Everyone is labelling Asad Umar’s exit from PTI as the failure of 3, Asad for his incompetence that he accepted in a live program, Imran Khan for having been completely clueless about the economy (and governance in general) and finally the people who voted them in for not questioning them any earlier. The old-new incumbent Hafeez Sheikh is no stranger to finance, IMF and the Ministry, he’s not exactly Purana Pakistan as he held his guts against Asif Zardari.
What really happened?
Asad was never cut out for the job, despite his formidable private sector achievements, as this Dawn News article does a scathing assessment of his. Nevertheless, as expected, he remained loyal to his boss after the firing incident and cause of “Naya Pakistan” even though it seems to be slowly receding back to it.
If not worse
Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan, while he inherited a financial mess as described in an in-depth CSIS article, could have been averted. I wrote about it in GadhaParty.com and WomenAreVotes.com asking for triple action to meet the crisis: 1) reduce government (not spending alone, that too, and for everywhere our budget is spent!) on a “call centre/app” model 2) reduce taxes to a flat 10% sales tax only and enforce like hell using a retired army sepoys and officers constituted force and 3) have the b—s to negotiate with the IMF using the rationale of Odious Debt.
But in the words of White Doug from the movie Hangover 1 “that ain’t happenin” – Khan, egoistic and clueless, is our worst bet at this moment. His blue eyed Finance Minister or Chief Ministers of the largest province of Punjab followed by KPK are under heavy criticism anyway. Internationally speaking, the state of women in Pakistan as of late has been nothing to write home about. A Canadian Pakistani woman’s saga of abuse while she (Assma Gulati) was chased and harassed in an Uber is doing social media and so is that of a young girl Lila molested by the crowd including security at Lahore’s Solis festival. Both women faced backlash from a regressive society for which 3 years ago I’d launched AuratKiAwaz.
Naya Pakistan, literally, is nowhere in sight! The little achievements in foreign relations due Khan Saheb’s charisma or even ethical compromises aren’t going to last and undo his weak planning and weaker choice of people.
So who is Pakistan’s best bet given the status quo?
Anyone who raises their voice for barebones government, reduced spending in governance across the board, flat taxes and an emphatic Odious debt based debate with IMF and other lenders to buy time to turn the economy around.
Can the Army do it?
Technically – yes! Practically – no. Had they wanted to they had ample opportunities post Musharaf but resisted the urge, learning from mistakes. Civilians love the army, and when the same army comes into politics or governance to save the people, it is unsettling to those who cannot digest progress from the platter of an autocrat though they would happily suffer the abuse of a “jamhoory” leader.
What will happen now?
This too shall pass! But losing his first proper wicket that too of a strike batsman has put Imran Khan on the backfoot. Some say he too shall soon resign. given the Abraaj Capital fraud case against ex BCCI Arif Naqvi in the US, some say the “hundreds of millions of dollars” financed PTI. If true, it would mean the very end of our nation as we know it, reputationally
What can we do about it?
Hold Imran accountable, ask him to fight the IMF for Odious debt, reduce taxation to a flat 10%, allow old used cars imports, involve army to fix police, liberalize the environment to attract tourism, more at GadhaParty and WomenAreVotes
But it looks like our civil and military leaders are undecided in the face of extremely simple challenges, if only approached rationally and logically then under pressure of those who’ve never had our best interest at heart…
CrystalHeart Kazmi Whatsapp +92 320 5345555