The Good Things – Blog by Humayun Gauhar
We were talking about change some weeks ago. Do you see how much has changed in the last couple of weeks?
The world is on the edge of a precipice because of COVID 19. The unipolar world is no more and we are moving towards a multipolar global status quo. Now there will be orbits of influence around the People’s Republic of China on the one hand and around the USA on the other.
More and more countries will get sucked into China’s orbit and more and more countries will slip out of America’s. America’s orbit of influence is shrinking while China’s is expanding. Politically, America is in retreat not least because of the
antics of its president. If he wins again in November, be prepared for more great change.
Actually the change that is happening is natural because things in various countries had come to a tipping point and they are still there. Look at our own country.
The history of the inherited economy:
Imran Khan inherited a totally trashed economy when he became prime
minister. It was on the cusp of death. His economic team led by Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, in the face of much petulant opposition by the political parties out of government, has still kept the country doing business and improved it in some vital areas. For example, the current account deficit has come down from $20 billion to $3 billion.
Trade and fiscal deficits are decreasing. This is in the area of plastering and bandaging the economy. And in the area of taking concrete steps to improve the lot of Pakistan, they have done significant things. For instance, their housing scheme can change the face of Pakistan.
Construction activates many paralyzed sectors of the economy. In this case, it will get between 40 and 45 industries to start to moving again and will also create thousands of jobs. As I said, if successful, it will change the face of Pakistan and let us hope and pray that they are allowed to go ahead without hindrance.
The kickstart by Prime Minister Imran Khan:
The Prime Minister has kick-started the stalled construction of the Diamer- Bhasha dam, the largest cement dam in Pakistan and probably the world.
It will provide millions of square acre-feet with water and be a great boost to our agricultural production which had been dying under previous governments. So too animal husbandry. Both needed something like this to revive again.
Our Punjab at one time was an important component of the breadbasket of the Indo- Pak subcontinent and it is a great shame that its yields have fallen due to governmental mismanagement and yes, let it be said, unmitigated corruption, which has been the bane of Pakistan’s existence.
The dillemma of Sindh:
One of the two most corrupt parties still controls Sindh, which puts Pakistan’s second-largest province squarely at the mercy of Asif Zardari. It won’t surprise anyone that Sindh is reeling from mismanagement and neglect and, need it to be said, with runaway corruption.
All this while the denizens of Sindh suffer increasing deprivation and impoverishment. Karachi, once the jewel in the crown of Pakistan, is now a dying city. Power outages are so much that it’s a big achievement if people get electricity for more than half the day.
Read this blog too: Corruption Allegations Against The Prime Minister’s Father Vs Reality
It rains once in a while and Karachi drowns. Its gutters overflow
creating a vile soup of excrement and rainwater with all its detritus laced with electricity from wires that have fallen.
A number of people are injured and killed by electric currents every year and yet, not an eye bats, there is no sympathy or compassion. And we keep hearing excuses from the electricity company and the provincial PPP government that makes you want to throw up. Karachi was one of the best cities in Asia at one time. Its vibrancy is gone.
Its attraction dead. And living there has become a marathon for its citizens. The extra megawatts of the electricity that are generated by the Diamer-Bhasha dam will go a long way to mitigating Pakistan’s electricity shortfall.
The musical chair play by PPP and PMLN:
Pakistan’s sorry state has been also created by the musical chairs of power between the People’s Party and Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League. Corruption reached such a mind-boggling extent that Pakistan is without money and is rived with cynicism with people not believing any of the good news coming their way.
If we continue on the path of improvement and people start seeing results with prices reasonable and services available, law and order, the cynicism will fade away to be replaced by optimism.
We have only ourselves to blame because we kept electing the same set
of bandits time and again. Now we are reaping the harvest. It’s so bad that our debt servicing bill is virtually as much as our GDP and we have to borrow more to just service the debt.
I was trying to say in my last article that it is our system which throws up such characters like the Zardaris and the Sharifs, may God take account from them. But
we are the ones who pay the price and we have paid it in full measure.
It was about time that our luck changed and Imran Khan’s government is
showing a glimmer of that change but they have miles to go before they
can even think about relaxing.
The regional game:
Another change that has taken place in the region is the still nascent
China-Iran nexus developing. Pakistan naturally becomes part of it and
Russia will soon join the nexus.
This has already affected India greatly and Iran has rejected them from completing the Chabahar port and the rail link. China and Iran are also building a CPEC like road
link. The two will change the face of the region especially of the
landlocked countries of Central Asia.
India, which is facing untold political and economic decline, will be left out in the cold. With the sort of fascist government it has, the world has to keep an eagle eye
on it before it creates more mischief that will affect both Pakistan
and China adversely.
We are doing that and so is China. Hopefully, the government in India will change in the not too distant future so at least its negative attitude towards its neighbors might start changing.
It should realize that there is everything to be gained from peace and everything to be lost from conflict. India shouldn’t forget that theirs, Pakistan’s and China’s are among the oldest civilizations in the world. Because of this, they should show some balance and not bring war and suffering upon their people and their neighbors as well.
The China-Iran nexus will also make America’s strategic position worse in the region and in the Middle East. America, which was trying to damage Iran with its sanctions and its demented rhetoric will perforce have to abandon its policy of suffocating Iran.
Let’s hope that happens before any more damage is done. Let’s hope that Imran Khan stays the course so that Pakistan can achieve liberation from all its
woes. I pray for his success.
There is much more that is happening and has happened but one runs out
of space to talk about it. We should just keep our fingers crossed and
not start crowing.
Written by Humayun Gohar – Originally Published in Pakistan Today