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After the bickering is done, after the celebrations are complete, and before the next round of bickering starts, someone in the new governemnt has to begin looking at the real issues–beyond power play.
Can we move beyond the politics of recrimination and vendetta?
The Economic Issues have to be resolved: Learning from history beyond pointing fingers.
Resolving “economic issues” does not mean increasing the “bhatta” from 10% to 25% or buying more Surray palaces. If the economic issues are not resolved quickly, the IMF will be back again into Pakistan politics. The Pakistani consumer right now is not paying the market price of fuel. The international prices crossed $100 per barrel. In effect the government in this election year has been subsidising the huge oil bill that it incurs.
The new government has to eliminate the subsidies. This will cause a round of spiraling inflation, and make the government very unpopular. Additionally, many food subsidies will have to be brought down. The other option is huge budget deficits, short term loans, and inviting the IMF back in. Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Benazir Bhutto had raised Pakistan’s loans from $12 Billion to $38 Billion in about 6 years of inept corrupt misrule. They had squandered the foreign exchange reserves, and the money in the treasure was $200 million (compare to 19 billion or recent 14 billion). The Sharifs had spent $1 Billion on the Yellow Cab scheme. That amount could have been used to build a car factory.
The Sharifs had spent $500 million for the freeway, which should have costed $100 million. The Sharifs had taken short term loans from foreign banks with interest rates as high as 24%. The IMF had so much control on the Pakistan government, that it was dictating to Pakistan to sign the NPT and roll back Pakistan’s nuclear program. The strategy to bring back the IMF into Pakistani politics is still there. Can Mr. Sharif have the vision to see the writing on the wall?
If the same policies continue, the IMF will be back. This is the long term objective of the powers to be. One of the main reasons for denying the government to Shaikh Mujibur Rehman was the 6 point devolution structure which would have split Pakistan into five parts. It is pedantic to understand this fantastic analysis on the dangers of weakening the center.
THE IMF MANDATED ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING IS POISON FOR PAKISTAN
“Strong Economic Medicine”: Weakening Pakistan’s Central Government
Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:
“State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade’s debt … . The republics were largely left to their own devices. … The budget cuts requiring the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces.
In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of Yugoslavia’s federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)
It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA report had predicted a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan pointing to the impacts of “economic mismanagement” as one of the causes of political break-up and balkanization.
“Economic mismanagement” is a term used by the Washington based international financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully abiding by the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the “economic mismanagement” and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted countries into extreme poverty.
Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF “economic medicine” as Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d’Etat which brought General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan’s external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. The IMF’s “debt reduction” under the package was conditional upon the sell-off to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .
There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called “developing World”. These covert operation, including the organisation of military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia’s federal fiscal structure collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social divisions. The US and NATO sponsored “civil war” launched in mid-1991 consisted in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.
A similar “civil war” scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National Intelligence Council and the CIA: From the point of view of US intelligence, which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist “liberation armies”, “Greater Albania” is to Kosovo what “Greater Balochistan” is to Pakistan’s Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington’s chosen model, to be replicated in Balochistan province. (Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international bestseller America’s “War on Terrorism” Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization)
In interesting revelations, Mr. Shaikh Rashid revealed that Mr. Sanaullah was the contact go-between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry. He indicated that Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry was working under the instructions of Mr. Nawaz Sharif.
The number one issue in Pakistan is not bringing back Mr. Sharifs (through Mr. Sanaullah’s) friend Mr. Ifthikhar Chaudhry. Mr. Ifthikahr Chaudhry who had already accepted the original PCOhad accepted Mr. Musharraf’s first coup. Now the holier than though attitude is based upon politics.
Mr. Sharif has declared that soon he will come back with a huge majority. Is this an omen of another election soon, as predicted by Mr. Shaikh Rashid also.The new government will last a few months. Before it collapses, they should be looking at some real issues. The Senate is in session. Why is not functioning?
The brilliant Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hyatt of the PML(Q) boasted that its party had gotten 76 million votes for PML(Q). If the votes of the MQM and other parties were added, they got more votes than any other party. His analysis also proclaimed that PPPP got the same number of seats are before. He said that if the sympathy vote was 80%-90% for the PPPP than the election cannot be taken as a repudiation of Mr. Musharraf. He also claimed that the PML(Q) has a prescience in all the provinces and that they would provide a vigorous opposition to the PPPP and PML(N).