December blues

Each year December brings its blues

The nights are longer enhancing the gloom

The day dawns late keeping in wait those desperate for hope every rising sun brings

But then it quickly fades away like fleeting love of the forlorn lover

For those in their golden years the wait is too long and time precious — what may be left is neither sufficient nor of much use

The blues pull hard at the heart

There appears to a whitened if not wizened head the sorrow of time not well expended, of what could have been and what is

We in the field of analysis delve in the here and now rarely introspecting the journey that brought us our predicaments

One segment blames the other without even a thought that only cumulative failures of the society and the state in this journey have brought us our present

For some the journey of life will end too soon; for others it will simply be handing over the baton

Generation after generation will make its mark on the span of time and be counted for its contributions with vision and wisdom or failure, dejection and gloom

This December was bluer

Pakistan seemed to have reached a dead-end of multiple manifestations

Our economic morass seems irresolvable — we are already economically and financially bankrupt

Economics defines itself in innovations of borrowing more

Debt piles on as we assure the world we can be loaned more

Most of our national installations are already pledged

We are now pledging our sovereignty to keep afloat

It is easy to fix the blame on the government of the day and they have their share of incompetence to carry but ruin has been in the making for some time

Government after government has perpetuated a chimera of progress and development on borrowed money without actually producing more and adding to growth

We have failed to comprehend the intensity nor fathom the complexity that such selling-out will bring

An economic order is a false dawn as survival in a challenging environment is only possible through subsistence

The PTI has ended up paying a heavy political cost for the consequences of failures of successive governments in resolving distortions in a poorly structured economy losing their base of support in KP

What it will amount to is returning the reins to the same lot who had earlier taken us to the brink

Not that they have any solutions to our dilemma — the nature of our predicament is such — but they will willy-nilly end up minding the till, once again

Any promise that the nation had a third option stands faltered as we revert to even more blundering and buffeting under those with only a pretense to leadership

It remains a sick and an odious system which in each attempt of reset only regurgitates the same lot with exactly similar results

A people desperate for being led out of the morass thus only sink deeper in it

This is the most telling failure of all this December has brought to fore

Our most urgent reform must be in the political system to drastically improve the product

Just as December brings a brief cheer of Quaid-e-Azam’s epochal struggle to carve out a Muslim state it also brings home the fact that an ignominious military and political debacle made us lose half of it twenty-four years later

The state of what remains isn’t exactly to be proud of as we fight to survive in each aspect of our nationhood

We spectacularly failed to emulate the leadership the Quaid exhibited

Firstly, we couldn’t keep what he gave us and secondly we have devastated and demolished every facet of our governmental and societal existence

The yawning gap betrays the mediocrity of what this nation throws up in its politics

Both the state and the society have been left to fend for themselves

Piles of debt are conveniently pilfered out and siphoned to foreign destinations by the power elites while the poor only get poorer

At this moment approximately fifty per cent if not more live below the poverty line

Some years back these numbered around thirty per cent

This December yet another failure reared its head: the reign of terror one had seen the back of returned with its deadly ugliness

Extremism and militancy both found currency in the manner of how the society expressed itself in Sialkot and in state’s dealing with terror groups

Religion or its crass manipulation underwrote those events

The state receded and hence appeared weaker when facing up to a resurgent challenge of the groups utilising either or both avenues to force people to succumb to their agenda

We are once again at the crossroads as we grapple with what course to take as a society

If we choose wrongly we will defeat the purpose for which the country was founded

The APS tragedy revives our pain every December and haunts our conscience when we are seen to be appeasing those that wrought the devastation

Failure to impose order through law and to bring to justice those that challenge the state and the society questions our credibility as a responsible nation

We are staring at one such spectre

Seventy-four years down this government finally gave shape to a national security policy

For a state most famously touted as a ‘security state’ it cannot get more ironical

Yet it will remain only an academic exercise

No leader has ever felt the need for an integrated approach to secure both the state and the society together

We have independently pursued the economic, foreign and defence policies in every government but have never paid due attention to the facets of both traditional and non-traditional security

Every policy must detail objectives which need corresponding resource

When the needs compete resource will either be created or prioritised

Whether the recently enunciated policy will lead to such re-prioritisation of resource allocation is yet to be seen but a policy without its implementation or a follow-up strategy remains essentially a paper not worth its cost

That surely must not be the fate of what truly is an approach to inclusive and integrated development

To borrow more we are not only adding to the taxes and increasing the cost of necessities exorbitantly but are now ransoming the rest of our sovereignty to foreign masters for more loans

The irony kills whatever remains of self-respect termed sovereignty

This government will do well not to cede its right to retain control of its fiscal and monetary policies

Without a coordinated and sovereign control over money supply and fiscal control we will never be able to recover an ailing economy

In the meanwhile the poor will only be crushed further adding to our predicaments

This just might then become an economy of handouts, subsistence and social safety nets putting another tranche of loans to waste

The start to 2022 seems ominous in more than one ways

May 2022 prove us all wrong! Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2021

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Date:01-Jan-2022 Reference:View Original Link