Riyasati Ashrafiya (State Aristocracy) and the chronic debt dependence

Chronic ‘debt dependence’
By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr Ikramul Haq
All is set for the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (MF) to consider Pakistan’s request for a fresh bailout package on September 4, 2013 after Islamabad has purportedly “fulfilled all prior requirements” — the IMF has already circulated amongst members the Letter of Intent (LoI) it received from Islamabad. Reportedly, though the IMF has agreed to provide $6.6 billion under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), Islamabad is insisting on $7.3 billion confirming its insatiable ‘debt addiction’.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, in a news conference on August 26, 2013,

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The myth of economic imperialism: a brief take

[Recently, I was asked to express my views on the notion of economic imperialism and answer to a few questions. It was suggested that “the notion that Pakistan controls the reigns to the economic resources of the country is incorrect – she doesn’t. The G-7 does. They are the ones who make all the economic decisions for us, for our country, through their institutions like IMF, World Bank, and WTO through the policies of SAP, TRIPS, and TRIMS. The idea is to expropriate our land, our labor, our raw materials, and our markets for their own profits. This is what

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Riyasati Ashrafiya (State Aristocracy) grabs loans and distorts the economy

‘Qarz burhao, mulk bigarho’
By Huzaima Bukhari and Dr Ikramul Haq  
[This article first appeared in the Business Recorder of August 30, 2013.]
In 1997 the slogan of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) was ‘Qarz Utaro, Mulk Sanwaro’ [retire debt, adorn country], which is reversed in 2013 as all efforts are underway to increase public debt – both domestic and external. The new slogan appears to be ‘Qarz Burhao, Mulk Bigarho’ [increase debt, damage country].

People of Pakistan have yet not forgotten the fate of ‘Qarz Utaro, Mulk Sanwaro’ Scheme announced by Nawaz Sharif on February 23, 1997 along with

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Pakistan: Live at Your Own Risk!

[Cost: Lives of 45 citizens of Pakistan. Lesson Learned: Fokkers grounded for passengers services. Outcome: No one is responsible!]
This time the temptation is irresistible. Long ago perhaps 15 years back I happened to go along with some kids to an entertainment park in Lahore. We bought tickets to enjoy rides, etc, inside the park. The back of the tickets read as: Ride at your own risk. I was staggered: are not the people running this business responsible for any mishap? I decided to write on this way of avoiding/evading responsibility, and thought we had accepted this way of behaving

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Books or bombs?

In the midst of dust and destruction unleashed by the politicians, The Express Tribune of today, August 28, has the following story to exalt our spirits:
Matta: Change in the offing can be observed in many ways – in changing attitudes, changing congregations, changing social dynamics. The recent book fair in Matta – held from August 14 to August 15 – saw all that, and more.
[The Express Tribune, August 28, 2013]
With discounted books on subjects ranging from general knowledge to literature, the fair became much more than just a gathering. It came to symbolize a beacon of hope

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Buying a car in Pakistan

In 2004, the Pakistani government placed an order for a luxurious Mercedes Cardiac ambulance at a cost of more than 13 million rupees (about $225,000). The vehicle, first of its kind, will be used exclusively by a select group of VIP patients in the capital, Islamabad. No doubt the privileged few will include civil and military bureaucrats and so-called representatives of the people.
But, at the same time, a large number of taxpaying people eager to buy a car are being denied a fair deal. Over the past couple of years the local car industry, which suffered negative growth of

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Mission to fight superstition ends in killing

For nearly three decades, an earnest man named Narendra Dabholkar traveled from village to village in India, waging a personal war against the spirit world.
If a holy man had electrified the public with his miracles, Dr. Dabholkar, a former physician, would duplicate the miracles and explain, step by step, how they were performed. If a sorcerer had amassed a fortune treating infertility, he would arrange a sting operation to unmask the man as a fraud. His goal was to drive a scientist’s skepticism into the heart of India, a country still teeming with gurus, babas, astrologers, godmen and other

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Free trade is cricket

It’s possible that after more than half a century of animosity, India and Pakistan could be on the path to lasting friendship. That path is strewn with obstacles, many of them of Kashmiri origin, but just as the cricket matches are uniting the people, so free trade, a concept also espoused at January’s summit, could prove a further catalyst to lasting peace and prosperity.
Both India and Pakistan have long histories of economic introspection and protectionism. Over the past decade, India has begun to throw off the shackles of its socialist economic model, abandoning its discredited drive for self-sufficiency and

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