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Benazir Government

Bipartisan economic agenda

The democratic will of the people has been manifest in the new elected Government in Pakistan, the greatest priority of the new incumbents is to come to grips with the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. Pragmatic policies and lofty rhetoric about principles adopted by PPP at the outset of their tenure were waylaid at the altar of greed, mostly by those who were in the Party for convenience or by the circumstances of marriage. In sum total the 20 months of the Benazir Government contributed heavily to the economic tailspin that we are in now but we should not become guilty of tarring everything they did with a broad brush. The PPP, to their credit and in utter contrast to their manifesto, had opted for privatisation, knocking out the main prop of their own socialistic order (and ardour). The journey from the theoretical left brought the PPP to somewhere right of the middle and into line with the economic mainstream of the world. By outright abandonment of her father’s economic philosophy, Ms Benazir exposed Z.A.Bhutto’s serious economic mistake of nationalisation. In actual practice though, lip-service rhetoric did not translate into Thatcherite reality. A consensus on economic issues has, however, evolved which will stand the Nawaz Regime in good stead in coalescing national support for its economic initiatives, unless the Opposition decides to go “opposition for the sake of the opposition” route. Ms Benazir showed no magnanimity in victory 20 months ago, uptill now she has shown amazing lack of grace in defeat.