Today is as good a day to ruminate on what hit Pakistan. The first one to hit us was the sycophant turned demagogue, Zulfikar Al Bhutto. From comparing Ayub Khan with De Gaulle and Attaturk, he pounced upon the Tashkent Declaration to malign his benefactor when the latter was down and out because of the ill conceived war against India. Some say conceived by Bhutto himself. The Tashkent Declaration actually saved Pakistan’s blushes and Bhutto in the end was caught lying, not a first or a last for him. His whole People’s Party was founded on a lie.
Pakistan was on the way to an industrial revolution. Ayub Khan was grooming Bhutto, not Gauhar Ayub, to continue the good work. Under him gradually the country would have been brought back from Basic Democracy to the more conventional form of democracy. But the opportunist Bhutto would not wait. As a reaction to the culture of 22 families he went to the other extreme, promising the awam ‘roti,kapra aur makan’, distributing the cake even before it had been baked, brought the students out on the roads (never to go back to the classrooms again), handed the keys of the factories to the workers (the factories never to recover from this grievous wound till today). With the country broken up, still went ahead with his vindictive and vengeful (against the Dauds and Saigols) nationalization of industry. Do you put industrialist behind bars and then expect them to keep investing?
This was the worst aspect of nationalization which put brakes on further investment by the scared investors, local and foreign. A trend which has continued till today in fits and starts. Pakistan’s march to prosperity was effectively halted. In the name of bettering the lot of some of the poor, the remaining were doomed to perpetual poverty. Even worse than all this was the legacy he left to the country – his daughter.
Two acts of his daughter made sure that the work he started of ruining Pakistan’s economy would be continued. Knowing the precarious economic situation of the country, personal foreign exchange deposits were down from 12 billion to 3 billion, barely enough to meet foreign debt repayments, she pushed the country into a nuclear arms race with India. Foreign exchange deposits had to be frozen to avoid a sure Default. Sanctions by US and EU brought the country to its knees. 9/11 saved Pakistan from becoming a failed state as surely as I write this.
Her crime is compounded because, while she clamoured for the government to go tit-for-tat against the Indian nuclear tests, her statements and photos splashed in newspapers for days, she told CNN, playing her US card, she would have gone for a cold laboratory test. Also that the people were euphoric but they did not realise the economic repercussions (which apparently she did). I have not been able to determine who lied more, the father or the daughter. An IMF official called her a ‘shameless liar’, she did not react. It is to my eternal bewilderment how people who have never told a lie in their whole life, teach their children not to lie, yet stomach such lies and still hang on to their misplaced hero worship.
If this was not enough to keep Pakistan permanently in the rank of poor nations, she opposed Kalabagh dam, again out of vindictiveness, opposed it when it was ‘Zias dam’, agreed to build it when prime minister, opposed it again when it became ‘Nawazs dam’, which if started in 1986 would have given enough power and water to pull the country out of the economic recession (Roosevelt launched the Tennessee Valley Authority to pull US out of recession).
Please join me in raising our hands in praying to God to save us from such ‘Saviours’ and their ‘Relatives’.