Listen to the people talk, absorb the viewpoints of the various private television channels and read numerous articles appearing in the print media, and one would end up being convinced that Pakistans economy is in bad shape, economic governance is poor to say the least and that unless the situation is arrested cum redeemed economically the country is headed towards disaster. Well, not entirely without merit, but if one was a member of the treasury benches, one would simply be appalled. Reasons being, that from the treasurys perspective, * Current account deficit has narrowed to an extent not seen in recent memory. In fact, if the trend continues we might even see a current account surplus in the next quarter - a rarity in Pakistans economic history. * Global oil prices with $ 80 or slightly under, remain on the manageable side and barring an abnormal raise in them the current level appear sustainable vis-a-vis governmental revenues on its present national petroleum sales basket. * Stock has recovered and in spite of stuttering on days bearing sad news owing to terrorist incidents, has shown resilience by not only holding its own but in attracting significant foreign funds. * Remittances are up and have reached a level unparallel in Pakistans history. If the last quarter is to be used as a benchmark then in all probability they will cross the $ 12 billion/annum mark, which just goes down to show the love and confidence our expatriates have in their homelands future. * We have a government learning on the job, but learning it is. We see that it is not stubborn, ready to change its stance as and when necessary (in fact borders on being shameless), and willing to go along with the global tide. * From peace agreements to backing the military in its crucial military operations in the north, it has by taking the heat and absorbing the criticism and backlash has successfully managed to provide the military with that vital space required by them to go about conducting their business in a professional manner. After all, Musharraf couldnt carry out these operations, as his regime simply could not take the political heat * Has meaningfully engaged the World and the sheer numbers gathered at the Friends of Democratic Pakistans table give credence to the argument that finally the outside is beginning to see Pakistan as a victim of terror and not a perpetrator. * Last but not least, has cleverly kept its main opposition PML-N at bay by keeping it confused and guessing as to the real relationship/equation between the President and the Prime Minister - A drag that incidentally is narrowing the popularity gap between the two main stream parties, not because PPP is gaining ground, but because PML-N is slipping. So if all is so hunky dory, then what is amiss? The thing is that if we truly look beneath the surface we get this terrible feeling that this government merely borders on mediocrity with no real leadership qualities, no vision, nor any entrepreneurial skills and perhaps suffers from a self insecurity about its competence and capabilities. In fact, it is almost as if it is afraid to succeed, because with success comes responsibility and burden The obvious example that immediately comes to mind in support of such a prognosis is its fear of Growth per says. Stifling growth, as we know in countries like ours is tantamount to a criminal offence. Absence of meaningful growth leads to unemployment and in increase in poverty levels, and given the fast growing population in Pakistan, an exceptionally high percentage of young persons, prevalent ethnic and sectarian divides the whole thing becomes a keg of potent dynamite when coupled with growing numbers of unemployed, absence of safety nets/public support subsidies and shrinking economic space. This is precisely where governance, management and a proactive approach comes into play, because the challenge is not to tame inflation by killing growth, but to ensure that growth when stimulated is then ably harnessed in a way that it tends to be both responsible and equitable. Also, general unhappiness amongst the public seems to be growing and in its failure to motivate its own people to invest, it almost appears as if this government lacks soul, something, that in itself can be a dampener for any type of national development and progress. Further, there is the negative credibility perception, which basically means that the present lot needs to actually deliver that little bit extra just to reach par. Last but not least, gross mismanagement of key national institutions has not helped. All icons that come to mind, Wapda, PIA, Railways, Steel Mills and others, are crumbling and the incompetence cum nepotism is in effect serving as a catalyst. So, the final question is that what should the govt do if we have to prevent the apple cart from being disturbed yet again? Mind you if the system is indeed wound up, it may just be for good reasons, since Pakistan can ill afford any more wasted periods in its history. However, to deliver for real tangible development and not for mere survival, the present leadership needs serious help, as it is quite obvious by now that it cannot deliver on its own. This help and support it can either seek from the other mainstream political party (PML-N) or by way of forging some sort of an arrangement with the army to draw on its strong administrative pool (Nawaz Muslim League went down this road during one of his previous stints) or by resorting to the reputable pool of professionals and entrepreneurs available in the private sector or by a combination of all three. However, time is of essence, and the quicker it embarks towards forming such broader national partnerships the better it will be for its chances of survival