After what one would have to say – literally – has been a successful effort led by the Chief Justice to crowdsource the Diamer-Bhasha Dam Fund, the Federal Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad seems to be formulating a similarly triumphant plan to fix local trains by asking overseas Pakistanis to send train parts to Pakistan.

In his national address Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the nation to donate, especially the overseas Pakistanis who were asked to give $1,000 per person. Of course, the success of the PM’s economic policies can be seen in the Rs2,302,000 that were fetched by the sale of eight PM House buffaloes.

It is a unique austerity drive in that it seems to be extracting money from multiple species, not merely humans. And just like the drive divides living beings into their species and then decides what a specific category is to contribute, the humans themselves are divided into overseas and average Joe Pakistanis and showed contrasting begging bowls.

Where the government is being prudent is that in complete defiance of its pre-election promises, and indeed of all the money it seems to be asking from the citizens, they are still taking the begging bowl to other countries as well.

What that means is that from the IMF, to the Saudis, to the Chinese, the bowl has been taken to all proverbial corners of the world. This is perhaps the government’s message to everyone who condemned the backtracking on Atif Mian’s appointment in the Economic Advisory Council, by demonstrating how they absolutely do not discriminate when it comes to money matters, especially when they pertain to begging.

So as is evident this crowdsourced austerity drive is not only overcoming Pakistan’s financial crisis at the speed of knots, it is also helping the country get rid of the blatantly false allegations of discrimination. And of course whatever problems remain can be linked to another country during speeches at the UNGA.

But if we take a deeper more profound look – which of course the current government seems to be able to conjure in its collective sleep – the same model can be used to address some other nation-building questions for Pakistan.

For instance, a crowdsourced economy, which relies on multiple sources, all of whom would’ve contributed their bit in the begging bowl, can pave the way for crowdsourced sovereignty. After all, why take orders from one particular country or entity, when you can do so from multiple states?

The brightest overseas Pakistanis can be asked to create an algorithm which can determine which state would enjoy sovereignty in a given matter, or of course, the crowdsourced sovereignty can be distributed in accordance with percentages in any particular moment in time.

More critically, the crowdsourced sovereignty would help clarify matters domestically. The Constitution of Pakistan grants sovereignty to supernatural forces, with de facto sovereignty belong to extraterrestrial beings.

The latter use the intangible nature of the former to enjoy complete hegemony over sovereignty, with the Constitution clarifying that neither of these mysterious, impalpable – and yet omnipresent – entities be questioned.

And yet the Constitution claims to establish a democracy as well, which unfortunately gives the impression that the Parliament is supreme.

Given how the National Assembly was shaped up in July, and given the shapeup’s crowdsourcing plans, they have underscored where the supremacy and sovereignty actually belong. Therefore, it would be great if this crowdsourcing of sovereignty could be formalised domestically as well.

This isn’t just to give a clear picture of what’s going on. There would be significantly more entertainment coefficient in cattle economy, a judge proliferating his preferred pickup lines and a nation mistaking all of this as integrity, austerity and accountability.


The writer is a Lahore-based journalist.