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Back to the Future, with Hope

Four years ago, despite the devastating floods of late 1992, 1993 had started with the hopes of a vast majority of the nation firmly rooted in the promise of economic Valhalla promised by then PM Mian Nawaz Sharif. The death of the COAS Gen Asif Nawaz in the first week of January set loose latent fears and ambitions putting into motion events that saw the exit, return and re-exit of Mian Nawaz Sharif as PM in the space of three months beginning April and ending in July 1993. The year’s end saw the contrived return of Ms. Benazir, the ensuing Zardari dominated nightmare running a full course till her exit as PM less than 60 days ago. In less than a month, the people of Pakistan are to go to the polls and while election fervour is muted because of the constant public refrain for accountability, the masses are gingerly hoping to pick up the threads of the economic aspirations lost four years ago. A crude and early rough poll shows the people’s mandate presently running clearly in Mian Nawaz Sharif’s favour. Having lost considerable ground economically as a nation since 1993, anyone who becomes Pakistan’s PM must first make the nation financially stable before energizing the various economic sectors to the same level as was obtaining then.

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‘Teen Sukhi Roti’?

If anything, the year 1996 will be remembered in Pakistan for the maximum rise in prices of essentials during any one single period in the nation’s history. Never before have the people of this country been subjected to such economic pressure in their daily lives as in the past three years. A galloping inflation seems to be on the verge of running wild, in essence we are only five miles from economic midnight. That the government’s economic handlers have been a disaster is no more a moot point, what is of concern is that they will probably escape accountability for criminal mismanagement of the economy. If we can hold a person who does not know driving to be culpable of murder for causing an accident leading to death, why cannot we charge-sheet those in charge of the economy for bringing it to virtual demise? Punitive action must also be made mandatory for these technocrats who have been active collaborators in helping those in ultimate power in the government loot the nation till at will.

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