Lackeys of Imperialism
Those who think that Long March will be over with the change of the government are missing the obvious point.
There was a time when I was young and the Pakistan Peoples Party was in the formative stage. Like many other young people, I too felt that I knew everything and was duty bound to pass on to others whatever I thought on different issues. One morning I started lecturing Shaheed Zulfikar Al Bhutto on foreign affairs. He was a very patient listener and was always hungry for fresh ideas without caring from where those ideas came. He listened to me for a fairly long time and then summed up the discussion in just one sentence.
Just think over this line in the background of his remarkable thesis in his book “The Myth of Independence” as also his election slogan ‘Roti, Kapra, Makan’; his tirade against American imperialism, his move to nationalize banks and insurance companies, his setting up of mother industries like the Pakistan Steel Mills, Heavy Mechanical Complex, Heavy Electrical Complex, Kamra Aeronautical Complex, Tank Rebuild Factory, the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANNUP), holding the OIC Summit in Lahore as well as the inaugural meeting of the Third World Forum in Karachi and many others; and a clear picture of the principal contradiction starts emerging.
Basically, it is the increasing gap between our diminishing production and galloping consumption, which is at the bottom of the collapse of our political superstructure and every other sphere of our national life. Unless this principal flaw is corrected almost every other contradiction will continue to grow rather than being resolved. Thus, the political struggle of the people of Pakistan which has given them an exceptionally high and irreversible level of political consciousness does not end at merely a change of face. The economic system has to be freed from the clutches of ‘International Financial Imperialism’ and thrown in the dustbin of history.
After all, what is freedom except having the option of freely taking our own decisions. Today we are not allowed to revive the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). Iran and Pakistan put up the same Russian Steel Mill units around the same time. The production of the Steel Complex in Isfahan has gone up from 1.1 million tonnes per year to about 25 million tonnes per year. We have drafted quite a few agreements with Russia and China to increase the Pakistan Steel Mill Corporation (PASMIC) capacity but we were not allowed to sign.
We have been forced to shut down what was left of the PASMIC and now import 8 million tonnes per year of steel. The iron ore from Yazd in Iran costs a freight of $2 per tonne. We were paying $18 per tonne as freight for importing ore from Australia, leave aside development of our own iron ore at Naushki. We cannot import gas from Iran although the gas pipeline is only 80 kilometres from Gwadar. We are forced to import gas at more than 3 times the price. The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been put on the backburner. Even the Special Committee of the Senate on CPEC, of which Committee I had the honour of chairing for 3 years has been wound up.