Voice of the People

38

Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

Playing with fate of Pak

Embarking on a populist course to get short-term political mileage, PTI’s decision to freeze fuel prices till the next finance budget was an irresponsible act. Pakistan today faces an acute economic crisis, dwindling forex reserves and possibility of default. PTI alone cannot be held responsible for economic indiscipline that infects the country.

It is the responsibility of every constitutionally elected government to realize implications of signing agreements with international financial institutions like IMF and the negative impact which ensues, when any state chooses to unilaterally violate these. Pakistan has been embroiled in an economic crunch for many decades, because it has failed to keep a balance between expenses and revenues, so vital for financial discipline. There are too many subsidies and amnesty schemes for non-employment generating investment such as the real estate sector, where bulk of black money is parked.

The increasing import bill dwarfs claims of successive governments and powerful state institutions that profess widening tax base. This country is affording luxurious lifestyle of its paid and elected elite, on foreign loans. Many of them want private executive jets and helicopters for short hops, to an extent that it defies economic rationale. Other governments in the region, having vast foreign reserves and exports, almost double then imports, cannot think of such indulgences.

These incentives and amnesty schemes only serve to promote tax evasion and a black economy, whose beneficiaries exercise tremendous clout in corridors of power. The manner, in which BP190Million confiscated by UK’s NCA for proceeds of crime committed abroad from a powerful land mafia tycoon to be deposited in Pakistan National Exchequer, was instead returned to him and adjusted against instalments he owed for other irregularities imposed by SCP. It is an insight to influence such individuals’ hold and their nexus with those who matter.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

Lahore

E-banking

Electronic banking is very common nowadays but adopting electronic system is not reliable because if banks failed to use up-todate anti-viruses or firewalls, personal accounts could be hacked resulting the accessing of confidential customer account information and the making of unauthorized transactions. To introduce e-banking in rural areas country financial institution requires expensive financing tools to locate banking institution in rural areas and also, they have to coach or educate the people of rural areas so they can know how to use electronic banking.

All these objects are expensive but profitable in the long run. Although there is advancement in the technology in Pakistan but still a large part of Pakistan population is still excluded from the basic financial facilities. A lager part of Pakistani population doesn’t know how to use e-banking system. Policy of Pakistan government for the financial inclusion is not very strong.

If Pakistan wants a steady growth in this arena, they will have to gain access of products that are addressing the main barriers correctly, they will have to be cheaper, simpler to use and easy to access in rural areas. The main problem that is hindering the success of e-banking in Pakistan is still the lack of knowledge amongst people regarding this new form of banking, which is said to have made banking system much faster and easier around the world but still amongst people of a developing country are very confusing. This aspect is causing them not to move to the advanced system and thus stick by the old traditional manual banking system.

HARIS ABDUR REHMAN

Islamabad

Pak-US ties

The history of Pakistan-US bilateral relations is replete with many vicissitudes. The two nations became closer after Pakistan formally joined the US-sponsored defense agreements SEATO and CENTO. Pakistan was deeply disappointed when the military aid was suspended by the US on the eve of the 1965 war. When the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan became a close ally of the US. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan was left alone to face the consequences of the civil war in Afghanistan.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Pakistan once again became a partner of the US in the war on terror, and General Musharraf became the US “buddy”. Pakistan no longer wants to repeat the story of dealing with the problems created by the US in Afghanistan and desires lasting peace in the region. The current bilateral relations between Pakistan and the US are now facing a stalemate and bilateral relations are not moving forward due to the Biden administration’s unjustified demands, latest example being 2+2 Ministerial Meeting.

In this declaration, the US has repeatedly pressed Pakistan to do more to please India, even though Pakistan has been a major, active member of the international community in the global war on terror for the past two decades. Pakistan’s achievements and sacrifices in the war on terror are unparalleled and have been widely recognized by the international community, including the US, and no country in the region has done more for peace than Pakistan.

The close relationship between Pakistan and the US has always been mutually beneficial and has been an important factor for stability in South Asia. Pakistan has always wanted a balanced relationship with the US that includes trade, investment, energy and regional ties, but relations between Pakistan and the US has reached a deadlock.

AHMED KHALID

Karachi

 

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