My dear Muhammad Ali: By the time the 'Bailout of Greedy Investment Banks Bill' was passed, it was both too late and too early for me to write about it. Too late because my deadline had gone; too early because I still don't know the details. I will try and write about it in my next letter, but remember by that time your mother and I will be in China for two weeks travelling all over the place, as you and your sister Mashaal did with us last year. In the midst of the worst financial and economic turmoil that the world has faced since the Great Depression of the 1930s, with the War On Terror lost, with America's credibility gone down the chute and its 'scare factor' down the drain, you wanted me to tell you how things would pan out? Frankly, son, how would I know? How would anyone, though there are countless who are holding forth with the confidence only the half-baked can have, telling us what will happen, as if they are sitting at God's right hand. Economists are the worst of this kind, economists who have brought humanity to this sorry state. And greedy bankers too who pretend to be economists. They basically are supposed to keep our money in trust and invest it sensibly but, comfortable in their stupidity that they know everything about anything, they are too clever by half even for their own good. Ninety nine point nine percent of them are mediocre morons - I used these words factually and not in gall. Unintelligible jargon that means little does not an economist make. Neither does gibberish that amounts only to different types of scams make a banker. Nor do fancy clothes: see how these 'emperors' are stark naked now? Its brains, my dear child, its brains. These are just technicians who simply wield tools called 'economics' and 'banking' - a hammer and chisel with which you can either make or break. Put into policymaking positions as the world has been doing for too long and they break. An architect designs a house. A mason makes it by following the design. If masons started designing houses God alone knows what sort of monstrous gargoyles would emerge. The world economy is a monstrous gargoyle, the banking system Satan's head. The global economy, led by the US economy, and the world banking and financial system, led by US banking 'wisdom', have fallen into the hands of technicians who have got us here in the absence of regulation and oversight. Bankers' 'wisdom' is actually over-smart slyness of the foxy kind, driven by greed and avarice. The best people in policy-making positions are political economists. Since there is no such subject, not only has one to be a student of economics but also of political science, philosophy and history and should have worked with poverty. And they must be very humble, for no matter how good they might think they are, their craft is always hit and miss. The mediocrities from the World Bank-IMF Combine forget that they are only assassins wielding America's economic weapon, shooting and killing their own brothers and sisters to foster economic colonisation. The only economist that I have any time for today is Joseph Stieglitz. He talks a lot of sense basically because he talks the truth. And he is intelligible because he knows his subject and doesn't have to hide behind jargon and gibberish. You should make it a point of reading him, books and articles. The rest are humbug - monetary theory, demand side, supply side, pull-push and so much more claptrap. The simple thing is: never spend more than you earn; never borrow unless you have to and then borrow only that which you can easily return twice over; never try and be what you are not; never live a falsehood or illusion; never print money not backed by anything. You will be fine. Is it better to drive a Mercedes owned by a bank or a Corolla owned by you? The world has been stood upon its head. Better to ask an astrologer where we are going, if you place any store by such things. I don't. Neither should you. If you do, you abdicate your thought process to voodoo. This may be a 'science', but to try and predict the future is looked down upon by Allah. All I can tell you is to keep faith in God in the worst political, economic and security situations Pakistan has ever faced with not all in our control either. All I can tell you with some certainty is that things will get much worse before they begin to get better, if they do. That will depend on you and your generation. You have to make your country work; your father's generation has failed miserably. To get through the rougher period that is inevitably coming will require a high degree of crisis management, cleverness, intelligence, awareness, education, the ability to recognise opportunities and grasp them in time and, above all, wisdom. Statesmen of a very high calibre have these qualities. Do we have such people? Of course we do, but the wretched colonial system that we have adopted because of our mental slavery does not let them emerge - hence the failure of our intelligentsia. Pakistan could reach flashpoint very soon if we are not careful. The executive headed by the prime minister has been in office for seven months now but has very little to show for it except promises and verbiage. It started life as a wobbly coalition of four parties that are poles apart in their professed 'ideologies', which are actually no ideologies at all, only stances. The sad truth is that no party has even a belief system, leave alone an ideology, not even Islam in its true spirit, though they all profess to. But as you have seen in your young life, the distance between what our politicians profess and what they actually believe in is vast. And the distance between what they promise and what they deliver is vaster still. Even the least bad amongst them have uni-dimensional one-item agendas without ideological anchor, not rooted but floating somewhere between "Alice in Wonderland" and "Lets play politics-politics." The economic situation is so dire that I doubt very much whether our political and economic managers have the mental wherewithal to even understand its enormity and complexity, let alone deal with it and find solutions. While it requires thinking out of the box and drastic, revolutionary solutions in which the people, especially the rich, will have to make a lot of sacrifices and willingly lower their standards of living drastically, any wonder that they are back to the same old brigade of B-grade bureaucrats of the IMF-World Bank Combine that has never solved any problems, only exacerbated them. All they are good at is stitching and band-aid. What is required is statesmanship of a very high order that can mobilise the people behind a Master Rescue Plan that they will only adopt patriotically if their leaders first show the way by adopting appropriately austere lifestyles, like the Chinese leadership did after the revolution. We don't have such a leadership on our political landscape as far as the eye. It is a complete and utter wasteland, desolate and barren. There's chatter only, as from the Tower of Babel. I was with President Musharraf till the early hours of September 12. Then your mother and I left for Kuala Lumpur. As we were climbing up the steps of the plane, I said, "We will come back to a different Pakistan." We heard President Musharraf's resignation speech on our way back while in transit at Bangkok Airport. When we landed in Islamabad a few hours later, I felt that I was in that movie you like, Back to the Future. I felt that I had been transported to 1988 when General Ziaul Haq was assassinated and much the same lot got into the Parliament as has now. Followed 11 years of...I can't find the appropriate word for it, but you know what I mean. It was that which caused army intervention again. Now, again, we are back to the past. Our time machine does not seem to have the mechanism to return us to the 21st Century. You just returned to university, but when you Inshallah come back for your holidays in December, you will again find a different Pakistan. Don't worry, though. You know that your father is an incorrigible optimist. The only silver lining I can see in this barren, desolate, intellectually bankrupt political landscape of ours is that out of such situations sometimes, repeat sometimes, emerges a solution by itself, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. That solution can only be a revolution preceded by that necessary, indeed vital anarchy that first destroys the status quo and does a ruthless cleansing job. As our communist friends would say, "The objective conditions on the ground are ripe for a revolution." Sure they are. They have been for a long time, but there has been none. There never will be and the now inevitable anarchy coming soon will not transform itself into revolution unless there is an educated leadership backed by ideologues that espouses a native and home-grown ideology, a vanguard and cadres with experts and specialists in all necessary fields and disciplines. "Where will that leadership come from?" you ask. From the ashes, my dear son, from the ashes. The writer is a political analyst E-mail: