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Reliance on overseas human capita

MUHAMMAD USMAN

AMID an avalanche of tirade and rebuke by Opposition, Pakistan finally reached an agreement with IMF on a bailout package of $ 6 Billion over a period of three years. The Opposition spared no sling and arrow to test on Govt of Imran Khan, struggling to escape danger of economy falling apart – not of its own creation but of colossal misdeeds of this very Opposition. They are making hue and cry of all sorts without care and caution to sensitivity of situation. Self-perpetuation is their only motivation. The economy and accountability could not go together, said Zardari under NAB scrutiny pointedly. Their polemic acquired anew and sharp edge in venom and gall when the PM changed his fiscal team. They sarcastically termed it a team of IMF while linking it maliciously to ongoing talks with IMF. Now IMF would talk to IMF. Only now IMF would call the shots. The deal with IMF is a document of surrender. The forthcoming budget would be an imported budget. Their indiscreet denunciation is a callous disregard to the fact that Pakistan is precariously placed economically and needs to present a united front. Any government worth its name would have hated to talk from a position in which Pakistan is in; a situation of take it or leave it but it had to take it as a necessary evil because unfortunately for host of reasons, economy of Pakistan refused to take off in absence of a bailout package from IMF despite government’s hectic efforts to reenergize it alternatively. There is a background which has brought situation to such impasse. In practice, IMF like other world financial institutions work on diktats of big super powers. They follow a typical creditor-debtor relationship to push targeted countries into a debt trap by lending money and overlooking deliberately its utilization with optimum effectiveness by borrowing countries. Underlying purpose is to lure in. When debt accedes their repayment capacity, debt trap is complete and its first prey is sovereignty. Regrettably, despite warnings from saner quarters, Pakistan continued to slip into debt trap laid particularly, during last decade in which our debt swelled from rupee 6000 Billion to 30,000 Billion. Apart from this, other problems of stunning proportions as of all kinds of fiscal deficits continued to pile up. IMF/other world financial institutions purposely overlooked because Pakistan was being ruined and let into debt trap at hands of ruling elite who came to power, riding on buggy of Charter of Democracy under US’s auspices. The ruling elite never made any effort to see through the macabre scheme and take counter measures. It was a criminal abdication of public responsibility. However, after general election 2018, when Imran Khan took over reins of government, he made conscious effort to break its shackles by exploring other financial avenues. He placed his best man, Asad Umar on task but finding his inability to break new grounds, Imran Khan with heavy heart, changed whole monetary team. This speaks volume that Imran Khan is not here to while away time rather could go to any length to pull country out of morass of all kinds, afflicting country chronically. For obvious reasons, first and foremost priority is setting economy right. With appointment of Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Dr Reza Baqir as Finance Advisor to PM and Governor SBP respectively, opposition erupted maliciously and started calling both, men of IMF on grounds that they have served in IMF. They would act as hit men to Pakistan. These accusations are nothing but despicable mudslinging, being devoid of reason. Dr Hafeez Sheikh is an economist of international repute and his work for betterment of Pakistan is not unknown. As Minister for Finance and Planning and Development of Sindh during 2000-2002, he transformed Sindh financially resoundingly. His three-year tenure as Federal Minister for Privatisation and Investment is a golden era in which 34 transactions worth $ 5 Billion were completed most successfully and transparently with .8 Million shares to ordinary people. Admittedly, as Federal Finance Minister during 2010-2013, his tenure was uneventful but under a corrupt and numbskull Zardari, even Einstein could have flunked. On strength of his academic credentials/ quality experience, one could easily infer that Dr Reza Baqir is a rising star on horizon of international economy. Under his watch, ailing economy of Egypt had turned around. There is no reason for skepticism. Our economic condition is far better than Egypt. Relatively, we have more sanguine view. Our catalogue is full of such shining stars who have worked outside but contributed great deal for Pakistan whenever, called upon to do so while invariably, subordinating their career and money to national call. This is the chemistry of our oversees who had to go abroad because of variety of compulsions but their soul remain national. The hullabaloo of rotten ruling elite on their arrival is not new. It is hard to desist one name, Dr Mahboob ul Haq who is acclaimed a visionary Finance Minister of Pakistan (1985-88) and world knows him an amazing economics genius of modern times. It is believed that Government would continue its search for such brilliance because Pakistan needs them desperately for not turnaround in economy only but also in other fields. This may not be out of place to mention that US progressed on borrowed brilliance and we have of our own. — The writer, retired Lt Col, is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.