SINCE the signing of Pakistan’s IMF deal, the opposition parties, along with some motivated media houses, have gone berserk about how miserable the economy of Pakistan is supposed to be and how the government has sold the country out to the IMF. Among those who gathered for Iftari in Islamabad the other day were those vultures who have feasted on a living Pakistan.
In their attempt to topple the government, they are indulging in unbridled negative rhetoric while conveniently forgetting that whatever the state of economy is right now is a result of their successive governments, of PPP and PML (N), rather than of the current regime. Neither the opposition nor the media have Pakistan’s national interest as a priority, i.e. financial stability and structural adjustment of our economy to the realities of the market. While Opposition wants to destabilize and topple the government the media are busy selling their souls. Pursuing this negative course both are creating perceptions that is badly affecting the economy and thus furthering the nefarious goals of our hostile neighbours.
The Imran Khan government has never tried to hide the fact that our economy is in bad shape and that in order to turn it around some difficult years with painful adjustments are ahead. Unfortunately Imran Khan’s mostly bankrupt media team have totally failed to highlight how these proven turncoats are instead busy making money for themselves. Imran Khan’s media team has a track record playing both sides successfully for years, getting to be a fixture in every govt why should they propagate anything against the Opposition that will disqualify them for job in the future? They will only do enough lip-service to keep in Imran’s good graces. The only penchant of those aides is for lining their own pockets and not the national interest.
The destabilizing effects of this wrong political propaganda has already been seen: the stock market lost over 800 points in one day and the value of the Pakistan rupee is down sliding with no end in sight. This totally uncalled for development is not based on economic indicators but on panic and irrational reaction to the negative perception propagated passed by those who have made money by looting Pakistan. Instead of worsening the situation the need of the hour is to find new ways to turn the economy around. For that cooperation between the different political groupings is called for rather than the ongoing in fighting. While Opposition is an important ingredient in the political system of parliamentary democracy, unfortunately in Pakistan it is more of a mudslinging match rather than the presenting of viable alternatives. Our politicians must but the finally put the ‘common good’ of all over and above narrow party or personal interest.
The Opposition bad-mouthed Asad Umar relentlessly from the start, even his good initiatives became suspect in the eyes of the masses. Dr Hafeez Sheikh is now being targeted for being an IMF appointee, conveniently forgetting that he left nearly 20 years ago and was a very successful Sindh Minister for Finance, bringing the province from deficit to surplus, before joining the Musharraf regime. Once in power PPP appointed him Minister for Finance till Salman Farouqi found he was a roadblock to Asif Zardari’s motivated greed and machinations. Whatever good the PPP government did in Finance was in Hafeez Sheikh’s tenure. Many more Finance Ministers followed him, Shaukat Tareen did get PPP the NFC Award but then left the Cabinet out of sheer disgust and frustration. Given his chartered accountant background my good friend Ishaq Dar should have done better but he forsook his professional capability for more worldly personal pursuits building his Dubai Empire, taking refuge from accountability in a photo-ops hospital bed in London.
Bail-outs by ‘friendly countries’, premature hopes for oil and gas deposits found off-shore meant to magically solve all energy problems and the magical creation of 10m jobs while setting the stage of an Islamic welfare state have made Pakistani people believe that somehow things will go on as usual. What to talk about Imran Khan’s message of integrity and sincerity, the rascals within his media team for their own vested reasons avoid exposing the reality of the Opposition’s “Crocodile tears.” This cancer in Imran’s media team has to be removed, preferably without a knife, but if in the national interest, surgically with a knife. For once the intelligence agencies should do their job and in the national interest expose to Imran Khan (for his sake) those media turncoats for the mercenaries they are. Moreover the individual/s who brought them close to Imran Khan (and their reasons why) should stand exposed. The PML (N) and PPP are fighting desperately for survival of their leaders, most of whom are headed for jail for corruption, money-laundering, etc (and in Asif Zardari’s case possibly murder). Even while the corrupt are shedding “crocodile tears” it is no surprise all guns have been turned with venom on the Chairman NAB. Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal should simply continue doing his duty according to his conscience and the national interest.
—The writer is a defence and security analyst.