Tipping point ?

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Rizwan Ghani

POSITIONS have been taken, its decision time not a tipping point? Establishment has said that there will be support for the rule of law and government of the day. It means full support for the anticorruption agenda of the government but it has to show that good things happen in Pakistan. Opposition is all set to get rid of the government. Before it runs out of time, government better fulfil its promises to the public. The court’s notice to PM on ICS address is spot on and will produce results. From the government side, public is waiting for PM’s action against rising cost of living. History of British Raj will show that bureaucracy is the silver bullet to bring immediate relief to the public and it is the permanent solution. Opposition parties have time and again objected to use of Tiger Force. We have a history of abuse of such initiatives so it will not gain traction and just waste of political capital. Use of the youth force during coronavirus was rejected in UK also. Bureaucracy is the time tested solution to good governance. Restore DC system with police under it. It is 3-tier systems with administrative, financial and legal controls. Independent police without DC control is the administrative part of the problem. Its manifestations are 50-100% over pricing, smuggling and corruption. Government is relying on DC system to control prices because it has no better alternate system. But 2-year results have shown that the system is failing because police is independent and bureaucracy is corrupt and politicized. PM can still deliver by restoring line departments with police under DC and cleansed bureaucracy.
Opposition has no option but to return to parliament. Public has already rejected status quo by voting for change. It will not uphold in any court of law and Election Commission. The stand of establishment is clear. PDM has to choose between welfare of public or saving individual corruption. Maulana’s madrassa student power is likely to return Madaris and shrines under government control (Auqaf & Religious Affairs) to improve national religious harmony. There is growing skepticism in voters and party members about continuation of PDM in its current form on the streets instead of parliament which could derail democracy and further undermine national interests. Transparent accountability can end corruption. The use of Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws can help recover our money and end corruption. Pakistan can pass anti-money laundering law on lines of US Patriot Act (Bank Secrecy Act) to resolve the controversies on NAB. The global financial systems are required to keep and provide KYC and AML lists. PM must personally head the efforts to recover public stolen funds with help of legal teams from foreign courts in which KYC can give money trail. The lists are verified by 5-step audits periodically. Reportedly, West is using $6.5tn dirty money to benefit its economies while Pakistan’s money is not returned and its being indebted.
The court notice to PM for attending lawyers’ event is spot on. It was a show of force by a politician with lawyers to stifle judiciary and a clear attempt to disturb delicate balance in bench and bar. Pakistan is a parliamentary system in which PM is first among equals. Independence of judiciary and establishment is protected by the constitution. As system of check and balance, judiciary and establishment will independently promote their heads. In this way they will not owe allegiance to PM and under the same logic police should be under DC (state). It is time to restore trichotomy of power as envisaged in our constitution by its architects. On economy, Pakistan has to choose from crony capitalism or social economic model to benefit public. The growing poverty in UK, US and Europe clearly shows that existing WB, WTO and IMF based system has failed to serve the masses. The world financial system is skewed to favour powerful individuals and states. The fact is that public is being charged international rates of commodities and utilities but being paid in local currency. Imagine labour of 12 hour bringing profit to textile owners in dollars and paying salaries in rupees. The state is one step ahead of businesses because it is charging international prices for petrol and gas. The subsidies are being transferred to national debt in one form or the other. The market is the ultimate beneficiary. Pakistan has to return to traditional economy and banking systems to protect public interest, pension, healthcare, education and safety. We need to return to domestic consumption based economy. In this agriculture should be helped to take care of 70% of population. Value addition will bring more benefit to the farmers and allied sectors like dairy, poultry and so on. All efforts should be on water and food security. Universities should help build economies in their communities. Farmers don’t need graduation. They need technical courses to improve their yields etc. similarly urban population needs modern education including IT to support local economy. The businesses should be asked to generate their own electricity which is their responsibility under the licence.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

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