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We are the problem and none else Asif Haroon Raja

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene III, L. 140-141)


We are the problem and none else

Asif Haroon Raja


Pakistan suffers from multiple ailments. None care to carry out an appraisal as to what is wrong with Pakistan and why Pakistan is perpetually sick and not getting cured. Over a period of time, we seem to have lost our direction and have gone astray. The society as a whole is sunk in the pool of moral degeneration. High morals, principles, ethics, values, respect, brotherhood, affections and honesty are all stories of the past. Lies, deception, crookery, thuggery and corruption have become norms. Majority has chosen dishonesty as a way of life. In the past these traits were mostly found among the elites but now these have permeated down to the lowest class of people. All prefer to live in hypocrisy, mendacity, and squalor. People are averse to speaking the truth since telling the truth requires courage and character. Afraid of consequences, we go the easy way and in the process we have become addicted to lying. Those who say that these characteristics are found in every country of the world, and each human being has these tendencies may not be speaking the whole truth since these collective diseases are in abundance in Pakistan and are not seen anywhere else.


It is hard to get food items free of adulteration. Pure ghee is made out of fats of dead dogs and donkeys. Meat of donkeys and dead cows/buffaloes are sold in meat shops. Drugs including lifesaving drugs are spurious. We consume contaminated spices, cooking oil, milk and soft drinks. Fakery in all our dealings is rampant. Child labor, child abuse, human trafficking, hoarding, black marketing, smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, extortion are common. Lower courts and police can easily be swayed or bought. Police instead of catching the culprits and criminals gets in league with them. Hand of law fall upon the poor only. Our law makers are the biggest violators of rule of law. They either break or bend laws to suit their convenience. We indulge in them rather than striving to overcome them. We may deny it but the world perceives us that way. Instead of working hard to overcome our weak areas we lament and blame others for our failings.  


Sickness is within ourselves. The students choose to plagiarize and cheat. Men and women enter into marriage under false pretenses. Pompousness and vulgar show of wealth by the rich is in fashion, and so is nepotism and sycophancy. Suffering from superiority complex, the elites look down upon the poor. Problem lies with those who allow religion to give them a sense of false complacency. And those who pander to the powerful and the mighty, and ignore the weak and the frightened.


May I hazard to ask them who their gods are? Not Allah, surely. Their gods are flawed beings whom they admire and worship, and their own base selves. Parents who chastise their children, but never spend time with them, explaining right from wrong, the problem lies with them. And they try to assuage their children with toys and electronics, cars and jewels. Problem lies with the teaching community in schools and colleges who fall much short of acting as role models for the students.


Undoubtedly, Pakistan suffers from leadership crisis and is saddled with corrupt leaders and legislators who care a lot for their vested interests but little for national interests, but we are responsible for electing them again and again. We get swayed by their false promises and forget their past follies. We think in terms of political party affiliations, ethnic, linguistic and caste basis and pay little heed to national interests.  As a result, we are a divided nation and despite being a nuclear power and blessed with strong armed forces, everyone whips Pakistan. While Corruption is eating into the vitals of the country like a termite, terrorism is jolting the very foundations of Pakistan.    


Isn’t it high time to stop thinking that the problem is the army, the politicians, the mullahs, the nation? The problem is us. We are the problem. The same students who plagiarise their papers, who cheat in their exams, are clamoring at rallies screaming for “Inquilab”. The same women and men who point fingers at the immoral leaders are cheating on their spouses. The same men who lambast the feudals and industrialists are cheating on their taxes and not paying their electricity bills. The same people who donate so much money to the poor are underpaying their servants. 
Each and every person in Pakistan contributes to this system. We are the problem. 
And each person who says, “Not me, I’m honest” is the biggest liar of all. 

Nuclear might, strong army, and full coffers will neither make us a strong nation, nor will help in making us morally strong and virtuous. Each one of us will have to carry out self-accountability and put his/her own house in order rather than finding faults in others. Home is the best training centre followed by the educational institute to guide the youth towards constructive channels. These two reformatory laboratories need to play their role effectively. Once we bridge the societal divides and get united, improve our moral fibre and follow the righteous path as inscribed in the Quran and taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), only then will Allah shower His blessings, and grant us an upright, honest, pious and bold leader who will cure the diseases of Pakistan and make it healthy and prosperous. Only then we as a nation will be able to confront the internal and external challenges squarely and lead an honorable life.    



The writer is a defence analyst, columnist, and author of five books. asifharoonraja@gmail.com



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               The last chance. 


Debt was 1,500 Billion at end of Musharraf’s Govt…..Jumped to 14,000 Billion​ at end of Zardari’s term;
PML-N Govt has borrowed 18,800 Billion in just 18 months, and the term is not over yet
 The figures showing the increase in our National debt are frightening. They show that not only are our leaders incompetent, but the reckless manner in which they have run the country to take the debt from 1500 billion at the end of Musharrafs era to 14000 billion after Zardari’ last spell, and then Nawaz has not ended his spell, but has borrowed 18,800 billion! In just 18 months, and his term is not over yet.
A friend of mine who has been with the World bank for twenty years had the following comments on these figures.
Interesting figures.  The following points come to mind.
1. Performance under military govts  – two and half to three times better than under politicos.  Per capita income which measures people’s welfare showed consistent improvement under military govts. Stagnant under political govts. and particularly abysmal under the Bhuttos, who played with peoples expectations.  No delivery.
2. Scandalous level of debt financing under

​Zardari.   He almost de-constructed the economy and the country.  You don’t see such rapid debt build up in peace time. Oil price increases may have contributed to no more that 25-50 pc of this increase. but nearly 900 pc increase in 4 to 5 years only shows that  our finances were in a free fall.  This can only sustain in a culture of corruption and cronyism or war.

The last line is particularly important ‘ in a culture of corruption cronyism or war. ‘

The point being that this level of debt increase can only be visited upon a State in a time of war. Gen Raheel Shareef understands well the word war. All army officers have lived with this word. And know well the cost. In lives, their lives are at the forefront. He should apply this yardstick to his decisions. In Wana his soldiers are at war. Not of their choosing, but when pushed to the wall the Pakistan Army under Gen. Raheel had to fight. This has been appreciated worldwide, and has earned him the respect of the world leadership. Gen Raheel should also realize that the actions of the politicians is as dangerous and as damaging as the Taliban. And must be tackled with the same ferocity.
    It shows how the recklessly the Zardari Government treated the State of Pakistan. Zardari has set a record of corruption and of singlehandedly destroying the economy of the country. Along with Gen Kayani, who certainly was a part of this crooked setup, for, without Kayanis tacit approval, this could not have continued.
    During this period no development of any kind, no roads, no airports no Gas/ Oil pipelines were laid. No infrastructure of any kind, the money vanished into the deep pockets of the PPP, via the Sindh Government network. The huge amounts of money– the 200 billion Rs a year that were skimmed off were added into the National Debt. None of the politicians in the opposition or the bureaucracy had the intelligence to realize the enormity of the crime. It is only the people who will continue to suffer their poverty, for their hope has been stolen from them by these rapacious politicians. The entire assembly should be branded as crooks. Even Imran Khan should be taken to task for allowing himself to become a part of this scam, just by attending this bogus assembly.
    It is now apparent that the politicians can not be allowed to govern any longer. They have continually raped the country, while making empty promises, that they had no intention of keeping. They have violated the constitution, and caused immense economic damage to the country. While giving no development of any kind.
    Nawaz Sharif is not visible in the country, neither is Shabaz Sharif. The scams are mounting, the latest is the Ship for the transport of LPG from Qatar. It has been exposed on TV that our port does not have the depth to accommodate such a large vessel, and smaller parcels of gas will have to be brought in. Strangely a company like Engro with sensible management in place could be caught in being party to such blunders. On the same level as Raja Rental. With huge amounts being paid on the contracted LPG if the delivery of the contracted amounts are not taken. These are actions that are part of the systematic rape of the country. Why is this being allowed to continue.?
   Gen Raheel should understand that we the people are powerless to stop this attack on the country, for we are told to wait for the next election. Gen Raheel should understand that there may not be a Pakistan left in 24 months time. He has to act now, for with each year another 1000 billion will be added to our burden. For him there will be no fig leaf of the constitution to hide behind. That fig leaf has been worn threadbare by the politicians, till it is now transparent and everyone can see through it. Anyone in support of the status quo is guilty of treason. This country has contract killers on the loose, unlicensed weapons are freely available– and were on hire till the recent past, but now there is such a huge number available that it is cheaper to buy. Crime does pay, and the politicians are the success story for crime.
    Gen Raheel will have to put a stop to this rot. Otherwise the country will pay a horrific price. Even Imran Khan will realise that being a part of this system will involve him in the resultant mess. How will Imran say he was not involved.?
    Gen Sahib, you must act now, in defence of the country. It is the only one we have.

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Pakistan Bank Chief Quits as Economy Stalls:Ishaq Dar, Nawaz Sharif’s Umbersari Kashmiri Biradari Burden

 Resignation of the governor state bank under alleged political pressure, raises very serious concerns: Asad Umar


31 January 2014 


PTI expresses serious concern over the manner in which a presently headless ECP is working













Today, PTI MNA Asad Umar, stated that the resignation of the governor state bank under alleged political pressure from the government raises very serious concerns. According to him, it is indicative of an attempt by the govt to subvert the independence of the state bank and the govt’s intent to use the banking system for political gain.


Asad Umar said the resignation of the state bank governor in the context of a situation where critical regulatory bodies like NEPRA, SECP and CCP are without full time chairmen should be of grave concern to those who have any interest in or care for the economy of pakistan. This shows the disdain of the current govt for any regulatory oversight of the economy.


Asad Umar felt that powerful independent regulatory agencies are essential to safeguard the interest of citizens and protect them from being exploited by unscrupulous elements. The deliberate attempt by the govt to weaken regulatory authorities is yet another proof that this govt is only interested in protecting and promoting the interests of powerful lobbies rather than welfare of the people of pakistan.


Asad Umar demanded that the govt must ensure that the nomination of the new governor state bank is seen as being done on merit and the position is not filled by anyone who is considered to be close to the ruling party or the prime ministers family. This crucial position must be filled by someone who is seen as experienced, professional and independent.






Tiff with finance minister


? State Bank governor’s resignation accepted



ISLAMABAD: January 31, 2014


The government on Thursday accepted the resignation of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Yaseen Anwar. “The federal government has accepted the resignation of SBP Governor Yaseen Anwar with effect from January 31, 2014,” a brief statement issued by the Ministry of Finance read. “The decision regarding the acting SBP governor will be made today (Friday),” it added.


According to Umer Siddiqui, the SBP spokesperson, Anwar resigned for personal reasons. “He wanted to give more time to his family after his son was seriously injured in a road accident,” Siddiqui said. Anwar served as head of the country’s central bank for two years. Sources, however, said Anwar decided to quit after he found himself unable to get along with Finance Minister Ishaq DarHe resigned from the post after he was assured he would not be barred from leaving the country, they added. Anwar’s family is settled in Singapore.


The PML-N government originally planned to replace Anwar in October last year. The decision was delayed because of the first review of the IMF loan programme and Anwar’s insistence that he not be pursued legally for any of his actions as SBP governor, sources in the Finance Ministry told The Express Tribune. A senior government functionary said Anwar never proved himself a good administrator during his tenure. According to sources, he was accused of not doing enough to crack down on exchange market speculators.


Reportedly, Anwar was also uneasy with the finance ministry after it began calling the shots in the central bank on a day-to-day basis. SBP officials said one of the bank’s three deputy governors would likely take charge of SBP as the acting governor. The usual practice, they added, is to appoint the senior-most deputy governor as the acting governor. Kazi Abdul Muktadir is the senior most deputy governor followed by Ashraf Wathra and Saeed Ahmed.






State bank governor Yaseen Anwar resigns


January 30, 2014


ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has accepted the resignation of Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Yaseen Anwar with effect from January 31, the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar announced on Thursday.


The decision over a new Acting Governor SBP will be made on Friday, Dar said, according to a statement issued by the Finance Ministry. Sources hinted that the governor was under pressure from the ministry of finance, which appears to be hell-bent on heavy borrowing from the SBP as well as commercial banks. However, the official reason given for Anwar’s resignation was that his son had recently suffered an accident.


Anwar was appointed SBP governor in July 2011 after former SBP governor Shahid Kardar stepped down from the position amidst rumours that he had developed differences with the ministry of finance. Kardar’s predecessor, Saleem Raza, had also resigned after only 16 months in office. News of Anwar’s prospective appointment as the governor in 2011 had been received with mixed reactions with experts viewing it as an attempt to whitewash financial affairs of the then Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.


Reference 2


Pakistan Bank Chief Quits as Economy Stalls



Jan 30, 2014


ISLAMABAD — The head of Pakistan’s central bank, Yaseen Anwar, resigned Thursday, the government said, on the eve of a review of the country’s performance by the International Monetary Fund.

“He has resigned for personal reasons,” said Shafqat Jalil, a Finance Ministry spokesman. He didn’t explain further. Mr. Jalil said an acting governor would be appointed Friday. Mr. Anwar had been governor of the State Bank of Pakistan since October 2011. His resignation comes as the economy faces soaring inflation and a sharply weaker currency. In a written response to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Anwar said a recent accident suffered by one of his sons “compels me to move on and join my family in Singapore.”


He said that, with previous stints as deputy governor and acting governor, he had served almost seven years “through very challenging times amidst global financial turmoil.” He added that he felt “professional gratification” at having met IMF benchmarks at the last review that “will support financial stability going forward.” Foreign-exchange reserves are critically low. The country missed its target for foreign-currency reserves at the previous IMF quarterly review and was given a waiver on the issue.


The IMF agreed to a $6.7 billion bailout in September, but has released only roughly $1.1 billion of the three-year loan. Officials from the central bank are to meet IMF representatives starting Saturday in Dubai, to begin the second quarterly review, a process that would involve the head of the central bank in the coming days. The IMF’s quarterly reviews are designed to ensure the country meets its bailout conditions. If the IMF finds Pakistan is failing to meet its bailout targets, future tranches could be in jeopardy, which would put the economy further at risk.


“The timing of this resignation is unprecedented, just before the second review,” said a retired senior official. “It affects the credibility of the whole process.” A focus of the review will be Pakistan’s net foreign-exchange reserves. The volatility of the rupee has been a source of tension between the central bank and the government, analysts said. Mr. Anwar was widely criticized for his handling of the foreign-currency markets, an issue on which Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has personally intervened. Mr. Anwar, a former investment banker, was appointed by the previous government, of the Pakistan Peoples Party.


The current administration, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office in June. In recent years, heads of the State Bank have come under pressure to increase lending to successive governments, to finance their budgets, an issue that may have contributed to the departure of previous recent central bankers. “The Ministry of Finance does whatever it likes and the State Bank is expected to accommodate,” said Zubair Khan, a former finance minister.


Mr. Khan said Pakistan urgently required the IMF to increase the rate of disbursal of its loan, saying the current program was based on “unjustified optimism.” Pakistan is struggling with economic and security challenges. While Mr. Sharif’s administration is considered business-friendly, analysts say its economic plans require an improvement in the security situation. There has been a sharp increase in attacks by the Pakistan Taliban since the new government came to power.


The government’s economic agenda includes large-scale privatizations, raising tax revenues, boosting private-sector investment, and fixing the broken electricity-supply network. However, this agenda requires greater confidence from the private sector, which is difficult while there are almost daily attacks by militants, analysts said. The country’s economic hub, Karachi, remains beset by criminals and Islamist militants. Mr. Sharif launched a crackdown by security forces in Karachi in September, aimed at cutting street crime, kidnappings and extortion demands on business.


Pakistan’s tax revenues are less than 9% of GDP, one of the lowest such ratios of any country with a supposedly functioning state. Last year, less than one million of its 180 million people paid income tax, according to the tax authorities. The withdrawal of government subsidies, especially from electricity costs—one of the requirements of the IMF program—has resulted in an increase in the inflation rate in recent months. The State Bank forecasts that inflation will remain in double digits this year.


Farrukh Khan, head of research of KASB, a brokerage based in Karachi, said that inflation was now steadying, while other indicators were also more positive. “The ship is turning around. It will take some time,” said Mr. Khan. “There are definite signs of improvement.” The IMF, after its first quarterly review, found Pakistan’s performance “mostly satisfactory.” It is forecasting GDP growth of 2.8% for the current financial year. However, the IMF had also found that “the balance of payments outlook has worsened and firm action is required to address critically low foreign-exchange reserves.”


Write to Saeed Shah at saeed.shah@wsj.com






State Bank governor resigns ahead of IMF loan review





State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Yaseen Anwar. PHOTO: AFP


ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The governor of Pakistan s central bank has resigned, finance ministry officials said Friday, on the eve of an International Monetary Fund review into a $6.7 billion bailout loan. Yaseen Anwar was appointed governor of the State Bank of Pakistan in October 2011. He resigned on Thursday citing personal reasons, finance ministry spokesman Shafqat Jalil told AFP. The IMF approved the package for the country in September last year, subject to strict economic reforms, particularly in its troubled energy sector and tax system.


Finance ministry officials confirmed that talks between Pakistan and IMF officials for the third tranche of $545 million were due to be held from Saturday in Dubai. “The resignation of the SBP governor is not going to have any impact in our review talks with the IMF,” a senior finance ministry official told AFP.


“The talks would focus on the review of economic situation of Pakistan in the second quarter (October-December),” the official said. “The government has fulfilled all the conditions under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility and we hope to get the funds by March,” the official added. The announcement of the appointment of a new governor was expected later Friday, the finance ministry spokesman said. Leading English newspaper The News quoted Anwar as saying that he stepped down to spend more time to his family.


“There are personal reasons and particularly due to recent injury of my son that compels me to move and stay together with my family especially after having served at SBP for almost seven years as governor and deputy governor through very challenging times amidst financial turmoil globally,” The News quoted Anwar as saying. Analysts said that with his resignation, long-drawn confusion over fiscal policy in Pakistan would come to an end.


Anwar had been appointed by the previous Pakistan People s Party government, and a change at the head of the central bank had been seen as inevitable since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the Muslim League took charge in June. “His resignation was expected because of the political change in the government” said Taha Khan, head of research at Taurus Securities. “There were some policy differences as well between the ministry of finance and the SBP” he said.


Cash-strapped Pakistan, plagued by a bloody homegrown Taliban insurgency, is battling to get its shaky economy back on track and solve a chronic energy crisis that cripples industry. The IMF made an initial payment of $540 million, and in November fund officials said during a monitoring visit that Pakistan was “broadly on track” with reforms. In December, Pakistan received $554 million as a second tranche of the loan. In a belated annual report earlier this month, the central bank estimated economic growth for the current fiscal year of up to four percent, surpassing forecasts by international agencies.


“SBP projects GDP growth in the range of 3-4 percent for FY14 which is higher than the IMF s growth forecast of 2.5 to three percent” the bank said. It forecast that the three-year loan deal should bring stability to the domestic foreign exchange market during the current fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, Pakistan’s economy grew at 3.6 percent, the bank said, and inflation fell to single digits. But it warned inflation could rise as high as 11 percent in the current fiscal. Economists say growth needs to be seven percent to absorb the country’s booming population.








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