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Archive for March, 2006

Rescuing Fact From Fiction

Pakistan’s economy is on the move, and why not? We are a geographical crossroads country blessed with (primarily) an agriculture economy and increasingly finding our industrial bearings. In the high-tech and services sector we are poised to take a quantum leap forward. We have a long coastline waiting to be exploited and a vast hinterland that can be developed for agriculture. The stock market is overvalued but not by much, the present benign govt attitude is of “letting a hundred crooks bloom” in the hope that the benefits of the booming economy will “trickle down” to the masses, the players who control the market and manipulate the “corrections” are not about to be corrected. Take NAB’s hasty withdrawal from investigating sugar shortages! It is in the political arena that we are badly mired, reliance being placed on corrupt elements who will pocket the goodies of “trickle-down” economics themselves rather than allowing it to fitter down to those who really need succour. Such chameleon loyalty does not mix well with the image of honesty that Gen Pervez Musharraf brought with him when he came to power. They are the ones who need Musharraf’s patronage, it is not the other way around. They cannot (and will not) deliver for anyone except themselves.


Five Decades as a Republic

Pakistan chose not to become a republic till March 23, 1956. Five decades on (and 35 years almost to the day the “First Republic” came asunder), we must take stock of where we are today, and where the “Second Republic” will be in the future. One may take lessons from the past, it is no use lamenting the many mistakes made, they are the stuff of history and fortunately, despite our best efforts we are still in existence. Predictions range from dire pessimism to the optimistic “feel good” churned out by the establishment’s propaganda machine, it would be in the scheme of things to hold that the truth is somewhere in-between, but would that be true? Most developing nations without access to windfall oil revenues (or some cash resource along that kind) face problems of varying magnitude and are coping with them. There have been some gains and some losses. Simplistically stated, the gains are mainly in the economic field, the losses mainly political. Defying the laws of nature, we are geo-politically stronger than ever before, due (with some individual credit to Pervez Musharraf’s decision-making) to favourable circumstances than our own abilities and performance thereof.


Geo-Political Maturity

Taking on China along the McMohan Line in late 1962 (“PM Jawarharlal Nehru orders Jawans to throw the Chinese out”, screamed newspaper headlines), India was itself evicted from North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in the East and Aksai Chin as well as adjoining areas in the West. Chinese stopped in the foothills (in fact at a place called Foothills) of the Himalayas, unilaterally declaring a cease-fire. Some Indian troops even crossed the border into (then) East Pakistan (mainly Sylhet) to escape the Chinese. Two Indian Infantry Corps ceased to exist as entities. The US rushed in help to equip 3-4 mountain divisions, willingly complying with the wish-list for arms and equipment, balking only at the Indian request for submarines. These could hardly be used in the Himalayas.