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A Pakistani Perspective of PAKISTAN: Consumption Conundrum in Pakistan

Sakib Sherani


“Instead of statistics and charts, let me try to put a few facts in layman’s language.

Out of a total population of 190 million, the rural population of Pakistan is about 64%. They have never had it so good than the amount of money they have made in the last few years due to high increase in food prices locally & internationally. Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of milk in the world. Nestle took the lead & now big Pakistani tycoons are coming into this business in a big way which would improve the quality substantially to world standards on a huge scale. Nestle is looking at exporting milk internationally in the next 5 years from Pakistan.

Because of corruption, there is a huge invisible black market & people have more money than can be imagined. Due to the high rate of population growth, the cities are expanding & so are towns. The price of land has increased many-fold and the people who owned acres & squares of cheap & mostly useless land, around the periphery of cities & towns have all of a sudden become very rich.  

Private schools giving high quality education have mushroomed all over the country. Both, the poor & the middle class, at least a generation back, who were not educated or had little education, would even starve, but give their children good education. So, now if you go to a shopkeeper’s house, you will find his sons & daughters to be doctors; engineers; educationists.

Our maid who cooks & is totally uneducated has daughters & sons, all educated & working in KFCs; McDonalds; Burger Kings; Hardees. International chains which have sprung up in every neighborhood, and are making very good money & enjoying perks as well. French & German international shopping malls like Carrefour & Metro are increasing their outlets every year, and providing good opportunities in excellent environments to these young boys & girls.  All these young folks now have televisions; washing machines; fridge; air conditioners in their homes. They have motorbikes. One see less bicycles now. This increase in their standard of living requiring more money, makes them still  feel poor.

The banking sector which has been doing well, has installments schemes, so lots of people who could only afford a motorbike have cars & houses now. The expansion of roads flyovers; under-passes & ring roads that are being built cannot keep pace with the increase in traffic in the major cities.

One is surprised that every evening one would find difficulty in getting a table in a restaurant; even the expensive ones. Without a booking, one would have to probably wait for half an hour minimum.

The Global village concept has made people exposed to international travel. The airlines from Arab countries who are the most advanced airlines in the World, are rapidly increasing their flights in & out of Pakistan in the cities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan; Peshawar; Sialkot who offer convenient international connections from their hubs to all parts of the world. Despite this rapid increase, it is not easy to get seats, two to three weeks in advance on international routes.

Despite the plundering of the countries resources by the generals, politicians & civil servants, the country is still surviving due to the resilience of the people. The free media points out every day, everything that is not working right, making it difficult for the Government functionaries to get away with wrong or misdeeds. The Army Generals are now criticized though in a bit subdued tone; but sometime in a very direct language. The judicial system may still be corrupt, but it has improved from what it was 3 years ago. The television,  internet & cell phones has made people more knowledgeable and they would not vote for the corrupt rulers. This change would not be so visible next year. But over ten years, there would be a big change.

If the railways & PIA run by the Government has almost gone bankrupt, the private airlines &  modern bus systems have taken its place all over the country, originally introduced by Daewoo of Korea. The Pakistani private airlines are now international, better & cheaper than PIA. If the Government cannot give consistent electricity, people have switched over to UPS systems & generators running on furnace oil; gas & coal for the industry; and commercial & domestic use.

The high standards set by these international companies, has made their Pakistani counterparts also increase their standards to compete, just to survive, if nothing else.

The madarassas which imparted only  Islamic education to the students free of cost, have now included science & arts subjects in their curriculum, teaching students how to apply their Islamic fundamentals in living their normal lives as Muslims. Pakistani Islamic scholars of international repute have their own television channels or partially taken hours on networks & have millions of followers, providing the foundations to make people better human beings in all aspects; which will reduce corruption in the society in the next ten years or so; to by about half of what it is now.

Maybe, in ten years time, the political, judicial & the administrative system would improve substantially, if it gets this time. It’s a big “IF”

Majority of Muslims in Pakistan are now confident and are sure that this country can stand on its own two feet. There is a hatred growing in Pakistan against these politicians, handful of generals & civil servants who become subservient to outside powers for their personal interests & not because the country needs such atrocious verbal agreements. Nobody believes here that they need the Americans to survive & live honorable lives as a nation. It is common knowledge amongst the people & the young army officers & the jawans that a Brigadier upwards cannot be promoted without the nod from Langley, Virginia & those officers who have full faith in Allah and as such their thought process, words & actions confirm such faith, are not promoted, thus not only making this great army into a mercenary army by a handful of generals; but the generals, politicians & the civil servants have made the country & thereby the people, hostage to foreign powers. There have been a couple of failed coups in the recent past & the Silala killings made these cowardly Corp Commanders shaking with fear of a revolt by the young officers which made them take a somewhat stern stand with the Americans, otherwise the people of Pakistan & the jawans & officers of the army are cannon fodder for these politicians & generals whose lives are dispensable, at the whims of their American Masters. At the end of the day, the Americans have given USD1.8 billion (including military aid) per annum max. The overseas Pakistanis send more than USD12 billion / annum remittances. The textile industry contributes just as much earnings every year & can do much more if the infra-structure facilities are improved at a reasonable price & not by beefing it up by kick-backs by these generals & politicians. No wonder, Mian Mansha announced that if the Government gives up American aid, he will generate USD1 billion every year additional for Pakistan.

It is a matter of time before the status quo is eliminated & Pakistan become a sovereign country in the real sense; followed by 5 to 7 years of difficult times when the international enemies & their henchmen inside Pakistan, will try to bring back the status quo through intrigues, covert operations, economic sanctions & threats of direct interventions.

This just gives an idea of what Pakistan really is these days. Not what the international media portrays. The local media gives all the bad news pointing out the wrongs & injustice. That’s good. That’s really good for the nation.

Let’s hope for the best, as the entire nation is now confident and ready to face the world on mutually acceptable terms.

The big powers after purchasing the top civil & military leadership of Pakistan are making their own plans; and Allah makes His own plans. And Allah is the best of Planners.”

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Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- party Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy for developing and improving Human Capital, by focusing on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act to promote and actively seek Human well-being and happiness by working side by side with the deprived and have-nots.

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