan is a country that still has talent, though I believe most of it has settled abroad but there are still people in this country who have political intellect, intelligence and success. Those people can ameliorate the country and lead it to progress.
I have said this before that Pakistanis are a resilient nation. If any other nation had to go through what we have; it would not have survived at all.
We’ve been blamed for the ‘9/11’ incident although it wasn’t our fault. Thousands of lives have been wasted: 30,000 civilians have been killed, 3,000 soldiers have been martyred, and 2000 policemen have laid their lives. Yet we are firm and still stronger than others.
Pakistan’s stability and progress depends on its leadership that should have a clear roadmap and sort out what is in its interest.