During a history discussion some years back, I along with some dumb minds (Of course my buddies can’t be different than me) got stuck on a disturbing note. We were trying to figure out what lead Mr Liaquat Ali Khan to ditch looming Soviet/ Russian offer for partnership in place of Uncle Sam. Of course we had a thousand reasons, from atheist outlook of Communism to strong link of Pakistan’s blessed elites to the West (most of them having studied their), let it be the growing might of US at the start of cold war (of course they were the exclusive nuclear state till 1949) to the intended kick back and pleasures our able Bureaucracy and politicians calculated well in advance.
Somehow, one answer which satisfied all was provided in somewhat this manner. Pakistan had a novice economy, hardly in a shape to withstand its own burden. The leadership at that time was compelled by the economical benefits offered or promised by Uncle Sam against the Soviet offer, which though mighty had suffered the most in World War II (In Allied Group) and it was clear that their offer was limited.
So economy in one way or the other gave birth to the 1st national compromise or in enlightened manner this gave birth to the so often practiced “Doctrine of Necessity” in our history. History repeats itself, well their shouldn’t be any second opinion to this. But its amazing that how shamelessly compromises have been made even 64 years on, knowing well the prime entity which lead to this menace…. economy.
When Taliban captured the peaks of Swat, the talk of the town became a single agenda… Pakistan is faced by its biggest threat, the extremism or fundamentalism within. Having become immune to this debate and condition 4 years on, its hard to believe why the debate hasn’t shifted to the current entity eroding our foundations, the tailored and well thought economical collapse of all our institutions and every soul attached to this basic necessity. Money makes the stallion run is as true as it was at the dawn of industrial revolution, but ofcourse when one starts replacing stallions with mules, the different is hardly evident.
It hardly makes sense why this dose of slow poisoning is being provided to the 200 million masses called Pakistanis, and that too so mercilessly. This week saw a brigade of railway employees blocking the tracks and stations, being unpaid for nearly a month. The same story and pictures were seen just a few month back, before a massive bailout from government pulled the engines out of their respective grave yards. As I write, another bailout has been paid by the Pakistani masses for relief, which will wither away just like its earlier part in a few months. I have a chance very often to travel through rail, not because of its service but the strange association and history attached to it. A blessing from our “White Masters”, though very rare.
Every now and then one gets a chance of sitting in a group discussing the way affairs are managed at Pakistan Railway these days. Some members are ex-railway employees, who I have myself witnessed in tears while explaining how the current lot has dried it of every possible resource. The same carriages decaying in open air had brought millions from across the border 64 years back, leaving every thing for a land of their own. The same witnessed atrocities never seen before, where hundreds were cut into pieces by our democratic neighbors. They were tested in 1965 when nation went to war, no wonder how much blood and sweat was shed by workers pumping the engines to keep our troops moving and today, we have a railway that is no different that a paralyzed person, staring at other souls for a glass of water, and in its case an injection of money knowing well that its parasites will such every last penny out of it.
The railway CZAR, Mr Bilour has made it to the history by sending one of the most vital institute to hell. No wonder we heard the stories that his party ANP once threatened to break away from the coalition if denied this ministry, and it shows how much lucrative their stand has been, and only time will tell how costly it will be for us. This is happening right in front of our respectable judiciary, the media and the nation but some how this setup has been tailored to keep every soul mum while the last asset dries away.
The energy crisis has already sent Pakistan’s economy more than 3 decades back, with not a single initiative planned for relief. Yes… I heard your voice saying PM has inaugurated Bhasha Dam just today. Well, you are absolutely right, but its calculated time span for completion is 12 years, and I am sure that this is not the time line their acts will guarantee for our survival. This crisis has sent us from everything to none in textile industry, and as per current estimates most of the units have shifted from hubs like Faisalabad to Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Last month, when load shedding in residential area (forget the commercial ones) reached 15 to 20 hours, masses played havoc on the streets of Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad. Thankfully our able Minister for Petroleum and PM woke up to identify that it was non payment to IPP’s and fuel suppliers which had driven the shortfall to 7000 Mega Watts. Some billions were poured to bring every thing to normality in a single night, but for sure just for a week or so. Why hasn’t the nation asked them about the trillions lost by this negligence and ill planning in the last 4 years, about the million of families who have been forced to borrow money just to feed their children’s (UN & WFP Report) and what should be drawn out of this policy of tailored, neglected or intended economical collapse. Ok…… in case this is all not fair lets ask them to fill a simple questionnaire for us
- What steps have been taken for the provision and promotion of alternate energy?
- How much subsidy is provided on solar equipment import?
- Is their any initiative of establishing infrastructure for solar power domestic production?
- What is the potential of wind energy in Pakistan (Heard it’s around 10000 Mega Watt)? How much has been utilized or is their any initiative at all in this direction.
- Initiatives like Thar Coal or other means like small dams on your priority list?
Well try your luck, and then make your judgment on the tagline of this piece of writing. Let it be railway, Pakistan steel, PIA, WAPDA or anything, you will see the repetition of the same sorry tale… the vision of replacing stallions with mules!!!!!