IMF readies its deadly potion

By Farrukh Saleem

ISLAMABAD: Shaukat Tareen’s Plan A and Plan B are both about more cocaine, both about keeping our governors higher than the Himalayas. After 50 years of chemical dependency we are like an addict who’s now going through an acute myocardial infarction otherwise known as a severe heart attack.

We are on a stretcher inside an ill-equipped emergency room of a government-owned hospital and there’s only one quack around. He is 64 years of age and his name is IMF. Plan C is IMF, and that is the only option left.

Our governments have been reckless, feckless and mindless. Our global begging tours are being fruitless because no one wants to waste their billions on a dysfunctional state. Our Saudi brothers are in no mood to fund our financial recklessness any more. China wants to finance our economic fecklessness no more and the Americans, trying to avert their own bankruptcy, want us to keep on making more war and less peace. But, cocaine is coming our way no more; IMF is the only quack around.

IMF; how many countries have the quack cured and how many have succumbed to their self-inflicted addictions. Our heart is getting no blood and our lungs are short on oxygen. Do we even have the time to question the quack’s past record, his professional competence? For the past 64 years, IMF has had three standard prescriptions for each and everyone of its sufferer: cut down government expenditures (including subsidies), increase the taxation base and devalue your currency.

At least three out of every four Pakistanis are at $2 a day. IMF prescriptions are bound to slow down Pakistan’s economy like never before; more unemployment, more inflation, more poverty.

IMF’s poverty reduction is all about killing the poor. America, already in a depression, is buying textiles no more. Pakistan’s textile sector employs 38 per cent of the labour force and its share in total exports stands at 62 per cent. With no electricity and no gas, Pakistan’s textile mills are shutting down like never before. Banks have lent billions to the textile industry so banks are soon going to be in trouble. IMF promises even more salt on to our open wounds.

We must also pay a political cost of an IMF bailout. IMF is owned by America just as MCB is owned by Mian Mohammad Mansha (America has 371,743 votes on IMF’s board of governors). IMF must look after America’s political interests just as MCB looks after Mian Mansha’s interests.

Pakistanis must—as they always have—pay the cost of keeping their governors high on cocaine. Poor Pakistan is begging like never before but we have two dozen federal ministers (twenty more are to be inducted in the club), at least 10 ambassadors-at-Large and I don’t know how many advisers and advisers with the rank of a minister. None of our Wazirs want to reform.

Look at the losses: Economy-wide corruption losses $15 billion a year. Wapda looses Rs100 billion a year. PIA looses Rs1 billion a month. PASSCO looses $20 million a year. KESC looses Rs10 billion a year.

Then there’s the Tomato Paste Plant, Roti Corporation, Tobacco Board, PSO, PPL, OGDC, Sui Northern, Sui Southern, Pakistan Steel, PNSC, Pakistan Railways, TCP, CEC, RECP, Heavy Mechanical Complex, SME Bank, Hazara Phosphate, National Power Construction, Pakistan Automobile, Sindh Engineering and Heavy Electrical Complex (there are 43 public corporations, 27 autonomous bodies and 182 government-owned projects).

Source: The News, 28/10/2008

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