People have given a verdict in favor of Imran khan and PTI to form next government. Unfortunately at the very outset, the new government will face an economic crunch, which requires austerity measures, slash down on non-development expenditure and take effective steps to enhance tax revenue collection through direct taxation on people earning above a threshold.
IK delivered a balanced and conciliatory victory speech assuring those alleging irregularities that their complaints will be investigated. He stressed importance of having cordial relations with all neighboring countries. State sovereignty without economic stability is a utopian dream. It remains to be seen whether IK can force paid civil and uniformed bureaucracy to adopt austerity measures given the fact that PM Junejo was forced out of office for ordering government officers including generals to use local Suzuki cars.
The enormity of economic crisis is too complicated to be handled by civil bureaucrats who are as much responsible as politicians for misgoverning. This crisis was aggravated by criminal incompetence of financial regulatory agencies that have facilitated corruption and transfer of billions of dollars through normal banking channels via loopholes built within system and illegal parallel system such as Hundi etc.
Further indirect taxation will add to burden of poor and rise in inflation, which will be adverse to promises made by PTI. For too long the state has subsidized opulent lifestyle of its paid civil/ uniformed bureaucracy, through allotment of lands for commercial benefit of few and building golf clubs even on reclaimed land along seashore of Karachi, not even sparing forest and agriculture land in vicinity of Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan etc.
Political bitterness must cease and for that IK must take an initiative and seek national dialogue while paid institutions work within constitutional corridors.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, July 30.