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    The present government very seriously and sincerely appears to be struggling re-building the economically crippled country but unfortunately with it are the same old faces who in the past due to their then deeds or policies caused the damage. And incidentally same sort of things are being advised by these faces. For example recently these old faces advised the Punjab Government, as per news items, to ban internet in government offices on the premise that through internet government information might be leaked. No body will be a fool to use for such a purpose his office internet knowing well place or origin of transmission is very easily detectable. This is just like unofficial censor going on incoming foreign mail, particularly coming from middle east, only and only to extract cash currency from mail well knowing in this age of IT, satellite and chips technology no one will use mail for a purpose which can attract censor. Purpose of such an advice is always "vested" interests same as during Benazir tenure a Railway Minister started changing colour of express trains on the novel idea that change of colour will desist ticketless passengers from travelling without tickets and will encourage them to buy tickets. Whether ticketless passengers bought tickets or not is not known, yes one thing is well known that paint factory owned by brother of the Minister got enough paint supply orders. PCs of these now banned internet will be disposed off on a throw away price and find place at desks of children of well to do which is the actual purpose. And after some time a new Brief/Office Note will be prepared by these old faces desiring the importance of internet but word internet will not be used rather "information technology" or like that.

    Under a well planned strategy for the last 10 years country was deliberately being economically crippled to boost hundi, more inflow of smuggled goods, more out flow of cash etc. In the name of affording more facilities to Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) such schemes were designed which could achieve above goals. For example 90% of Pakistanis cannot afford sending back vehicles but scheme was introduced "send so much dollars and get one car of your choice custom free". Parallel to it under the so-called label of "liberalisation" open out flow of dollar was allowed. The countries like USA, UK etc do not even allow large cash "In" and we are so rich we are allowing large cash "Out"? The purpose was only to open a new door namely that ABC sends US$100,000 from Dubai, gets a luxury car imported duty free, after car having been arrived exports this very US$100,000 to Dubai so with same US$100,000 now XYZ sends a car and so on. 80% of OPs particularly in middle east cannot in any case think of saving and remitting UD$50,000 and above. The facility of custom free baggage who sends US$50,000 and above was created for OPs but in fact gun was fired from their shoulder to benefit "smuggling or professional khapias". Every patriotic citizen even OPs are since 10 years crying "link one's personal baggage with one's remittances through legal channel" but no one has ever put any ear instead in the past almost every year personal baggage limit was increased. Reason only was if remittances is linked it will affect hundi & smuggling and bara markets would be adversely affected while runners of these need hard cash in Dubai which is generated through Hundi. During Ayub Khan there was bonus voucher scheme. Same was desired by participants in Overseas Pakistanis Convention in Islamabad but there is no head way because during Ayub Khan there was only one traditional bara market now there are hundreds and if bonus voucher scheme is re-initiated the Dubai offices/agents of these bara markets would have no cash retained outside. And money of politicians and big guns will not be transferred to their foreign accounts.

    A Pakistani businessman Abdul Qaddus owner of business in Gujranwala & Sialkot and two Resturants abroad who had previously been a Pakistani banker abroad during Overseas Pakistanis Convention took with him a very nice idea but he was not allowed to put it there. On the back ground of his own personal experience of establishing his business in Pakistan in the wake of appeal of government advising OPs to invest home but practically every where according to him instead seeing his papers for industrialisation establishment all eyes were on his pocket and at each stage right from permission to import of machinery he had to grease the palms. His suggestion was that Government may create a special department or a Cell under Ministry of Manpower or elsewhere where an intending OP may send his written application for establishing a business of his choice. The Department may inform the OP in one go all full government requirements right from purchase of land to local formalities, customs, civil defence, municipality etc together with necessary applications Forms. The OP sends back completed Forms with fees required and this department tackles all formalities, informs in one go all objections or any additional requirements and on compliance by OP it obtains all permissions, licences, permits, NOCs and when everything is cleared and arranged by this Department it may ask the OP to transfer funds, come and start construction.

    No body paid any heed to such an advice nor I know would. But rest assured despite the fact I am a just a clerical level person but seeing the naked facts on earth I have no hesitation in saying most of businessmen OPs are today afraid of even thinking of a business in Pakistan.

    Economist Sultan Ahmed a year back dared to say and he is the only man who had the guts to say that naked truth "under some planned strategy country's domestic savings were being damaged and discouraged". The small domestic savings are always the real back bone of a country's economy. By pushing out ordinary man from banks by banks like Habib Bank Limited (like minimm balance condition of Rs. 5000/- whereas State Bank's condition for opening of an account is Rs. 1000/-), deductions on less balances, ever decreasing profits {on so called plea of over head service charges but in fact to cover too high salaries paid in the recent past to Presidents consultants etc (in one year 3rd reduction on National Savings - from 12% to 6.5% on savings accounts). These are all in line with above strategy to weaken the savings, discourage overseas Pakistanis in keeping on their savings in Pakistan and all these advices are by same old faces.

    And I think this will continue.

    PS: 2/3 days back columnist Zahida Hina in her article stated during one year some 50,000 visa for amrica has been issued in Pakistan, there are long queues outside americna, canadian embassies. People having money are fleeing and is is not strnge seeing that people in Pakistan are today trying one way or the other, even middle class, to keep their savings abroad. Even middle lower class is advising their sons to keep savings abroad due to continued decrease in profits (National savings during last 2 years there are 4 decreased, recently dollars which people are not sending from abroad rate of profit has more been reduced). Pressure on hundi has increased because businessman and bureaucrat are due to continuous decrease in profits is sending its money abroad through hundi operators. On the other hand our government statements show “economy has improved, confidence has been reimposed, investment from abroad is coming”. It might be right if we see a new item that a fortnight back there was an item state bank saying there was no shortage of dollars and it has sufficient reserve. Only two days news item was seen state was purchasing dollars from open market to face the shortage. Of course investment might be coming but only “foreign” investment by foreigners but not “foreign” investment by Pakistanis abroad. Foreign investment of course they will take it back, most of which is in such a shape that a dollar invested today takes abroad 6 dollars next day like Burgers investment and not any technology based investment. After all one with the rate on which we are offering industries, banks etc to foreign investors it appears till next 10 years everything will be owned by foreigners except Pakistani public.

    ALLAH THE GREAT may keep my beloved Pakistan safe for all children and their children though sometime I fear (ALLAH may forbid) with the rate every new government telling us it has come to save the nation soon starts repeatedly increasing electricity, gas, fuel and this and that charges and I wonder would our small children who have not kept anything abroad would remain alive and will not one day their photos be published in world media as today we see photos of children of ethopia etc.

    [email protected]

    7 September 2000

    I once heard: "Allah jis qoam ki tabahi chahata hai, uski leadership corrupt leedaRon key haath day daita hai."

    Not the exact wording but that was the jist of of it. Biggest hurdle Pakistan faces is the education of the masses and I am not talking about the doctored curriculum provided by Board of Ed. Every successive gov't has tried to suppress education with little exception to present one.

    I have my fingers crossed for this regime. If it only delivers quarter of what it has promised, I say it will be a big step towards rebuilding.


      SAJ ji
      A request: Everyone who is interested in your postings, like me - will be at great ease if you please discuss only one point at one time instead of making a mess of all. Your this message at the top, seems to be a page of an Urdu language newspaper where editors use around 100 news in one page.

      My second request to you is that you should try to follow the responses to your postings instead of not having even a second look at your posting and replies. I hope you will take it in good part!

      With reference to your point you made in your message about the "hundi" and OPs, I totally agree with you. People living in Middle East, can not even dream of this much of dollars our government demands from us to accompany a car with us while back to home.

      Every now and than, government officials visit Middle East countries literally begging for boosting remittance. They promise mood in reply to contribution of OPs - never materialised. On the other hand, OPs are not given any concession at all if they carry even one kg above the limited weight by even our national airlines, nor the custom officials at airports will let you go with a mere tape-recorder for your home. This is really frustrating. I myself have been subjected to such situations many times.

      OPs do not want to shuffle off custom duties, but we are forced to think if government can not do any concession to us, why should we help them out?

      There are oceans of questions ready to be asked to the government to which, no official will be available until the time comes when they have to pay installments to the IMF or the World Bank.

      OPs are a force which can take Pakistan - or at least can contribute greatly to the drive of taking Pakistan out of finanical grinder of international donors, but the government should be sincere and the OPs should be given a few incentives which are nothing but due.
      Reh gaya kaam hamaara hi baghawat likhna...