Apropos to the report by Shafqat in your issue dated 19 February: What a tragedy of errors and self inflicted damage motivated by greed of a few, who have managed to destroy Jinnah’s vision of the modern democratic welfare state, where every citizen were to enjoy equal rights, to a country ravaged by sectarian divide, giving sanctuary to terrorists of all shades and opinions, destroying the peace and tranquillity of this country. The mediocrity which has ruled this country is responsible for the mess we are in.
All we need are more than three countries out of 37 permanent members of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - other than China, we are not assured whether we will be able to muster their support. This reflects upon mediocrity, which has been a defining feature of our foreign policy for decade. The competence and commitment of men and women in our diplomatic corps who were assigned task to project our point of view and safeguard our vital national and security interest is in question now. When will we realize that those holding paid or elected public offices, diplomatic assignments and key sensitive posts must hold no other nationality other than Pakistani, nor have visible conflicts of interest such as family or assets located abroad, making them susceptible to pressure and blackmail.
What more is needed to tell us that every political and military government has failed to deliver? Even if we manage to avoid this scrutiny, those at the helm realize that they need to restructure and evolve their policies. The sole objective should be the protection of our collective long term national and economic interest.
For a country like Pakistan to pursue strategic global interest beyond our border was an exercise in delusion, because these are games for major super powers having strong national economy and fiscal space to manoeuvre. Our ruling elite and powerful institutions want to lead opulent life styles on the already depleted state expense, unwilling to levy direct taxes on all sources of income. They facilitate land mafia dons and are unwilling to curtail flow of diminishing foreign reserves to countries in Gulf, Europe, Canada etc, where they own expensive properties. God helps those who help themselves. Let us help ourselves.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, February 19.