Taimur Shaique Hussain At this critical juncture prior to the announcement of the budget, the common man had been hoping innocently against hope for some respite as regards the costs of living everyday life in Pakistan. However, according to the established track record of the incumbent government, drastic decisions have been taken that may make the entire nation shudder at the thought of what may happen on the day that the budget FY 2011-12 is actually announced. The time does not appear far when Pakistan is likely to become one of the most expensive countries to live in based upon the ratio of cost of simple, daily necessities, as a proportion of the per capita GDP. A section of the English press recently reported some of the steps at advanced stages of implementation by our self-broadcasted peoples government. Firstly, 50 percent GST subsidy on sugar has reportedly been withdrawn by our powers that be, thus leading to a further escalation in sugar prices. The government claims that it has no funds. In order to make their ends meet, it is now expected that a 15 percent flood surcharge and a 2.5 percent special excise duty will be imposed starting April 01. Adding insult to injury, a proposal is reported to have been approved for a 2 percent monthly increase in power tariff for the remaining months of the fiscal year. The government appears to have failed in curtailing its own governance expenditures, and is in the process of slashing now Rs10 billion from flood relief expenditures; Rs35 billion from Benazir Income Support Programme; and Rs20 billion from funds which it had previously promised to Internally Displaced Persons. Although it is the duty of the government to effectively and efficiently gather taxation from the right sources to meet all these prior commitments, which now appear hollow promises and blatant eyewash, this government could never have succeeded at this task in the very first place. After all, the wealth and the capital of most of the key players is either not declared, or invested in safe havens abroad, or a combination of these two The core reason happens to be not only safety of capital, but also avoidance of the incidence of taxation. Most certainly then, the common man may not be reasonably expected to dole out taxes, while the majority of our leaders in power are involved in tax evasion In Pakistan, whenever taxes fall short of government expenditures, either developmental funds or expenditures of a critical nature are slashed, or then the incidence of tax increased upon the common man. With subsidies withdrawn, taxes increased, tariffs enhanced, and no curtailment of the lavish lifestyles of our self-proclaimed leaders, prices of everyday necessities have increased more than 100 percent since the present government took over. The role of donors and lending agencies cannot be emphasised enough, for it is while dancing to their stipulations, covenants, and regulations that our successive regimes so far have succeeded only in bringing the electorate to this sordid plight. Granted, Less Developed Countries (LDCs) do avail such monies, many also do manage to break away from the debt trap. Empirical research illustrates that factors accounting for independent, steady growth, low poverty economies include workers inward remittances; across-the-board austerity; reliance and specialisation of indigenous resources; attracting FDI; a curb on non-essential imports; and expenditure on high yield assets such as education; amongst others. The feudal-cum-industrialist mindset of politicians, combined with lacklustre implementation has left them unable to deliver on just about every single one of these accounts. While towing the US line blindly, they fail to realise that the US economy in recent years has been inarguably the largest example of a failed economic model; that each economy has its own unique economic solutions; and that US money is bound to go where it shall serve US interests. That the US will always push its own agenda is clear in recent times from its non-committal stance towards regimes such as those in Egypt; its attack upon Iraq despite a UN no-go; and its failure to help us, frontline allies, solve the highly militarised Kashmir issues despite a clear UN plebiscite. Why go far- when a diehard US ally such as the Shah of Iran was dethroned, the US policy was to refuse him even a runway to land There still remain certain political parties that derive their thrust, so to say, from neither feudal lords nor industrialists occupying its folds. These political parties are not only based upon sound political vision, but also have long, successful, track records of operating as grassroots social revolutions of the common man, by the common man, and for the common man. None of their leaders or members has ever derived personal monetary benefit from politics. I, for one, support their cause in resenting people whose ill-acquired wealth is placed abroad, whose loyalties and nationalities are foreign, but who do not hesitate to rule here over the innocent, subjugated, impoverished common man. At the risk of sounding revolutionary and perhaps quixotic, I tend to believe that if the leaders of a people are clean, the whole nation is bound to follow. Where have those days gone when people rallied together for breaking the silence of the many against the violence of a few.. The writer is a banker turned teacher and consultant. Email: taimurtsh@gmail.com