Imran Khan, Reality and Delusion By S.M.A Ehtisham MD
Bath , NY
Imran Khan, after floundering for over a decade, has found focus. He appealed to people of Pakistan at a time of worse desperation than at any time since the creation of the country, except in 1971 and the people in the Punjab responded.
And Punjabis constitute62% of the population of the country.
He has offered a solution to all the problems of the country from feudalism, corruption, tax evasion, poverty alleviation, administrative inefficiency, illiteracy, unemployment to dependence on foreign countries.
Almost every one attributes the bulk of the problems in Pakistan to ‘corruption’ in all walks of life. But the USA and Pakistan are no different.
People do not pay taxes in Pakistan, they cheat and lie, officials demand bribes, the rich deposit money in foreign banks and politicians do not keep their word. Well, in the USA, all corporations practice tax evasion, nearly all affluent persons invent expenses to take advantage of tax loopholes, immigration officials smuggle illegal aliens for a price, most of the profits of corporation take shelter on off shore banks and all politicians, including Obama, have broken their promise.
Pakistan allocates 75% of the budget to defense and loan repayment, almost equally divided between the two. The declared US defense budget at $550 billion is 40% of the annual budget. The hidden budget for aggression is camouflaged in payment to mercenaries, corporations and foreign agents. Wastage is on top of that. Credible estimate for undeclared defense expense is 10 % of the budget - that takes it close to the Pakistan level.
So the question to ask is why the USA is doing relatively well and why Pakistan is on the brink of disaster? A larger picture would include the comparative development of India which is equally beset by corruption.
One could point to the much larger pie of the USA, and in relation to India the comparative destitution of Pakistan at the time of partition.
But Pakistan was endowed with the monopoly of jute and the fertile lands of the Punjab and Sind and India had to resort to officially backed rice and wheat smuggling from Pakistan. The Nizam of Hyderabad ‘loaned’ Rs 2,000 million, at the time equivalent to two years annual budget, to Pakistan and the Korean War was a veritable export bonanza for Pakistan’s exports.
Ayub promoted industry in a significant way and till the end of his time the country was far more prosperous than India.
So what are the core problems of the country and how Imran Khan proposes to deal with them and, more importantly, if he is even aware of them?
Population Explosion: West Pakistan, and since 1971, all of Pakistan, inherited a population of 35 million in 1947. 98% of the people were Muslim. Now conservative estimates put the number at 175 million, a 500% increase. India had a population of 320 million, out of which 20 million were Muslim. Now its total population has gone up to 1,150, a 350% increase. But the Muslim population of India has gone up from 20 to125 million, a mind-boggling 62.5 % increase.
Economic conditions, percentage of literacy and social development play a part in population explosion. But a major role is played by prohibition of family planning, which is practiced on a large scale by non-Muslims of India.
Foreign Policy: It is a largely forgotten fact that the Communist Party of India, at the behest of Stalin, supported the Pakistan movement. The USSR sent an invitation to Liaquat Ali Khan before the USA did. Liaquat, scion of a feudal house, decided to go to Washington DC.
The USSR supported India in industry, commerce and defense sectors. The USA just patted Pakistan on the back.
Bureaucrats took over the government after Prime Minister Liaquat was killed. The Army started playing a role in politics and Ayub started visiting Washington, DC. Come 1954, Pakistan started participating in ‘Mutual Defense Pacts’ in the hope, which turned out to be vain, that the West would support it in its conflict with India.
Pakistan started receiving ‘aid’ in the form of weapons.
Domestic Front: Bureaucrats, mortally afraid of the January 1959 elections, handed over power to the army. Ayub, beset by the aftermath of the fraudulent victory over Miss Jinnah in the 1964 elections, launched the adventure of the 1965 war, lost it and was disempowered.
The inevitable happened. The mercantilist party of Mujeeb won an overall majority. Feudal Bhutto won’t accept it. The evil quad of landowners, the army, bureaucrats and mullahs joined hands and waged a war of terror against the people of East Pakistan.
Bhutto took over West Pakistan and lost the last chance to control the army by pleading with Indra not to try Pakistani generals on charges of genocide. Further, true to the character of a feudal, he demolished the nascent commerce and industries of the country under the slogan of nationalization imposed in the most ham handed fashion.
Not content with sabotaging the economy, he launched grandiloquent plans of the Islamic bloc and bomb, further impoverishing the country.
The U.S.A is highly tolerant of dictators but not the once who are even a remote threat to Israel . Bhutto paid the price of defiance with his life.
The USSR gave a much longed for opportunity to the U.S.A to avenge the humiliation of Vietnam by going into Afghanistan . Loans poured in Pakistan .
Zia with his ‘Islamization’, Benazir and Nawaz with their musical chairs and Musharraf with his enlightened moderation did not do a thing to restructure the economy, create jobs, improve literacy or create jobs.
Musharraf sold national assets at bargain basement price.
The country only got further into the clutches of Multinational Corporations and their functional arms, the International Monitory Fund, The World Bank and other International Financial institutions. Recipient countries end up paying several times what they received.
How does Imran Khan propose to deal with the issues?
Let us look at the manifesto:
-A new beginning: Modern Islamic Republic, tolerance, moderation and freedom to practice religion of choice.
-Ideology: Unity, Faith and Discipline of Jinnah vintage, transparency and 1973 constitution, federalism and functional autonomy of the provinces.
Mission : rule of law, Human rights.
-Goals: independent, sovereign Pakistan, strengthen state institutions, promote democracy, accountable, efficient government, education revolution, adequate health care, poverty alleviation (land reforms), merit based system, encourage private sector, end VIP culture, eliminate draconian laws and check police and agency power, independence from foreign aid, regional peace.
Islamic Republic, I take it, would be governed under Sharia laws. That would be in conflict with equality under law for women (half the vote and half the inheritance and possible one fourth share of husband and depending on financial resources of the husband sharing the marital bed with women under the right hand.
Minorities would not have equal rights either. They would not be able to appear in court as witnesses for or against Muslims or join the army or preside over a court to try Muslims. They will also have to pay ‘Jazya’.
The above would take care of Human Rights as understood in this day and age.
Though Islam does not prescribe a system of government, sovereignty belongs to Allah and democracy, at least in theory, stands for sovereignty of the people.
Poverty alleviation would be based partly on land redistribution. But Islam sanctifies private property. I suppose landowners would out of the goodness of heart donate land to landless peasants.
A revolution would be ushered in education. Education requires teachers, books, buildings and students. Where would the money come from to pay teachers, buy books and construct schools? And how would the poor people be persuaded to keep their children from work to help meet bare necessities and go to school?
Adequate health care requires a national health service. A minimum of one physician per 1000 people, a hospital bed per 500 persons, surgical and intensive care corresponding outpatient facilities and emergency care services. European countries are barely able to afford the expense.
PTI wants to encourage private sector. That exhibits lack of knowledge of history of finance and economics. All European countries, the U.S.A, Japan and Canada built and regulated industry and commerce till they were able to stand on their feet and able to compete on international market. In the 20 th century, South Korea , India and China went through the government sponsored phase.
Foreign aid is misnomer. It is loans. The whole country is literally put in hock to International Finance Institutions The World Bank and especially International Monetary Fund dictate the debtor country’s policies. The loan comes in a package with what are called ‘conditionalities’ which include like, raising of taxes, rates of utilities and firing public service employees. If the country tries to defy, its credit goes under and it has to default. Italy and Greece went through the squeeze and were forced to appoint finance men as prime ministers.
The manifesto concedes that population is growing at a fast pace, but the figure of 2.2% annually is erroneous. It is actually 3.6%.
I have referred to the much higher population growth rate among Muslims. Even if by a miracle poverty was alleviated and education spread, how would Imran Khan circumvent the Islamic injunction against family planning?
The establishment supporting all the inequities of the society, the mercantile, banking, industrial and agricultural activities of which belie the name-armed forces-is hardly mentioned beyond enhancing the nuclear deterrent, ballistic missiles and the vague rationalization in size and structure, all in a short paragraph of the 31 page manifesto.
In brief, the manifesto is full of platitudes, false hopes and impractical offerings.
Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham (607) 776-3336 P.O. Box 469, Bath NY 14810 USA Blog syedehtisham.blogspot.com All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.