MIAN Nawaz Sharif’s call for self-reliance to make Pakistan a prosperous country constitutes a wise counsel, no doubt. But for a nation that has become used to looking up to the outside world for help any time it is in trouble, it is an uphill task, especially when it is not prepared to give up its wasteful and corrupt ways. The present government has, perhaps, broken all previous records of corruption and dependence on others, and, as a result, the foreign lending agencies have come to dictate terms even on matters that have a crucial socio-economic relevance for the country. The unconscionable hike in the prices of, for instance, petroleum products and the supply of power, already effected as well as scheduled in the future, has set off a chain reaction, causing a backbreaking inflationary spiral.A cry of protest has gone up not only from the man in the street, eking out his existence with ordinary means, but also from the upper classes as well as entrepreneurs. The poor are getting poorer and the hitherto well-off sections of society have been forced to cut down on the necessities of life. Suicide, violent tempers, lawlessness have tightened their grip on society. The newspapers and the electronic media resound with outrage at yet another spurt in prices, with the Leader of the Opposition, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, accusing the government of deliberately bypassing the parliament.
But, is the government listening? Hardly! Instead, it is engaged in planning to further tax the general public by levying GST and the flood tax in order to lessen the burden of deficit financing. That is again being done in pursuit of the IMF’s commands. In the process, the earnest advice that the rich should be made to pay their dues to the country is being constantly met by turning a deaf ear. The PML-N leader is unquestionably right when he says that unless the people are guaranteed basic needs like “jobs, education and health and a secure future”, the government is not justified to ask them to make sacrifices. One expects that as the biggest opposition party, the PML-N, that he heads would make an all-out effort to bring home to the ruling leadership that to make these facilities available to the citizen, there has to be an effective check on corruption. This plague that is painfully raging especially in the upper circles of the official hierarchy, has to be dealt with through a system of genuine accountability – Nation