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Indians are happy to invest in their own countries, but our movers & shakers want to park their money elsewhere

Kamal Siddiqi June 15, 2015
The writer is Editor of The Express Tribune

With all this talk about budget and financial allocations, what we have seen over the years is that pumping money into a project does not mean that it will be completed. In fact, in most instances in Pakistan, the opposite has been the case in the public sector. Pump resources and the end result is less than expected.

There are many budgetary allocations that remain unutilised. That is because of a number of reasons — but primarily bureaucracy. Funds earmarked for one project or another are abandoned for lack of funds while government departments see their allocated funds lapsing only because the bureaucrats were not bothered enough to make it happen.

Corruption in Pakistan continues to grow. Money goes into the pockets of middlemen — in this case not just the lower grade bureaucrats but much higher up. It seems everyone is on the take in Pakistan. But there are some who argue that unlike Sindh, where almost nothing ever gets completed, in Punjab despite the corruption, there has been progress in terms of the services provided to the people.

Many say that it is not corruption but the determination of leaders to see things through to the end that is the real issue. As usual, the rest of Pakistan sees how Shahbaz Sharif has made the government work. And they wish he was their CM.

In the eyes of some, money is the root of all evil. Take it out, and what you will see is that things will get done. Obviously this is not how our rulers see it. They think money makes the wheel go round. Possibly the only problem now is that there are so many people on the gravy train that usually the wheel stays put.

What about things that do not require money? For example, why can’t our government ensure two basic fundamentals of traffic — that the vehicles stop at the red light and that buses stop at bus stops or at prearranged stops. Why can’t we make our sergeants have these enforced?

Another area of concern is the public display of weapons of various categories. Short of a rocket launcher, now the private guards of the high and mighty carry all sorts of heavy weaponry. Why can’t our government ensure that no arms are on public display or that heavy weaponry is best disallowed to private guards?

But this won’t happen. Someone somewhere, no matter how inconsequential, is lining his pockets. That is how everyone who has committed an offence is let off. Many a target killer has been spared proceedings because one party or the other claims that he is one of theirs. Why can’t we simply arrest and try people on the basis of their deeds (or misdeeds) and not based on which party they belong to?

For Pakistan to progress, someone has to be honest. But what we are seeing is that leaders from both our ruling and other parties are more interested in transferring their ill-gotten gains abroad. The Ayyan Ali affair is one of several such rings set up to ferret out funds of our elite.

It is not a surprise that Pakistanis and Afghans are one of the biggest buyers of properties in Dubai. While Indians and other South Asians are happy to invest in their own countries, our movers and shakers want to park their money elsewhere. That is why there is little economic activity in the country.

We desperately need a new set of leaders who are honest to Pakistan. Imagine the national shame of having a prime minister who was forced to disclose that he was sitting on the necklace of the wife of the Turkish PM who had donated it to help victims of a national disaster. What compelling reasons exist for Mr Gilani not to have sold the necklace to help those who needed government help and support?

It is not good enough to say that nothing will change. It will change if enough public protest and anger is registered against the provincial governments for not doing their work. Or against the federal government to protest its lop-sided and sometimes self-contradictory policies. This is now where the real challenge lies for us. To make enough noise to ensure someone in government is listening.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th,  2015.

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Malik Tariq | 6 years ago | Reply Excellent factual analysis of the wolves who lead us, their greed and their complete lack of ethics. The necklace donated by Turkish PM wife was the property of victims of flood and not a gift to the state. It should have been publicly auctioned and money donated to flood victims, instead it became prey to greed of a vulture who happened to be our PM. The man deserves to be in prison, the necklace confiscated and he be banned for life to contest elections or hold any public office. The protocol and privilege of former PM should be withdrawn.
chutadpaki | 6 years ago | Reply dude...indian's invest 10 times more money than it dubai..or buying land in africa........india has a huge makes sense to invest more money in india also...
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