It’s time for a new Code of Conduct to uphold the Constitutional acceptance of, and adherence to, authority. Each pillar of state must refrain from arbitrarily encroaching in each other’s domain, performance, and responsibility.
A prime reason for the current economic instability is the forceful influence of vested interests on policies, decisions, and rules. The ensuing result has been the avalanche of inflation, burgeoning unemployment, large scale disruptions in industrial production, increasing isolation in the global arena, depressing inflow of remittances and export proceeds, and danger to national security, integrity and sovereignty.
The situation is getting bleaker and darker by the day. Brain drain, flight of capital, massive slowdown of Foreign Direct Investment, difficulty in sourcing foreign loans and credits, crippling social and moral structure of the nation, and ominous clouds of uncertainty, are debilitating the sustainability of the country.
The unfortunate ecosystem in Pakistan is ominous. There is no long-term vision except hyperbole resulting in a disconnect between the Government and people, and that is why citizens are demoralized, dispirited, disgruntled, and divided.
Inconsistent government plans or policies and decisions and unconstrained power and influence of elite capture have created mega roadblocks in getting out of the quagmire. Ineffective governance, dangerous law and order situation, and abdication of government’s writ have seriously affected the progress of the country.
Moreover, inefficiency, corruption, nepotism, incompetence, malpractices, and rampant looting of country’s financial and natural resources have, over the decades, demoralized the populace.
The youth are at a much vulnerable position and have a pessimistic outlook about their future objectives. They are disheartened when they see that meritocracy is blatantly ignored in most of the government organizations due to policies that are parochial, ethnic or based on a regressive quota system.
Globally, the nation has to suffer the ignominy of negative image and reputation. Ironically, there is always direct and indirect foreign interference, pressure, and influence that the comity of nations are always considered interfering in the internal affairs as well as flagrant violations of a country’s sovereignty.
Pakistan is heavily dependent on exports, remittances, grants and loans. Priority should be accorded to focus on exports, and efforts should always be made to enhance exports and that exporters should collectively be encouraged and supported to enter new markets with consumer-desired products.
Exports of software could be hugely increased if laws and policies are structured in a mode that are advantageous to these software exporters and would give confidence to them to formalize and document their enterprises.
The confidence of international buyers must be revitalized and this is possible if the government demonstrates that, along with exporters, it would ensure prompt delivery, world-class quality, and favorable prices. Over-dependence on external loans is not the panacea for economic progress and prosperity because the conditionalities of such loans are detrimental to the vulnerable sector of the population.
Business community is considered a very strong and potent force anywhere in the world. The opinions, views, and concerns of business/industry community are taken with all merit.
A united business community can do wonders and zoom up the nation’s economy. The sad fact is that despite all the announcements coming out of Pakistani trade organizations, the ground reality is that business community is rudderless in today’s turbulent seas.
What has been the real time achievement of business leadership in the last many decades? Has it done any soul-searching to grasp the reality? The leaders profess through bombastic statements and press releases that they have done wonders whereas they are seldom taken into confidence by powers that be and policymakers.
Now is the time for the business and industry leadership to play a formidable role in every which way to convince those in the corridors of power to get their act in shape and develop a consensus to get out of this alarming situation. This is the time for assertiveness. This is the time to forge real unity.
This is the time to restrain from meekness, misplaced ego, and inertia. This is the time to show the strength and power of the engine of economic growth—the business and industrial community. It’s now or never. The decision lies with the private sector leaders and they must, for whatever it takes, play a prominent role in bringing sanity back into the nation.
It goes without saying that the pillars of state have the constitutional responsibility to steer the nation onto the path of progress and prosperity, and ensure quality of life for the denizens.
Belligerent polarization in the corridors of power naturally trickles down to the people in the streets, creating a vitriolic hatred that takes a long time to subside. A free, frank, and open-minded sincere dialogue is now imperative and crucial. All major stakeholders must immediately declare a ceasefire and come to the negotiating table, preferably at the Presidency, to agree on a solid and acceptable framework to extricate the nation from the disastrous imbroglio.
The Hon’ble President must play the role of a facilitator, and if need be, an arbitrator. The ‘Doomsday Clock’ is ticking, the country is falling rapidly into an abyss of darkness, and the survival of Pakistan is definitely precarious.
Anyone listening? Isn’t the Quaid’s motto “Unity, Faith, Discipline” still relevant and motivational for all Pakistanis? It should be. After all, for each and every citizen, it is always “Pakistan First”.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023