Austerity, a solution for all our economic & social ills | By Dr Yasin Khan Durrani


Austerity, a solution for all our economic & social ills

AUSTERITY (Sa’adki Apnao) seems difficult in modern way of life, but it is possible if we adopt Islamic way of life.

To-day, normal living has become expensive and a large segment of the society cannot afford through meagre resources.

In fact, the economic problems are manifold everywhere in the world especially in the low and middle income countries, they are the worst sufferers.

In fact, the economy of Pakistan is in a shambles with increasing inflation. Our economy started weakening in 2019 and have reached the lowest ebb by 2022, facing extreme crisis of the history.

While assessing the economic indicators of Pakistan, we are ranked 34th amongst 39 Asia-Pacific countries.

According to WHO there has been 25% increase in global prevalence of anxiety and depression in such countries but the solution offered by World Mental Health is just a tip of the iceberg.

Despite being an agrarian economy, the essential food items are getting out of the reach of 70% population, though we have no scarcity of food in the country.

The scientists have observed that simple food will save us from many ailments, especially cardio-vascular diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, which are on the rise in many countries.

Moreover, the health is also getting very expensive all over the world. In 2010, over 40% of benefit claimants in Britain had “mental and behavioural disorders” and were in debt due to financial constraints.

The analysis “suggested that 40% budget cuts in 2015–16” have reduced the mental health services requirements by the citizens as a result of austerity, with reduced mortality rates.

Inflation is being recorded high due to lack of socio-economic development in all sectors. Budgetary allocation has been reduced in all sectors and non-development expenditure has increased.

In fact, poor economic management is the real cause of deteriorating economy in Pakistan. The basic responsibility lies with the system to identify and prioritise the problems rather than resorting to rush for IMF and friendly countries for possible rescue.

Imposition of heavy taxes and levies on the common man is not the answer, while there is no cut on luxuries of the elite, despite corrupt practices in the society.

In fact, things are getting difficult with every passing day. Hence it is essential that each one of us should work hard with honesty, pay taxes and promote love in the community starting from simple dress and simple food.

A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 58% of those surveyed viewed austerity as a “necessity. They observed that daily cost of living and housing crisis are basically a political problem and not economic necessity.

The UK government’s austerity program had resulted in growth of higher than the European average and their economic performance is now much stronger than the International Monetary Fund had predicted.

In fact, we need massive restructuring of the economy through serious and innovative revolutionary steps.

We need to promote family moral values and further need to strengthen the family system, as the family fabric, now, seems to be disintegrating.

Every citizen of Pakistan should give a serious thought in general and ruling politicians in particular.

We must keep the national interest supreme. Austerity is the only solution for all the economic ills of Pakistan.

The state expenditure must be reduced substantially while imposing ban on the governmental, elite class and the luxuries of bureaucracy.

The present political crisis is adding fuel to the fire on existing economic crisis. Therefore there is an urgent need for fruitful decisions in the national interest of the country.

The political leaders should sit together and devise solutions for adopting austerity in every sector of life rather fighting on pretty politics for personal gains.

The real answer lies to follow the Quranic injunctions and true Islamic way of life. Teachings of our most respected Nabiay Akram, Khatim-un-Nabayyeen, (SAWW), who always attired neat and clean dress even re-stitched at times.

Quaid-e-Azam, Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan and the Veteran leader Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, normally used simple dress of sherwani- salwar with Jinnah cap or a ritual turban.

They always advised the nation to use simple and Islamic dress. For example, in almost all Arab countries, though they are very rich economically, attired simple dress.

Every citizen of their country used only one type of dress from a peon to the king or head of the state at all national and international levels and succeeded in solving all their problems.

In fact, austerity with true Islamic way of life-style is the key to our all national and economic ills.

We can easily purchase many locally made national dress at the cost of one European suit with tie, which will not only save our hard earned money as well as promote the local cloth industry.

Nowadays some Asian states are gradually drifting to simple Islamic dress. See how much money we can save through austerity measures and Islamic way of life.

In Turkey an Islamic country, people never go out without national dress and a red cap on their head.

Some time ago we attended a medical conference in Amritsar (India), the Governor of Punjab was the chief guest.

His all officials were dressed in simple khaddar-pyjamas and vaskets. I asked him about their dress he replied it is our national and official dress. I quote another observation, all the officials of the previous Government wore simple Islamic dress of shalwar, qamees and sherwani or vasket at all occasions.

I still remember that one of our late Prime Minister, enforced all the country-men not to use any vehicle beyond over 1000 c.c., which lowered the price of petrol and all automobiles.

It was very interesting to note that all the ministers in his cabinet both at Federal and Provincial level, followed his orders and used small cars wearing simple dress of shalwar-qamees except some uniformed officials.

The foreign dignitaries were welcomed with simple cup of tea and biscuits. In fact, we were heading towards austerity, but the days are gone now as we did not follow in letter and spirit, resulting in current economic ills.

We have the best example of China to follow. They use one type of simple dress on duty or off duty hours even at sleep.

On our visit, we saw a sea of bi-cycles being used by all ages and hardly any auto-mobile on the road, which added to their physical fitness and saving expensive automobiles and petrol.

They have completely changed their national lifestyle. China is now a leading economic power in the world.

I saw them using simple black tea without sugar in their servings for all ages except small children.

In summary, austerity is the only solution to politico-economic problems in our country. It will reduce government budgetary deficits through spending cuts in public and state expenditure and living a life of complete austerity.

If the government cannot honour its debt obligations, austerity measures and reduction in cost of living for non-essential expenditure and adopting Islamic way of life.

Use the home-made clothes like simple shirt-pyjama/salwar made from the local industry as our national dress, even on foreign tours.

—The author is a retired Professor and Eye Surgeon from Rawalpindi Medical University. He is also a hon Professor of a Tianjin University of China.


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