Fair & Square
Laws, finances, telecommunication and what not. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is jack of all trades as he is chairman of more than a dozen (some say he is not jack but master of all trades as he heads more than two dozen committees). How does he deal with all of them?
I once happened to ask this question directly during a telephonic talk with the chief finance wizard. The answer was quite passionate. And that was “ Mian sahib, I wish and I pray that there should be 240 hours in a day as I consider working for my homeland and compatriots as ‘Ibadat’ (I think there can be two English equivalents for this Urdu term like ‘sacred duty’ or ‘worship’).
It is a wish that can never be fulfilled because a day has to remain confined within the 24 hours’ clock system put in place by the Creator of the Universe before Whom bow all the dimensions including the time dimension. But one target is certainly achievable and that is expanding and strengthening the kitty.
To quote an example, Bloomberg is one witness to this expansion as it has certified that Pakistan’s Stock Exchange has surged to the fifth best performing entity in the global stock market. For sure, this is not a windfall from the heavens that has come by without any efforts. Pakistan has qualified to be a bona fide recipient of this windfall.
It is basically the collective endeavour of all the elements of national power or all the elements of collective national growth including the private sector, the services sector, the expertise cadre, the commerce and industry people and above all, the agriculturists whose persistent struggle with a good sense of direction has made us achieve this all. It also primarily owes to the overall peace-loving conduct of Pakistani nation that has translated into this growth. In fact, as compared with our next door neighbor, India where jingoism and war hysteria have always ruled the roost, Pakistan (Pakistanis, in reality) has tended to work towards the goals of prosperity and stability without engaging itself in the race for ‘Chaudhrahat’ or hegemony.
It is sickness I mean this hegemony syndrome, far more sickening than many syndromes the world has known so far. Thank God that leaders of Pakistan’s decision-making circles have remained on the realistic track and avoided to tread the path that stood beyond its capacity. But Pakistan has certainly increased its capacity manifold by entering into economic and strategic alliance with one of the most rapidly growing economic power of the world namely China. Take for example China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is by all standards one of the best mutually beneficial economic alliances that any two countries of the world have ever forged during a period of last two, three decades. CPEC’s volume has rapidly risen from the original 46 billion dollars to 54 or 55 billion dollars which is more than sufficient to revive any economy. Such a huge inflow works like magic as it rejuvenates the sick economy through the injection of such huge, diversified investments even if one party to any such deal takes the lion’s share. Yes, this trick certainly works. It can be explained through an odd example of filling a departmental store with stocks on credit that are several times higher than the original investment. Money in the market works like a magnet and brings more investments as once the Ambassador of Hungary to Pakistan stated that 46 billion dollars package means ‘many such packages of the same or yet bigger size are in the pipeline’.
The best thing that has been achieved on this path is the recently held meeting in Beijing in which chief ministers of the all the provinces (Punjab CM participated with no less zeal through communication technology) were invited to work out a common strategy. The other objective behind this meeting was to address the oft-expressed grievance usually raised on the pretext of neglect of western route or provinces other than Punjab. China’s role in bringing harmony of views on projects of national strength and growth has indeed turned out to be commendable. Now no province or its fiery and vocal CM like Pervaiz Khattak has any complaint against any project or plan within the overall framework of CPEC. It is now time that all forces in this land join hands to rescue the country from backwardness once for all as has also been publicly demanded recently by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.