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Archive for January, 2003

Crime, War and Punishment

Even without a damning report of the UN inspectors, the US is seemingly poised to go to war to oust the Saddam regime from Iraq. The Brits are the only country firmly in support, quite a few allies are wavering publicly about their commitment. While a “smoking gun” in the form of direct evidence is still not forthcoming, the secondary reasons include the anticipated destabilization of the entire Middle East because of the backlash among the muslim populace. Purists also argue about a legal basis to initiate war. In DAVOS on Sunday Jan 26, US Secretary of State calmed the fears of the world’s elite while giving a logical explanation of present US troop deployment in the region. However, he said that if need be the US was prepared to go alone.

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Sparking the Economy

There is nothing more important for re-vitalizing the economy than increasing employment opportunities, the increased cash flow in the economy has a snowball effect that in turn creates more jobs and so on. Maximum emphasis must also be put on population control, with population growth at nearly 3% the highest in the world we have diminishing job slots in Pakistan. Besides 3 million more hungry mouths to feed, we have to create at least 3 million more jobs, impossible even for the most vibrant of economies. That’s why we are playing “catch-up” all the time!

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Nationalizing “Bundoo Khan”

World War 2 sustained communism far beyond the 50 years it should have gone on its own momentum, the impetus of that war acting as a “manufacturing force-multiplier” for the socialist economy. As it is Communist China chose economic emancipation in the mid 70s under Deng Tsao Peng, President Jiang Zenin nailing the coffin of its socialist ideology last October by allowing free enterprise entrepreneurs officially into the Communist Party. By the late 60s it had been clear that the romantic notions of socialism that the leaders of independent third world States newly created in the 50s was seriously flawed. Saddled by an inefficient and indolent public sector which was into railways, telecommunications, water projects, electricity, sewerage, etc but flanked by socialist ideologues like JA Rahim and Dr Mubashar Hussain, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto plunged Pakistan into three decades (and still counting) of economic wilderness by his nationalization-binge of the early 70s.

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Economic Perception and Reality

Blessed with a bountiful supply of economy-sustaining resources, the country’s economy has been successively mauled by a cabal influenced by Harvard Business School model theorists, populist leaders charmed by the romantic socialist economic notions of the 50s and 60s and commercially ignorant bureaucrats bent upon imposing their Kafka-esque will on the economic destiny of the nation. We happen to have one of the most resilient economies in the world. It had to be in order to survive some very destructive economic Rasputins over the years. Notwithstanding the fact that we Pakistanis love to run ourselves down, the economy is certainly in better shape than 3 years ago.

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Keep Your Powder Dry

At a special ceremony held at Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) on Wednesday January 8, 2002 the indigenously developed 1300 km range Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) GHAURI was formally handed over to the President, Gen Pervez Musharraf accepting the induction into the “Strategic Forces Command” on behalf of the Pakistan Army. With this the teeth-to-tail structure of Pakistan as a nuclear power is now complete, i.e. from development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems to the operational commissioning thereof as an integral part of our defence mechanism under the umbrella of the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). That our scientists, engineers and workers achieved both uranium enrichment and missile development indigenously should be a matter of great pride and satisfaction to all Pakistanis. This force upgradation in non-conventional weapons will take the pressure off our outnumbered (in comparison numerically to our arch-enemy India) Armed Forces.

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Without Bloodying Swords

Using the pretext of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, India started moving the bulk of its Armed Forces within a fortnight thereafter to forward locations bordering Pakistan. Whatever part of its vast navy was in sea-worthy condition, our neighbour put out to sea in a posture menacing Pakistan’s coastline and sea-lanes. The Indian primary aim was far more camouflaged and far-reaching i.e. destroy Pakistan as a responsible, sovereign entity in the comity of nations, the rhetoric emanating from both Indian political and military leadership were in unison about the stated public objective, Pakistan would have to stop “cross-border terrorism” or India would take military action to force Pakistan to do so. To back up its threat, India arraigned its land and air forces in an attack mode all along Pakistan’s eastern borders. The moot point was whether India would confine adventure only across the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir only or whether it would launch an all-out war across the international border.

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