Prime Minister Imran Khan, intellectuals and government functionaries must realise that the world’s worst collective economic depression of its history is not ahead, but it has already happened. It is not for nothing that the latest title cover of the magazine “The Economist” chillingly states that it was a grim calculus (The stark choices between life, death and the economy).
The adverse impact of such an unprecedented economic slump on Pakistan can only be overcome with prudent and visionary policy decisions, which rebuilds our economy, inside out. It can not be done through acquiring more loans from IMF and other lending agencies, for which Mr. Imran Khan has an opportunity of a lifetime. It must be realised that the future of Pakistanis can not be salvaged with BUSINESS AS USUAL.
Pakistan’s parasitic elite
The gravity of this economic crisis can be easily gauged with just one example of how Pakistan was plundered and left hollowed by the current system. This system was owned and managed by (hardly 5 percent of the population) the elite vultures, who turned Pakistan into a country only for the rich, of the rich, and by the rich.
In the process it (the elite class) ruthlessly plundered and badly crushed the middle class and pushed about 13 crore natives below the absolute poverty line. This was done by the misuse of authority through SRO’s. A detailed study of losses caused by SRO’s for the Indus Consortium reckons that the cumulative losses caused by the SROs (exemptions, non-taxation of benefits given to elites) during the last four decades is around Rs. 100 TRILLION.
Pakistan's economy to contract by 1.3% to 2.2% this year, forecast World Bank https://t.co/hTJU32mqV7
— Faseeh Mangi (@FaseehMangi) April 13, 2020
Way forward for Khan
Now again, the PM must not be misled by the schemes of dishing out Rs.12,000 (which is the cumulative payment of four months @Rs.3000/PM for an entire average family of about 7 persons) whereas the private labs and hospitals are charging about Rs.8,000/- per person for a COVID-19 test. Also, please do not forget that the elite of Pakistan, running the private school systems, are so callous, greedy, insensitive, aloof and indifferent to the financial crisis that they are not ready to obey the orders of the government to even reduce the school fees by 20%. This should have been 50%, provided the magnitude of the financial crisis.
The purpose of the above example was to remind our existing rulers that even during their about two years of governance, nothing improved for the almost non-existent middle class and the ever-increasing numbers of people living below the poverty line. This was mainly due to the massive currency devaluation’s adverse impact on prices of daily items, rising rates of utility bills, rapidly increasing unemployment and fast declining agricultural yields.
As such, it is high time that Pakistan must take a leap forward in the right direction, from its elitist economy to the economic model of Riasat e Madina. Its edifice must be built on the principles of meeting the basic needs (food, health, shelter, and education) of the have-nots.
This aim can only be achieved, if our Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to show the courage and boldness of “resetting” our economic system, which should be based on the cardinal principles of poor first. For this purpose, the PTI government immediately needs induction of a new team which can plan, work and deliver according to PTI’s election manifesto (promise to rebuild Pakistan), on the guiding principles of Riasat e Madina. This goal can only be achieved with immediate imposition of an all-out emergency, for remodeling the political, judicial, administrative and economic system on the governance model of Riasat e Madina.
In this regard, Prime Minister Imran Khan must have the knowledge that his success over his crusade against the well-entrenched (stronger than the might of the State) Mafia (s), wholly depends on his simultaneous, genuine (not like the formation of Task Forces) and fast tracked actions. The change of the system which would follow, must be beneficial for 95% of the suppressed population of Pakistan.
Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad is a columnist based in Lahore. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.