Justice Markandey Katju-
Pakistan’s economy has collapsed. It is like a patient on a ventilator, surviving by a heart-lung machine called international borrowing. Recently it went with a begging bowl to the IMF which granted it $ 6 billion, but most of it will go to service its earlier loans of over $ 106 billion and partly covering its budget deficit. This situation is like that of the broke French monarchy under King Louis 16th which kept borrowing money from Dutch bankers until these bankers stopped giving loans realizing they will never get their money back, and the result was the French Revolution of 1789.
Unemployment, which was already massive, has now reached record heights as the Pakistan economy is in doldrums, and poverty has increased. GDP growth fell almost 50%, from 6.2% to 3.4% in the last year, and is expected to go down further to 2.4% next year. Inflation is at an all-time high. Prices of petrol, gas cylinders, food items, electricity etc have risen sky-high. The Pakistan rupee lost 1/5th of its value against the dollar since last year. Servicing the national debt eats up 30% of the budget, while the military eats up another 25%. Taxes, in the form of indirect taxes, fall mainly on the poor people, while the rich find it cheaper to bribe the tax officials rather than pay tax. This is reminiscent of the situation in France before the French Revolution when the tax burden fell mainly on the poor peasantry, while the rich aristocrats paid no tax.
Pakistan was created as an Islamic state, but one cannot eat Islam, one has to eat food, and to eat food one must have a job, which is getting more difficult to get every day. According to the National Nutrition Survey, 2018 by the Pakistan Health Ministry over 50% Pakistani families are not getting 2 meals a day to eat. Half of the Pakistani children are underweight and/or stunted and do not get enough vitamins A and D. 68% are anemic.
Pakistan can grow enough food for its people, but many people do not have the money to buy it, as business tycoons and powerful political families keep prices high. Medicines are made by multinational companies which also keep prices high and often unaffordable by the masses.
In his election speeches, the present Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted the high level of malnutrition, infant mortality and stunted growth of children in Sindh, and blamed the PPP for spending crores of rupees on cultural activities and none on these more important issues. However, he himself has done little to address these problems, and now he has sought to divert attention from the economic crisis, record unemployment and malnutrition in Pakistan to developments in Kashmir, swearing he will give ‘ eent ke jawaab mein patthar ‘ to India, talking of atomic war etc. and by his gimmicks e.g. his call for a half-hour shut down on Friday in Pakistan in support of Kashmiris ( his public speech in Islamabad on Friday reminded me of a line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth ” It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing ” ).
I have already written in detail about the predatory Pakistan military, the real ruler of Pakistan, which has infiltrated its tentacles into almost every sector of the Pakistan economy to benefit its officers ( see my article ‘ The truth about the Pakistan military ‘ online as well as Ayesha Siddiqa’s book ‘ Military Inc ‘ and her interviews on YouTube ). The Pakistan army is a vampire sucking the blood of the poor Pakistan people, and the American Mafia would pale in its comparison. The Generals, many of whom are billionaires ( as mentioned in Eliot Wilson’s article referred to in my article ), justify their loot by peddling the idea that the Pakistan army is the sole bastion and savior of the Islamic Republic against its mortal enemy India, and hence it must be rewarded for its ‘patriotic duty’ by giving it huge privileges and perks ( a euphemism for loot and rapine ).
But how long will the Pakistan people be deceived? No doubt most Pakistanis are scared of the army as it has the gun ( all power flows from the barrel of a gun, as Mao said ), but already there are sounds of rumbling against it in Balochistan, Sind, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan, which is bound to develop into a full-blown insurgency as the economic crisis intensifies.
Pakistan, which was artificially created in 1947 by that historical British swindle called Partition, on the basis of the bogus two nation theory (see Mission Statement and Addresses to the Indian Nation in indianreunificationassociation.co.in ), is bound to implode.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own]