Cycle of borrowing
[DAWN] THE PTI government is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. When they procrastinated on signing up with the International Monetary Fund, there was unanimous condemnation, and their star finance minister was sent home. Now that they have signed up to the programme, there is widespread condemnation of having sold out to the IMF that has also been dubbed by some as the ’new East India Company’.

Politics in this country, assisted by the media, seems to have become a game of pulling everyone and everything down, without putting forward any solution. There is unabated government bashing, which is likely to culminate in the demand to send the current set of rulers packing. The replacements for the post of finance minister, the State Bank governor, and the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue are all being presented as demons and agents of the West and the IMF.

Why is it escaping the critics that this is not the first time that we are begging from the IMF? In fact, it is reportedly the 21st time. Why is it escaping them that this is not the first time that we have imported finance ministers and governors of the State Bank? Going to the IMF and having Shaukat Aziz, Moeen Qureshi, Shamshad Akhtar and their ilk is quite routine. Prime Minister Imran Khan
... aka Taliban Khan, who isn't your heaviest-duty thinker, maybe not even among the top five...
was trying to be different by having a ’local’ finance minister and getting help from friends such as Soddy Arabia
...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face...
, the UAE and China to avoid going to the IMF. But he was hounded several times a day for eight months, until he finally succumbed.

With all this howling going on, no one wants to point out the elephant in the room: the fact that we as a nation and as individuals are living beyond our means. If you have been to a government office in Pakistain (including the offices of military officials), is it in any way less opulent than a government office in the West? At the top level, while the chancellor of Germany will herself get her visiting counterpart a cup of coffee, liveried waiters will do that for our visitors in Islamabad.

Posted by: Fred 2019-05-24