There is no way exaggerating it. Over my long life of 71 years, I have seen the world change. But I have never seen it change so utterly and completely in just a month. Up is no longer up, and down is no longer down. For example, proffering your hand for a shake is now considered rude when it was the other way round before Covid-19.
Games, plays and musical performances are not being performed, and the few that are, are to no audiences. The only theatre is the theatre of the absurd, and it is being performed beautifully everyday by the US President, Donald ‘Jenius’ Trump during his pandemic briefings. The other actors come on and contradict him, underlining the fact that at heart, he is a fool.
So badly has he handled the crisis that even he thinks he is in danger of losing the Presidential election come November, else why would he blame China for trying to make him lose the election? Only a man who fears such a thing starts pointing fingers so much before the event. Even his predecessor has said that his handling of the pandemic was a chaotic disaster.
In my last article, I called it the new normal. Actually, what we have is the new abnormal, which means that the new world order, which is being fashioned naturally by events out of our control will have a mind of its own. It might be better than what we have had, because there will be no human fine tuning it.
On the other hand, it could be completely absurd, leading to the end of globalization as we know it, the European Union might degrade, or come to an end as a project, and the world will no longer be a ‘global village.’ It will be every country for itself or in small pockets of alliances. To survive this economic and political catastrophe, it will require all hands on deck as it were.
We Pakistanis should come together and reclaim our long lost pride. We should insist as far as possible that everything that we buy or use is made in Pakistan. If you put your mind to it, we can, after all, do a lot of things, but are too lazy and stupid not to.
How about a campaign that says ‘Basmati is only Pakistani’? Right now in Maharashtra, people are throwing out Pakistani goods from shops, basically emphasizing their prejudice
Didn’t Balochistan University make a ventilator? Could you ever have imagined that, when Americans found it so difficult to do so? If we can make the F-17 Thunder Jet Fighter, why can’t we make a commercial aircraft? When we travel domestically, we take our domestic airlines for granted and jump on one of them and traipse off. Now there are no airlines flying, nationally or internationally.
I know people who have driven all the way from Karachi to Islamabad and were none the worse for wear. This is the time for the government to seriously launch a world-class train service, which will get you to you destination without pain. If I’m not wrong, during the British Raj, India had a fantastic train service which was run mostly by Anglo-Indians. It inspired the famous movie with Ava Gardener called “Bawani Junction.”
If we had not messed up our steel mill, we could have made excellent rolling stock, carriages, and missiles that can fly to Europe, so why can’t we make our own locomotives? The government should launch ‘A Made in Pakistan’ campaign, and awaken our long asleep pride and patriotism, and finish the prejudice against Pakistani goods.
They should give a two-year deadline to Pakistani industrialists to make a genuinely indigenous car. It can be done. Way back in the early 70s, the consultancy I worked for copied the Citroen 2CV6 and the French passed it. Sadly, the then minister concerned, Mr. J.A Rahim vetoed it, saying that what we needed was not an ‘awami’ or peoples car, but Awami buses and trucks.
Admirable no doubt, but it killed the peoples car and the Awami buses and trucks just remained an idea. We couldn’t make seats, so our seats were like hammocks, and the roof of the car was canvas. It made it light, cheap, and affordable. Anyway, that’s just an old story. If one sets ones mind to it, anything can be done.
Didn’t we make the bomb, in the face of much opposition and missiles to deliver them? We can do many other things. We just have to put our minds to it. And, by the way, we should stop India from stealing our products, like basmati rice, which they sell as Indian.
The dollar will not entirely disappear, but just recede into a high degree of irrelevance, like sterling has done, which at one time was the major currency
How about a campaign that says ‘Basmati is only Pakistani’? Right now in Maharashtra, people are throwing out Pakistani goods from shops, basically emphasizing their prejudice. We should not worry about such things and wait for the Indians to come to their senses.
By the way, didn’t I say in one of my last articles that the US dollar is in danger of being replaced as a global reserve and trading currency? Well it has started. China has started a major trial of state run digital currency and used the e-RMB for trading in its bourses. It cancelled the dollar peg in its stock exchange transactions and decided to deal officially by using the Chinese Yuan instead of the dollar, making the dollar non-existent in Chinese trade.
We have had crypto currencies before, like the bit coin, but never one which is run by a major economy. An alternative digital currency which is sovereign will blunt the impact of any sanctions that the US imposes, like on Iran. That’s not all: China now intends to pay its government servants in the digital currency from May. So the dragon is awake and moving. And the US and its stooges better watch out.
In this new situation, it would be a good idea for the Pakistan government to form a task force to work out how to deal with this new situation, how to take advantage of it and how to live in a dollar free world. Meaning, a world which is not pressurized by the dollar. The dollar will not entirely disappear, but just recede into a high degree of irrelevance, like sterling has done, which at one time was the major currency. Then ‘Made in Pakistan’ will get wheels and will one day God willing, start flying.
Humayun Gauhar is a Senior Fellow and Member Board of Directors at Global Think Tank Network (GTTN). This article first appeared on Pakistan Today under a different title and has been republished with the author’s permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.