Teetering On The Brink!

Jawaid IqbalThe development and growth of a country, as a rule, is measured by its socio-economic indicators on both macro and micro levels. Though it is no more a startling news that Pakistan is one of those countries that miserably ranks at the bottom of the human development index, the major point of worry is the sheer apathy being shown by the ruling class towards the alarming situation. Despite the fact that the PDM government is still in the denial mode about the nightmarish economic meltdown facing the country, Pakistan in practical terms has already defaulted on its external debt payment obligations while its foreign exchange reserves are at the lowest levels with no end in sight for replenishment. Adding insult to injury, Pakistan, a country with a perpetual begging bowl, has clearly been shown the door this time even by friendly countries, and our economy is once again desperately waiting for the IMF lifeline with loads of unpopular strings attached to make matters worse.

Other than the prevailing economic malaise, a litany of on-going political crisis in Punjab in particular and in other provinces in general, together with worsening law and order situations across the country, are two of those pressing issues that seem to be more vexatious and aggravating, speak volumes about the patriotic credentials of leading political stakeholders, including the opposition parties. With a rapidly deteriorating image in media discourse, the judiciary and the army have been reduced into a favourite punching bag of politicians who happily shrug off their fatal errors in governance and administrative affairs by putting the entire onus on these institutions, a deplorable trend which is leading the country to nowhere. Selling food items at skyrocketing prices, the profiteers and hoarders continue to rule the roost as they have been doing the same since the creation of Pakistan. In the midst of current stalemate, the people of the country are being deprived of such basic living necessities as food, the suicide level has alarmingly gone through the roof and people are poisoning their children and throwing them into the river to get themselves free from continuous trauma. Much to our chagrin, a great portion of our population is under 25 years old, which is now touching the height of frustration and disappointment because of the systemic murder of meritocracy, vexing unemployment, lack of education and health facilities, and the rest of the basic needs enshrined in the Constitution as basic rights. And this is all happening in the presence of a fully-fledged government led by a rudderless prime minister, a hefty 77-member cabinet and about 1070 elected representatives from both national and provincial legislative assemblies, who are being fed at the expense of the hungry masses without the slightest blush of shame on their faces. That’s not enough, as recently when Pakistan’s finance minister, along with his team, visited Geneva to meet an IMF delegation to secure a bailout fund, the representatives of an almost flat-broke country stayed in the most luxurious hotel of Switzerland with a per night cost exceeding 0.2 million rupees. ‘Beggars can’t be choosers,’ as rightly said by PM Shehbaz Sharif. However, do beggars have a right to enjoy their days and spend their nights in a serene environment, and that too at the expense of others. Isn’t it?

Teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state, Pakistan is left with no option but to immediately decide its future course of actions in order to uplift a debt-stricken economy and to avert an impending socio-economic disaster. Instead of slinging mud at each other to appease their egoistic selves, all the state stakeholders, mainstream political forces, not to the exclude the holier-than-thou Establishment, need to set their grievances aside, sit and put their heads together to craft a long-term plan to wriggle the country out of the crisis and help it stand on its own feet once and for all. Clock is ticking and there really is no time left.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
President & Editor in Chief