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Archive for December, 1989

Barters, dominoes and Pakistan

The dominoes are falling all over Eastern Europe. The great socialistic society has been torn apart, exposed as a farce, symbolised by the expensive taste of the communist elite ensconced in exclusive hideaways while exhorting the faithful masses to make economic sacrifices. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, case in point Erich Honercker who lived in studied luxury along with his close aides in a wallet enclosure near East Berlin — and is now being hounded by an outraged populace bent upon making him pay for their years of denial compounded by the corruption of their leaders. It took 44 years but the economic ineptitude of socialism has been glaringly exposed.

Prime Minister Ryzkhov of the USSR pleaded with his COMECON partners last week to establish a vast common market and pay for goods from each other in hard cash instead of barter! In the late 60s and early 70s, Pakistan entered into a number of Barter Agreements with COMECON countries, Sweden and Finland besides China. The underlying concept behind these Barter Agreements was sound. Since Pakistan was short of hard cash, barters would be used as a vehicle for the purchase of integrated machinery, our goods and commodities paying for our requirements in a sovereign reciprocal trade. Essentially the Barter arrangements had honest foundations, chicanery came later and with it the perpetration of one of the greatest frauds in the history of commerce in the world, force-multiplied in the decade of Martial Law, alive, well and still flourishing during the PPP Government. While the Communist nations once spoke endlessly about the wonders of socialism, they became rank capitalists when dealing with us. A huge conspiracy of silence, cushioned by money did not permit anyone to penetrate the smokescreen.

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De-congesting Traffic in Karachi

All major cities in the world face traffic problems but the problems of the city of Karachi are unique, mostly they stem from extremely bad town planning. Except for Islamabad where some order is apparent there is a visibly disorganised pattern in all the cities of Pakistan of hasty growth and bad planning, hopelessly misconceived to suit vested interests.

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Zarb-i-Momin, geo-political opportunities-II

Within the fast changing mosaic of emerging realities in the governing systems of the nations of the world, Pakistan’s geographical position creates opportunities which may not come for many many years in the future. As proud citizens of an independent nation we have suddenly been given the choice of taking the country pell-mell to an honourable and eminent place among the major nations of the world. To that end, Zarb-i-Momin has coincidentally come at an opportune moment, we must grasp boldly at its unstated potential.

The Afghan War was singularly responsible for the rearmament/re-equipping of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Generous US military and economic aid continues to this day. Very correctly, US planners assessed their Pakistan’s geo-political positioning gives it a linchpin status in the region. With Iran after the Shah’s exit, ceasing to be a major western bastion against Russian expansion in the region, Pakistan became a front-line state in the bid to stop further Russian advance into the Indian Ocean.

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State of the Economy

A year into the PPP’s ascent to Federal power, it is time to take stock of the economic health of the nation. While the effect of long-term measures cannot be visibly discernible during this short period, the economic indicators are more apparent and a coherent picture emerges of the performance of Ms Benazir’s Government.

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