4- Pakistan is world’s only country where majority of the elected members of its parliament decided to give it a new name— Bangladesh;
5- Pakistan is the only country where three of its incumbent and former Prime Ministers—Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto—were physically eliminated;
Trying to look at Pakistan through Piketty’s prism–I
6- Pakistan is only country where current account has hardly been in positive domain;
7- Pakistan is the only nuclear power in the Muslim world;
8- Pakistan is the only country where all general elections, except the 1970 general election that unfortunately led to breakup of the country, have been widely described as ‘rigged elections’;
9- Pakistan is one of the two countries that are still facing the challenge of suicide bombings;
10- Pakistan is world’s only country where polio workers and census enumerators are regularly targeted and killed;
11- Pakistan has one of the highest population growth rates in the world;
12- Pakistan is world’s only country that has to enhance substantively its hydel power generation since 1976 despite abundance of water;
13- Pakistan is a country where a lot of rain water is wasted due to shortage of storage facilities;
14- Pakistan is a country where over 70 percent of its population is engaged in agriculture but the country has to import agriculture products of over 5 billion dollars every year;
15- Pakistan is world’s only country that has gone to the International Monetary Fund for bailouts 23 times in 75 years;
16- Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world that has strained relations with three of its four neighbours;
17- Pakistan is the only country where accountability or anti-corruption watchdogs have never convicted any person in proper legal manner with finality;
18- Pakistan is the only country where the national language, Urdu, is not the mother tongue of over 85 percent of population;
19- Pakistan is the only country where the first information report for a criminal offence is written in national language but legal proceedings at first and subsequent stages are undertaken in English language—a language which is not understood by over 95 percent of population;
The aforementioned list presents undeniable facts.
A fundamental question, however, is whether or not we as a nation follow any ideology in a universally-accepted sense as propounded, for example, by Thomas Piketty. The state of Pakistan is required to be reconstructed by keeping the aforesaid distortions in mind so that the mistakes made earlier are not repeated. It is not a difficult task.
It just needs a holistic view of the situation after taking into account the present political and economic conditions.
Pakistan’s economic problems cannot be solved unless we determine an ideological framework in which policies are constructed and we want to operate as a state. For example, a lot of people do not want to pay taxes as there is an inequitable incidence of direct and indirect taxes and an extremely incompetent and arbitrary method of collecting direct taxes.
Pakistanis live under an illusion that the international community will ultimately bail the country out without appreciating the fact that colonial and neo-colonial powers do not want the Third World countries to cross a certain barrier to reach a level of socio-political and economic development.
We are their markets for ‘technology’. Two of our neighbours — India and China — have successfully crossed that barrier. We should open our eyes, see what’s in front of us, and act.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023