‘Foreign aid or bailout packages can’t save Pak from bankruptcy’

Washington: Voice of Karachi (VOK) chairman Nadeem Nusrat has said that the Saudi monetary package for Pakistan can only delay, but not prevent the inevitable.

He said that Pakistan, a country of 200 million people, cannot continue to run on foreign charity, aid, grants, or bailout packages.

Nusrat further underscored that the country needs a fundamental change in the direction the country has been driven so far. He said that Pakistan has constantly relied on foreign aid and loans for decades to sustain itself.

“All the media reports suggest that Pakistan has secured nearly USD 6 billion from Saudi Arabia to address its current financial crisis. This also shows that the Pakistani government and establishments have failed to satisfy the World Bank, IMF and other international lenders. They have not done their homework properly. This is why they have failed to secure a proper bailout package from these organisations,” Nusrat elucidated.

“Despite achieving freedom over 70 years ago, Pakistan is yet to fix its financial right. A big chunk of its national budget is spent on Defence expenditure and supporting a mindless foreign and regional policy that has left Pakistan nearly bankrupt and diplomatically isolated,” he added.

The VOK chairman, who also heads Washington-based South Asia Minorities Alliance Foundation, stated that Pakistan’s current tax system is also a huge mess and has failed to serve its purpose.
“Only salaried people pay their taxes, mainly because it is deducted at the source. The business community does pay tax, but corruption in the system allows many to exploit loopholes within the system and pay much less tax than what is due. Despite being mainly an agrarian economy, Pakistan has also failed to tax its landed elite, which hails mainly from Punjab and rural Sindh and pays no income tax on massive agricultural income,” Nusrat said.

The Mohajir leader said that Pakistan has also been consistently ignoring key areas such as education, human development, health, infrastructure and public transport. Instead, it has been spending a huge chunk of its national budget on Defence.

“It maintains an army that is not only disproportionately large in numbers, it also controls Pakistan’s foreign policy and has never allowed democracy to fully establish in Pakistan. In addition, its spy agencies also spend huge sums on supporting militant religious proxies. This policy has not only left Pakistan in deep financial difficulties, it has also left it isolated diplomatically,” he added.

Nusrat also underscored that no country in the world could continue to sustain itself years after years with a hugely flawed tax system, a massive Defence budget and complete reliance on foreign charity or bailout packages.

“Pakistan, a country with a 200 million population, cannot expect to save itself from bankruptcy by securing one financial bailout after another. What it needs is a radical overhaul in its national direction and priorities. It needs to stop spending massively on its Defence budget and start investing in areas that serve in longer terms. Without this, it cannot expect to be treated with dignity and respect in the world and would sooner or later face bankruptcy,” he warned.

He said that Pakistan needs to establish good relations with its neighbours. All institutions in the country, whether it is parliament, judiciary, salaried class, the business community, landowners or the military, should be held accountable and their budget should be audited.