AFTER having failed to find NRO, ruling elite has thrown gauntlet to escape accountability. Zardari took the lead twice. Once in full glare of media and second time, reportedly, when he was being questioned by NAB. He said poisonously, economy and accountability could not go together. In this country, either NAB would run or economy. The version of PML (N) is that economy, poor people and Imran Khan could not coexist. The style of Zardari is of a feudal bully and hypocrisy is enduring feature of PML (N) however, aim of both is to blackmail the government, transfixed by plummeting economy. Being devoid of mass appeal, ruling elite is a spent force politically; protest/agitation but in guile and craft, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Their cable is well knitted and still undeterred. This time they have chosen economy for the pot-shot.
Potentially, economy is an easy prey because in Pakistan, it largely works on sentiments and they have connections at places which can press panic buttons. In economic circles, prior to its conclusion, an IMF package was being considered a crying need to make uncertainty and volatility a way for stability in economy despite its likely tough terms and conditions. With IMF bailout package, as expected, initial reaction in stock market was very positive and index shot up handsomely. After a while, with rupee skidding low after low against dollar, stock market is continuously in state of bloodbath. It is widely held view that largely, crisis in currency market is artificial and has been instigated by vested interests on baseless and mischievous rumors, speculations and fears. It is virtually an act of vandalism and its nexus with ruling elite cannot be easily dismissed particularly, in backdrop of their above malicious utterances and uncommon haste being shown to capitalize its ensuing ramifications for furtherance of their ulterior motives which have become too obvious to miss out. Besides, their mischief is also active on political plane to kick much dust about future of government because it also entails implications for economy.
A hastily arranged Iftar by Bilawal, attended by all known corrupt characters is latest sly move whose next station is APC after Eidul Fitr under Fazal-ur- Rehman. It is again a clever move to stoke more fear as he is considered by them capable of locking Islamabad by force with no regard to the fact that essentially his crowd would be an unrepresentative crowd.It shows callous disregard to sanctity of methods to achieve ends. On top of this, they have perfect skills to portray a fake story or an irritant to a real monumental threat or a compelling case. More recently, Nawaz Sharif staged a drama of his fake illness in prison and carried it through successfully in broad day light. A craftily aligned media is biggest tool in their art of political chicanery, venality, sophistry and subterfuge. They have successfully managed to present a doomsday scenario which could pose serious hazards to an economy at edge of precipice as of Pakistan. They have charged Imran Khan for having failed to run the country and plunged it deeper because of his ineptness and inexperience hence, must resign to pave way for better hands to rescue the country. The factual position is different. Imran Khan inherited a country pulverized economically, morally and socially at hands of ruling elite which now constitutes opposition. A look at economy which he inherited would tell grave and huge imbalances it had. The debts swelled to 72.5% of GDP. Trade deficit stood at $37 billion and current account deficit at $ 18.2 Billion. Circular debt was staggering at Rs 1200b. Every state enterprise was in colossal loss. Notwithstanding claims of growth/development by Nawaz govt, it was a bust economy which he got. Its rehabilitation was an uphill task which he is unable to do it so far but is continuing his determined efforts. He appears to be a man on mission.
To the contrary, indifference to national pursuits was writ large during entire period of Nawaz in office. To some, it was deliberate for own self perpetuation. On question of competence between the two, Nawaz was never ready to talk with Imran Khan as two presidential candidates do in US despite a challenge given to him by Imran Khan. The obvious reason was his inability in speech and knowledge as blank look on his face would always suggest. In common parlance, this is described by something which is better to be omitted. The experience is not automatic. One requires background to acquire it. In comparison, Imran Khan has an edge. On strength of his strong moral sense, he could take difficult decisions in office fearlessly. He could hire competency if so required which was amply manifested when he changed his entire economic team. Under this discourse there was a proposition who couldn’t coexist. It is definitely ruling elite which caused destruction deliberately for own sake and shows no change in mindset and approach. They would only deepen destruction as they have done it earlier. Accountability is an imperative. Imran Khan holds hope or at the least, a compulsion because nations do not find matador overnight. They have to wait long and we have already consumed the cushion. When all corrupt people ganged up against one man. Be sure, he is the man to be looked for.
— The writer, retired Lt Col, is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.