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Middle Class

Walking a Tight-Rope

Universal opinion has variously labelled Orientals as excitable or patient, given their economic circumstances South Asians have much to be excited against, yet year after year they receive the bad news in their respective Annual Budgets with what can only be described as studied calm. One supposes that having braced oneself for the worst, the lowered quantum of bad news is taken conversely (or perversely) as good news. In the respect of economic circumstances, the lot of the average Pakistani is better than that of his/her less fortunate neighbours. For this dubious pleasure, credit cannot be claimed by any mortal, Divine Providence having made Pakistan self-sufficient (or almost so) in the main human-requirement areas of food, shelter and clothing. Every successive Annual Budget has managed to increasingly cramp the lifestyle of the average Pakistani but in all fairness this is much more due to external circumstances than due to domestic inadequacies. Our problem stems from a singular lack of applying imagination to the concept of Revenue gathering coupled with the necessity for wholesale reform of the system. The Federal Budget remains mostly the same, making the poor poorer and encompassing a greater number of the hapless middle class into the “poor” category, it does manage to make a small coterie of rich people much richer. The worst hit are the better-life aspirants of the wretched middle class, already bearing the awesome burden of increasing inflationary pressures on hearth and home. While life goes on and the average Pakistani learns to be stoic, the rulers must not become complacent that the streets will never resort to wide-scale protest, to quote John Dryden, “Beware the Fury of the Patient Man”, unquote.