Open letter to Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister. I am addressing one of the greatest cricketers of the history who brought world cup to Pakistan through his untiring efforts and leadership. As per your statement you had desired to become Prime Minister of Pakistan with the aim to uproot the dynastic politics and bring an end to corruption with sole aim of raising the living standard of poor living below poverty, housing for those sleeping on the roads, people with no employment, with no medical facilities, no schools for poor children. To meet your goals and objectives you struggled 20 years to get in to power passing through most difficult periods of your life. During this period you gave country SKMH for treatment of cancer for poor who could not afford treatment. You gave them university etc. It was hoped that once you get in to power you would do miracles in country’s politics, change the very face of Pakistani politics that revolves around personalities and personal interests, bring back looted money. Give new dimension to politics, bring revolution in social sector, improve education system and provide better health facilities to poor. What is practically happening on the ground is something different. It is true that economy was in bad shape when you occupied seat of power but it was known to you. Your promise not to go to IMF had to be abandoned. You were left with no choice except to seek aid and assistance from IMF and friendly countries. You wanted a team of professionals to handle that situation, unfortunately the experts you had earmarked proved to be utter failure. As you were bettering with worst economy Pakistan like other countries have been badly struck by Corona virus (COVID-19) that has virtually shut down all type of businesses small or big everywhere in the world. Export a rare dream, manufacturing almost negligible. Unemployment figure continues to rise, agreed it is natural disaster and the entire nation has to get united and fight it out. We don’t find such measures being taken to bring opposition on board at this critical juncture, same old policy of confrontation continues unabated. Your promise of revamping FBR and trying a chartered accountant as chairman proved utter failure and meeting targets of revenue continue to be a major worry. Taxing already taxed entrepreneurs caused scare in the business community and they stopped working. To cut short FBR was indulging in hit and trial to manage the targets assigned but as anticipated it fell short. Revision of policies allowing concessions to business community failed to achieve the desired results. Shabbar Zaidi was an outsider, he was not welcome, his only authority remained restricted to posting and transfers undertaken in massive scale with no good results. He chose a dignified way to quit by falling sick, finally the FBR has its own chairman from their own cadre because they cannot tolerate any outsider. There is massive evasion of taxes in Pakistan because there is no system of documenting the economy. As long as economy is not documented the tax cannot be collected. Military rulers and democratic governments tried many a times but failed in their efforts and had to face prolonged strikes, finally succumbed to pressure. Business community is not happy due to high cost of business and increase in tariff. Interest rate of 12.5 % is scaring when there is total slump in the market. All over the world it is in single figure but we understand you are helpless because governor SBP is nominee of IMF. Bureaucracy is not cooperating, reluctant to take decisions due to NAB sword hanging over their heads; frequent posting transfer of bureaucracy reflects sign of weakness and poor state of governance. Appointing same old people on key appointments who worked for previous governments should have been avoided
Your effort and relentless campaign against corruption is praiseworthy, but situation is getting bad to worst. Practically there is hardly any department where people can get their work done without paying bribe. Nothing moves until and unless you pay illegal gratification. There is no change in the culture, status quo continues. We have not been able to see any change in the culture of police while dealing with people who visit police stations. In fact so called public servants have become bold and demand openly speed money (name given to bribe) and if you report to higher authority that means you face the worst consequences. Corruption has very strong links it moves both ways from top to bottom, and from bottom to top. Yes exceptions are there but very negligible percentage.
It is so surprising when the country is under heavy debt, salaries of people hired on contract, appointed as CEO of corporations, banks and other institutions runs in to millions as if we are an oil rich country. This is happening right under your nose where 70 % people are living under poverty. It is worthwhile to quote an example of recently appointed MD Mineral Development Corporation at Rs 1.7 million per month apart from other perks like 1800 CC car with driver. There has to be a rationale. Hundreds of such examples can be quoted. It is worthwhile asking Auditor General to submit list of highly paid officers in various departments, I am sure it will shake you. No one should be paid more than MP-1.Making payment of Rs 12000 under Ehsas Program for four months at the rate of Rs 3000 per month is not even pea nut, who is advising you are certainly not your well wisher. A proper strategy is to be worked out, that may not be possible with existing team. I can only suggest going for a new team without wasting time who should give you comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of poor that is workable, short term measures shall prove counterproductive. Lastly your media team is out of tune to ground realities, to compete with negative propaganda of private TV channels you need a well balanced team and proper management to utilize PTV channels and Radio Pakistan to project government efforts. Increasing PTV fee from Rs 35 to Rs 100 is no way of generating revenue. I may add that in 1982 I met Chairman CBR (now FBR) Fazalur Rahman and proposed him to charge PTV license fee Rs 10 per month through telephone bills and charge Rs 5000 for regularising VCR’s smuggled in the country without paying custom duties that was in the range of Rs 18000 per VCR. He appreciated the scheme and said that he would discuss with Secretary Finance, to cut short he informed me that Secretary Finance is against such forced collection from the public that was the vision. You have the potential, people want change, and they are fed up from dynastic politics but at present not happy with the speed. Lastly my suggestions demonstrate my good will which matches your good intents. As long as you are prepared to listen to well served advice there is all the hope that your decisions will reflect the Hope’s of this nation.

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