At the End of the Day…

IRSHAD SALIM – The country has been, and is running on the myopic political and the vast economic interests of beneficiaries of the political developments that emerged decades ago, as the British India Act walked into the sunset.

Their interests were passed on to their ‘beneficiaries’ to protect/serve the interests of the hurriedly departing colonialist post WWII.

The cover wrapping this relationship and bilateral interests is the parliamentary democracy where these (electables) are permanently present by being on all sides and at all times -even in the domains and sub-domains of the State.

Collectively, I call them surrogates of those who left, and therefore they became rent seekers -they are now in larger numbers with coopters and collaborators.

The gifted lands, their fixed assets already protected thru social contract, these surrogates achieved two things over decades: tax-free income and manifest seats in the parliament -no matter where they crossed floor to, and protected their interests.

Laws were and are made by them -essentially within the bounds of the beneficial outer-most contour they gerrymandered and discussed in the foregoing paragraphs.

As for their liquid assets, most are kept abroad in banks and or as fixed assets abroad. For local use, enough cash is kept within the country, and get converted into forex, then dispatched or flown abroad. The Economic Recovery Act overwhelmingly approved by the Parliament in the 90s -I call it a bi-directional tunnel (like the subway between New York and New Jersey) facilitated -but a significantly mixed bag of bad intentions shadowed the legal instrument which was supposed to have helped national economy. Instead, it accelerated personal and vested interests and helped political economy at the peril of social value addition.

*سہولت اسٹور:*
آج میں اپنی ضرورت کی چیزیں لینے کے لیے ایک دکان پر گیا۔
گاہکوں کی خدمت کی جا رہی تھی حالانکہ وہ میرے بعد آئے تھے۔
کیا چاہیے سر؟حکم کریں۔
حکم نہیں عرض ہے۔ میں نے کہا اور وہ مسکرایا۔
ڈنحیل ہے؟امپورٹڈ والا ہے سر۔
لوکل والا چاہیے! فریش ہوتا ہے۔سوری سر۔ صرف امپورٹڈ والا ہے۔
صاف پینے کا پانی ہے؟ بوتل میں ہے سر نیسلے کا۔
اور “رول آف لا” کا توتھ برش ہے؟ وہ نہیں ہے سر۔
جسٹس برانڈ کا سوپ ہے؟وہ منگوانا پڑے گا۔
جسٹس برانڈ والا شیمپو ہے؟ دیکھنا پڑے گا سر جی۔ 
اور جھاڑو؟کس قسم کا سر؟
کوئی بھی برانڈ چلے گا۔ ڈھونڈنا پڑے گا سر۔
لگتا ہے آپ باہر سے آئے ہیں سر۔ہاں جی اسلام آباد سے۔
اس سے پہلے؟کیا مطلب؟
یہ چیزیں آپ باہر استعمال کرتے ہونگے سر۔ ہاں جی۔
اسلام آباد یا کراچی میں بھی نہیں ملے گا سر۔جی۔
کہیں نہیں ملے گا۔ وہ مسکرایا!
کیا چاہیے بیٹا؟اسپیشل ٹافی ہے؟
کتنی چاہیے؟دس دے دو۔
پیسے ڈبل ہو گئے ہیں۔کوئی بات نہیں۔ جلدی کرو۔
اے لو۔مزے کرو۔
ارشاد سلیم لاہور، ستمبر2020

The country has been turned into convenience store with franchises in all major cities -I wrote a satire poem ‘Convenience Store’ during a visit to Lahore in September 2020.

Fast forward July 2022,I feesee what I wrote in December 2020 disdained by conversations with many including with a dozen+ of ‘Khatay hain toh lagate bhi hain, bathtay bhi hain’.

And this video clip shared by Hamza on ‘default ho chuka huwa hai’ (ڈفالٹ ہو چکا ہُوا ہے) narrative by a young professional lady who says she’s aware of the ground realities ‘being a banker’:

Edited for clarity purposes

ماں ہماری ریاست ہےحکومت ہمارا باپ۔۔۔حکم چلاتا رہتا ہے۔۔۔
رکشہ وہ سیاسی پارٹی ہےباپ کو لے جاتا اور آتا ہے۔
کھانا ماں بناتی ہےباپ کھاتا رہتا ہے۔
مکان ہمارا ایک مرلہ پے ہےاور چوری باپ کا دھندہ ہے۔
پاکستان کا جھنڈا ہمارا ہےلیکن باپ ڈنڈا چلاتا ہے۔
چنچی  آئے اس میں بیٹھ کر جاتا ہےشام کو پھر لؤٹ کر چلا آتا ہے۔
کھانا ماں پھر پکاتی ہےباپ اسے کھا لیتا ہے۔
بچے جو عوام جیسے ہیں بچتا ہے تو کھاتے ہیں۔
ماں ہماری ریاست ہےباپ ہماری حکومت
کھانا پینا چلتا ہےآنا جانا رہتا ہے۔
ارشاد سلیم، اسلام آباد نومبر 14، 2020

What provoked me also to telegraph the note above is some of last week’s WhatsApp shares.
One was this, which I forwarded to several forums with a note: “Above all is to bring Pakistan out of bankruptcy to which we are ready to sacrifice all facilities and further request bureaucrats, parliamentarians, Judges and Military personnel to bring back their foreign assets, surrender perks beside helping Hon’ble by peasants and industrialist etc. to enhance production and also ban import of all luxury items. This is the only way out to bring Pakistan out of bankruptcy.
Pakistan came into existence after countless sacrifices of human lives. As compared, our sacrifices would be negligible but would result in the freedom of our future generations.”

My note: “Ditto. Also, the society has to start paying direct taxes, even in advance as happens abroad. I’m willing to do so every month (pkr 10k to pkr100k) voluntarily.”

Pat came a response: “A noble thought, lets begin at home, i am prepared to forgo 50% of my pension. Let this forum (Halqae Ahbab) be the torch bearer for others to follow.” “My suggestion is this deduction should be from Pensions / pay at GHQ ,a mechanism to be agreed upon ,we do not wish another DAM fund fiasco.”

The intro to the gentleman who volunteers to pay monthly to the State says, “Nawab Ghulam Rasool Khan Bahadur Sahab is the great great grand father of the Halqae Ahbab WhatsApp group member. “A warrior against the British, a companion of Tipu Sultan, Rasool Khan was great grand father of this gentleman.”

The State Bank Governor explains in this video concerns on default – I consider it akin to shooting ducks with a shot gun with the hope that getting one or two ducks down will be a happy hunting of the day! The rest can fly away for another day, I take it.

What’s the reality is this: At the end of the day, State institutions like the Central Bank (Governor) and or the military (ISPR spokesperson) have to face the nation and the media, and do damage control/optics management as best as they can. The video share above by an insider, the lady professional’s binary takes on it -as a bean counter, and a news report shared with me last week by another insider –all add up to a credible ‘info situation’ as they say.

In the first week of April I posted ‘things don’t add up’ based on my notes I shared during the period December thru March.

Adding up both the ‘situations’ would probably give me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach.

The young lady asks “it’s time the awam come out”. Fine, I’ll probably do also, but within the ambit of law, and join the rest to ask the Governor, “Show me the money” –as Jerry McGuire would say! And that’s the way it is (to quote Walter Kronkite’s famous line). Pakistan Zindabad!

Punjab By-Polls’ The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
An Uncomfortable Video Share
Dispatch From Karachi
In Pakistan Politics and Economics are Strange Bedfellows

Things Don’t Add Up