Sovereignty and security

 

In a recent NYT article, renowned Pakistani origin economist Atif Mian, highlighted what ails national economy and enormity of threats it poses to state sovereignty and future of over 200 million. He states that our economy has crashed almost 13 times in last 60 years, surviving on IMF bailout etc, with no plans by successive governments, including present, to address root causes. Pakistan today is poorest in region with GDP only 3.3%, insufficient to keep pace with population growth. The Federal Government is bankrupt because last year total interest on debt and pension etc to retired civil or uniformed employees exceed net revenues.

Beneficiaries of status quo are biggest obstacle to change, who prevail with immense clout, thereby posing threat to survival as independent sovereign state. The moneyed elite favor unfair business practices, tax evasion and their preferential access to power, followed by religious extremism and their patronage by powerful successive uniformed and civil governments, creating an environment for violence and intolerance.

Pakistan has become a nation of consumers with under 15% of its output invested in productivity generated projects. The idle activity of investment in real estate where value of land increases because of urban population demands, making it beyond access for much needed infrastructure. It has also become a parking lot for black economy and a much more attractive profit venture for individual investors than investing in industrial growth which generates employment and boosts tax revenues. He suggests land tax as sole remedy to boost investment.

Choice of water intensive crops like sugar cane on nearly 2.5 million acres makes no economic sense in a country facing acute water shortage and suggests rationalizing agriculture towards more efficient choices. Subsidies in his opinion should be confined only to performance-based industries which boost exports.

MALIK T ALI,

Lahore.

 

Transport Blues

 

With the every passing day the situation of transport on the Raiwind road, that leads to Thokar Niaz Baig, is deteriorating and leaving the commuters hapless. To top it off, there are thousands of commuters on this single road but there is no public transport by far and this thing gives the private transport owners an edge who exploit the likes of me by imposing fares of their own choice. The quandaries are not confined to these only,the billingsgate coming out of the mouths of vans’ conductors adds much to the plight .

If a student like me spends almost 200 rupees on the fares par the course, what he will do in the university where only cheapest things are left as options to recreate oneself. Moreover ,it is incumbent on the private transport owners as well to let two government students travel sans charging any fare but when we ask them that we are traveling as students, the next moment the kind of affront that comes our way is indescribable. At times ,given the vile language that conductors use while we are pleading with them to let us travel as students, I myself usually shed tears for it is downright unbearable and many other counterparts of mine will also be doing so.

It is government’s obligation to facilitate the students and the destitute who can’t afford even such minuscule things .Bestowing them with a public transport on this avenue will no less be a luxury for them. Its a concerted request by all of us (commuters) to the Cheif Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to please look into this matter and confer on us a suitable public bus transit system.

USAMA MALICK,

Lahore.