What a paradox! Short on Cash but increase Expenses

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Ever since the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif has taken over after throwing off Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi, day and night, it is alleged and accused not only by PM Shehbaz himself but also by all federal and provincial ministers, senators, MNAs along with all those who support PML (N), PPP and Fazalur Rehman that former Prime Minister Imran Khan has not left money in our national exchequer and it is hell of a job for the present government to run the show when empty handed which could be true to some extent and not to the extent as to what is being propagated to undermine Imran which means and warrants that when we are short on cash, the simplest prudence demands that expenses of all sorts must be curtailed to its maximum extent so as to be able to run day today affairs of the government but very much regretfully, the present government says something which does not match with the reality, if I am not blunt and acidic.

Few weeks back in July, 2022, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs had to fly out all the way to Washington, DC and met Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and had mutual discussion. Wendy Sherman after the meeting issued this statement on her Twitter, ‘I met with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan ambassador Fatemi to reaffirm our shared goals of expanding relations through enhancing economic and commercial ties.’ What raises my eye brows is that Fatemi being a career diplomat is appointed to look after the foreign relations but very much surprisingly as per Wendy words they both discussed economic and commercial subject which does not match with Fatemi’s portfolio and his official responsibilities in any case whatsoever. It was also reported in the press that he did request American to be instrumental in getting loan from International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Pakistan. Pakistan is getting loans from so many sources and that also since many long years so it is quite normal in my beloved Pakistan to borrow money but for what is my question? Time and again PM Shehbaz is inducting new faces in his power corridor of Islamabad which, as such, increases the burden on our national exchequer in any case which is already running into minus and such like new inductions is nothing short of evaporating our national finance but at the same time PM Shehbaz complains of extreme money shortage.

Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa has also been activated by PM Shehbaz Sharif to use his personal influence and contacts to be instrumental in getting more loans for Pakistan, particularly from IMF. I can very safely say that perhaps it has never ever happened that our army chief has been assigned the task to collect money for the country but the hard truth is that just last month of July only Gen Bajwa has reached to guns in both Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and requested them to please very seriously and actively contact relevant authorities in IMF to give as much loan as possible in billions and not in millions. The news has been spread in press, both local and foreign, that our Army Chief is knocking at different doors to get loan for Pakistan and such like news must have dented our reputation but very much regretfully, who cares for the country is very baffling question which perhaps cannot be answered so very easily under our given situation.

Our finance minister Miftah Ismail is very much running around to bring in and pump in loan money from as many sources as possible and he did succeed in getting some handsome loans for the country even though he did not get as much as he wanted but still he injected new blood in our ailing economy and he is not resting but, on the contra, trying to get more and more loans till he heads our Finance ministry. More loans he secures, more successful he will prove to be inducted in next cabinets as well but to me, he must pay his full attention to save money within the country instead of begging money from outside Pakistan. He as finances minister can control our expenses if he is sincere to Pakistan and not otherwise but when he himself is care free then we just curse ourselves.

Isn’t it very much paradoxical that PM Shehbaz keeps on adding new faces to his cabinet by inducting federal ministers and special assistants but for what except that on one hand, he wants to please his friends by including them in his cabinet and on the other hand, he is increasing his vote bank so that in the coming elections, PML (N) gets majority votes. It is very simple to understand that all those whom PM Shehbaz has included in his cabinet will quite but naturally not only vote for PML (N) but they will ask his relatives, friends, colleagues, class fellows and neighbor etc to vote for PML (N) as and when next elections are conducted proving that Pakistan government money is used to get more and more votes for the political party to which PM Mian Shehbaz Sharif belong to. Shehbaz is PM for short period of time but during such short period he is all out to garnish as much support for his political part as possible and to a great extent he has succeeded as well in this regard.

It is very much ironical that in my beloved Pakistan, taking loan has become a qualification although in fact, it is a disqualification, if one realizes but who cares for our national prestige. Very much regretfully, all our leaders, including those who I liked and still like have tried their level best to secure as much loans as possible without caring the least as to when and how such loans can be paid off but at the same time, our leaders always give the sermons on all occasions and events that Pakistan cannot afford luxuries and, therefore, we will have to economize and control our expenses to keep running our machinery but such like flowery statements are nothing but self-deception and Pakistan is inching backward instead of forward.

Summing up, I will pronounce quite abruptly, clearly and loudly that our leaders must be straight forward and have the courage to tell the truth, nothing but truth, instead of issuing some alluring and flower statements to economize but if our PM Mian Shehbaz Sharif says that we are to curtail expenses then the expenses must be cut under all circumstances whatsoever, if not, then PM should not say even a word to economize when he is behaving and acting otherwise.


Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait / diplomat_but_x@hotmail.com


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