Skeletons in the Closet

Irshad Salim: In the Summer of 2020, I shared one of the many moments and memories in the context of the on goings back ‘home’ (Pakistan)–after returning from ‘abroad’ (USA). ‘Home’ and ‘Abroad’ are the two sides of the coin most Pakistanis overseas carry in the wallet of their daily rituals. I have been one of them.

AUG 2020: Pakistan’s economy correlated with a friend’s leather business which was operating on negative income due to less than cost market pricing…
Over the years, net payables exceeded net receivables….
Monies coming in were (also) siphoned out into properties & ‘real estate’…
When the 2nd generation decided to wrap up the leather business, the chicken came home to roost…

When in 2000 I launched ‘’, meaning ‘home & abroad’, my kids and close friends were upset to put it kindly. They blame my ‘inertia at rest’ for operating ‘despardes’ (home & abroad) website. I call it though my deep dive.

Back home in 2017–after 5+ years in Riyadh, I felt ‘inertia at rest’ in the ecosystem in Islamabad (ISB) in 2019/2020.

Both despardes operating abroad, and the ecosystem cloud at home, I realized, didn’t generate value-adding incremental net revenues over the years–they were out there creating feel good factors for the readers, and insomnia for me after its adrenaline effect would hit me daily. Every time, the website traffic would cross a huge number, the thrill would be similar to the breaking news in ISB that the IMF has approved or released a huge tranche of loan package.

While despardes has been and remains my closet, the ecosystem is the wardrobe of the State and the nation. Ahsan Iqbal Sahib recently commented on the wardrobe malfunction (no pun meant toward Jennifer Lopez.)

Ahsan Iqbal: “The entire country is running on…loans,”…”It is not good judgement to take loans persistently,” he said. Dawn adds: Ahsan Iqbal said, “…the country’s “total budget was functioning on loans”, which he termed was “intolerable”; “Our total budget is currently functioning on loans”. “In the payment of loans only, we need to get more loans (Robbing Peter to pay Paul catchphrase) other than our resources, and our ongoing expenses — salaries, pensions, development, defence, subsidies, transfers to provinces — these are additional, and are being paid by taking more loans,”…

His narratives comprise a subset of ‘skeletons in the closet’ at home behind the ‘malfunctioning wardrobe’ handed out from abroad. This is being or shall be mitigated by borrowing from Peter and offloading it and the risks to Paul (the nation).

Thanks for lettingo the truth (skeletons in the closet). All of these have been happening for long though–it did not happen on PTI founder’s watch as you said. Of course, we need more loans as you say, to avoid the wardrobe malfunctioning further, which is an emergency response (bandaid) in my opinion, and not a mid-term or long-term solution as observers and experts have been saying.

“The flapping of the wings of a butterfly can be felt on the other side of the world.” –Chinese proverb

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