Mirza Shahnawaz Agha
THE extreme view is that we come alone and go alone and all human relationship is with a secular motive of companionship, dependence, interdependence, economic security and the like. The softer picture is love, an emotion that negates realism and assigns human relationship to love and therefore selflessness. One can take either view or even sit on the fence, but one thing is certain that we are birds of a feather and must flock together. In religions too we can see a clear divide between monotheism and polytheism. Both acknowledge the secular status of individuals yet one leans for succor based on love for the One, whilst the other leans on many. They stem from a common given position of our secular being, yet propound with profanity (in some cases), the need for brotherhood!
If brotherhood it were, what are the requirements thereof in material and judicial terms? What do we share and what is strictly ours? Is it only material possession or relationships as well? Are traditions, rituals, social norms, religious beliefs and relative set of values also included? Is it simply a question of compulsive confinement into a sing along scenario, or is there ‘exercise of free will’ in any degree? These are a set of general thoughts which surely cross the minds of many a people but for whatever our individualistic status be, mutuality for the sake of ‘love’ is a good alibi to spend life with, by comparison to hate! I for one must add a caveat to this compromise by glorifying ‘inquisition’ as the soul of research and development, which is the bedrock of human civilization. Can this be shared? Should this be shared? Do we have a recipe that enables sharing and if it is a good thing or bad?
With a host of so many questions provoking thought, it is incumbent upon us to revert to being ‘just’. What is good for us must be assumed good for others, and no political, religious and racial doctrines should breach or trespass this even-handed management of the global society. That indeed is the signature statement of the ideology of the state of Pakistan. It is also the preamble of our outlook for legislating laws and managing our defense and foreign policy structures. Since global politics leans on economic objectives it is a plea that we look upon our foreign relations more based upon the first law of economics than proverbial ‘love’! The first law of economics is that it is secular! My rider to this law is therefore: That there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies!
Positioning ourselves in the international arena is the name of the game! The Pakistani entrepreneurs are starved for protective laws that can enable them to have a global footprint and a home base that will assist and protect the return of profits. The current laws do not allow the freedom of overseas investment nor is the return of foreign income, safe back home. Ironically the bureaucrat is a very lazy being and prefers a subservient to the west economic status that allows him the leverage of corruption in denial of merit. There is no research and a total denial of economic autarky. This is very oppressive and defies our independence as much as it denies global trading, franchising, brand development and money market positioning. In fact the current laws guarantee the flight of capital and enterprise leaving the country with Public Sector entities to be rampaged by the politicized bureaucracy itself! Our ideology is our strength and the devising of laws on regulatory regimes, rating, and controlled management of value in bilateral trade is of the essence. The Ministry of Commerce and industry in collaboration with business institutions need to make available to the Ministry of Law and the legislature the blueprint of our independence as a market place.
The public sector and the government have had a history of special economic transactions with countries and this again denies the social contract by keeping the private sector out in the cold. The ‘economic destination’ of the country cast in stone is fundamental to a nation state. Just like corporate culture in organizations, the economic destination and policy thereof will determine the future of what we sell and buy as a country. The essence of consensus building, which is obligatory for good governance, is entirely absent so that can be the first step forward. To site an example for the readers let us take the insurance industry which is worth about US $.900 million equivalent in the rupee, which is reinsured outside ceding in foreign exchange up to 70% plus. What comes back is about 26% to meet claims and the rest approximately $. 396 million we subsidize the developed economies for carrying our insured risk. A defunct Australian company Arthur Anderson was paid, after the country borrowed US $ 150 million from the Asian Development bank for drafting the law.
The law compels domestic insurers to place the risk with foreign rated reinsurers! This is what the bureaucracy is guilty of and this is how we copy laws in the absence of a cohesive economic agenda. The expertise is available at home, but the lazy and enslaved mindset is determined to follow alien dictates. This is indeed abhorred. It is incumbent that we lean on research and development and learn to stand on our feet with indigenous recipes that dovetail with our ideological doctrines and cure ourselves of the ‘monkey syndrome’ a sociological disease that alienates us from our core. While we need to target the world with love and peace, we do not need to enslave ourselves in the process.
— The writer is an entrepreneur and author based in Karachi.