We are passing through times, where it is becoming more and more difficult to believe or not to believe. We have been subjected to so many lies that we have lost faith in what the government and its mouthpiece media throws at us. If I were to draw up a list of promises that never materialised or claims that turned out to be false, I could perhaps fill more than a hundred volumes. We lie spontaneously and naturally from the highest in the land to the man in the street. It could perhaps be said that non adherence to the truth has now become ingrained in our national character.

The Panama Leaks crisis has taken this lying culture to new heights, wherein ruling party ministers appear on television trying their best to be more loyal to the king than the king himself. What they do not realise is the fact that in doing so they are not only destroying their own image and credibility, but that of the ‘King’.

As I wrote in one of my earlier columns, I and others like me have no issues with people running offshore companies. My problem begins when money begins to be laundered and flight of capital ensues. Aggravation takes place, when this practice involves someone holding the highest public office in the country. Insult is added to injury, when such individuals deny the truth thereby betraying the trust that voters and the nation had placed in them. So the real crime is concealment of the truth (or lying) – an issue, which is deliberately being side tracked on the floor of the Parliament and during media appearances. With television clips available as evidence of lies, there appears to be no sense in wasting time in creation of TORs etc. something that will in all probability prove fruitless. This will be so because almost everyone involved in this exercise has closets full of skeletons.

One of the most common methods of deflecting public attention from the real issue is to find a scapegoat. In the present scenario, this scapegoat is Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf and its leader Imran Khan. Finger pointing at PTI has now reached a point, where it can be called ‘funny’, viewed in the light of an admission by Khan Sahib that his single offshore company was formed on legal advice to absorb money earned from playing county cricket. It was also admitted that this money was brought back into Pakistan. Repeated finger pointing at PTI by Ruling Party luminaries has now become almost farcical and may even become counterproductive to PML-N interests if not checked.

I was talking to an international economic expert, who shocked me by saying that our coffers were empty. When I reminded him that the Finance Minister had repeatedly stated the happy situation of our foreign exchange reserves. I was told that the concerned ministry had very cleverly manipulated figures and included the funds lying in foreign currency bank accounts. Whether this piece of information is true or false, the onus to clarify its position now rests with the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan.

One hears ministers and government functionaries, paint a rosy picture regarding encouragement and facilitation of entrepreneurial businesses. These statements do not reflect the truth. A case in point is that of an acquaintance, who returned to his native land with an intent to invest and open a business in the Federal Capital. This son of the soil struck a dead end, when every government department in the work flow demanded illegal gratification in ways so subtle that I was amazed at the creativity of officials concerned. The end result of this particular Pakistani’s effort was disillusionment and frustration, which prompted his return across the sea.

We are passing through a critical phase of our survival, where we need a leadership that is honest and courageous. We have so far failed to find a politician (barring our Founding Father), who can fulfill this criterion - what we can do is to continue hoping.