The world is a fast changing place. In an era of globalization and interdependence, economics is a driving force in determining the success of countries. If one examines the causes of the current economic crises in Asia and Russia which are playing havoc with the world's markets, the roots of the problem lie in economic mismanagement and corruption. Take the example of Indonesia under Suharto, who allowed massive state-ownership and unbelievable corruption to flourish thus preventing sound economic policies which would have favoured the common Indonesian people and encouraged further international investment in the economy. And one doesn't need to go into detail about the corruption existing in Russia - whose economy has become under the control of the new mafia "Czars". With the terrible effects these regional economic disasters are having at the international level, it is clear that economic viability has become more and more tied to proper policies and the ridding of corruption.
Advocates of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan have tried to exploit innocent Kashmiris by projecting religion as the basis for accession to Pakistan. There are more than 70 Islamic countries in the world which exist as independent states with their independent identity - this does not make them any less Islamic. Now that Kashmiris have realized this truth - some advocates of accession to Pakistan have tried to fool common Kashmiris on the false claim that an independent Kashmir lacks economic viability. But this claim is a mistake. In fact, it is those who promote accession to Pakistan - or India for that matter - who fail to realize the fact that the development of a country and its prosperity ultimately depends strongly upon its economic viability. In reaction, I will say that accession is not economically viable for Kashmir - this can be demonstrated by the high level of corruption in Kashmir existing presently on both sides of the LOC.
We, who have always propagated independent Kashmir have always based our contention on logic, rationality and the economy of Kashmir. It is our strong conclusion that Kashmir will not benefit economically under anything else but freedom. To this end, I would like to produce a few examples of Pakistan's depraved economic condition. I do so only to put before those who favour Kashmir's accession to Pakistan, the negative economic implications which would flow from that phenomenon. In no way would Kashmir be better economically with accession to Pakistan. Pakistani industrialists, feudal, military junta, and bureaucracy have perpetrated a general loot of Pakistan in a manner in which a beast of prey tears its victim to pieces. The result has been the terrible impact upon the common people of Pakistan.
These sections have siphoned off nearly twenty billions rupees from national banks and financial institutions. Financiers and industrialists have pocketed anything from one million to twenty-eight hundred million rupees out of this amount. Out of the misappropriated tens of billions, over five thousand million rupees have been accounted or as debt remissions and rescheduling. Out of over 20 billion rupees payable as debt, the banks have realized only anything between 1.5 to 2. billion only till date. Some of the details of the 103 defaulters are as this given by one Pakistani journalist Ramzan bin Shabir,some of defaulters is as:
Junaid Cotton Mills 1.40 crore; Zemrok Fibre Glass 5.10 crore;
Aisha Spinning Mills 4.50crore; Hakim Textiles 3.60 crore;
Aisha Crown Bakery 2.70 crore; Noon Sugar Mills 2.30 crore;
Al- Tawakkul Ployster 3 crore; Electronic Information Energy 3.50 crore;
Bannu Sugar 2.50 crore; Consolidated Sugar Mills 9.40 crore;
Tawakkul Limited 4.40 crore; Central Cotton Mills 7.70 crore.
Pak Land Siment 13.10 crore,Naya Doore Moters 28 crore;
Fathi Ali Camicals 26 crore,Pak Suziki Moters 15.10crore
Many rulers of Pakistan made loud claims of realizing the debts but in practice none of them were able to make it possible. The amount of payable debts increased by over two thousand million per month. Decrees from Banking courts have been issued against more than 15 thousand defaulters but no legal action has been taken by the government against any defaulter so far. The reason is that many influential persons are included among them. Close relatives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are also among them like Omran Qamar, Kamran Qamar, Interior Minister Chowdhury Shujaat Husain, Mian Muhammed of Muslim Commercial Bank, former Muslim League Senator Abbas Shah and others. Hundreds of Assembly members, Senators and bureaucrats are also among the defaulters. Every year Dozens of Ministers and Parliamentarians are declared as defaulter for not paying the expenses borne by them in government rest houses and other official institutions. Many defaulters of Federal lodges who are prominent politicians are also included in the list like Salim Saifullah, Javed Hashmi and Tehmina Daulatana.
In a report of the World Bank, it is said that Pakistani governments charge only their political opponents as defaulters and bring them under pressure. Nawaz Sharif's family is one of the worst defaulter owing 20 hundred crore dollar, the International Monetary Fund is asking details about this matter to state bank of Pakistan according to JANG Daily Karachi 3 September. Indeed, the level of corruption and economic mismanagement in Pakistan is a sad state of affairs. The current economic sanctions on Pakistan are not to be blamed as the corruption and mismanagement. Nonetheless, with sanctions hitting hard Pakistan may be facing serious economic trouble - which will hurt the poor of Pakistan terribly.
Those who have reposed blind faith in Kashmir's accession to Pakistan, and have tried to manipulate the emotions of innocent Kashmiris, there are some bitter lessons for them in this article which should open their eyes. But those on the pay roll of the Pakistani establishment will not be prepared to accept the facts and the truth even if God were to descend from heaven to certify it. They are bent upon setting a bargain of their native land, their conscience, and their people. To them this is politics. It is tragic that even the orphans and widows in Pakistan are being deprived of their shelter for their defaults in paying back even small amounts of ten, twenty or fifty thousand rupees while the feudal lords, military junta, bureaucrats and industrialists are not pressurized to repay billions worth of loans which they have taken.
The number of federal ministers in Pakistan does not exceed 70. The government has to incur a daily expenditure of 4 crores on them. Thousand of millions of rupees had to be spent so far on this item. The banking system in the country has almost collapsed. The capital of 30 to 45 per cent national banks has so far been shifted to foreign banks. Pakistani emigrants who work hard in foreign country had deposited over 13 billion dollars in Pakistani banks. This was their hard earned money. After exploding a nuclear bomb, Pakistan government made a pretext and froze this foreign currency account. It made the propaganda that the country had the threat of being declared a defaulting state and that there was no other way of saving the country from that precarious situation. According to some reliable sources, the rulers of Pakistan had already eaten up the foreign currency accounts. Before freezing foreign accounts, over two hundred million dollars had been withdrawn from the banks through a very important political leader. The purpose of freezing the accounts was to prevent the corrupt politicians for making use of this money for selfish aggrandizement. By freezing the foreign account of the Pakistani labour force in foreign countries, the message given to them by the rulers is that Pakistan is a country for the feudal lords, military junta and corrupt bureaucrats only and not for workers and labourers. The government had succeeded in whipping up sentiments of people by exploding the nuclear bomb and had imagined foreign remittances in a big way. But by freezing their account, that sentiment naturally died down. Not more than a ten million dollars could be collected at the end of the day. Overseas Pakistanis even stopped remittent money through banks and the hundi system received impetus.
A Pakistani journalist, Mr. Ramzan bin Shabir has prepared a report of various defaulters in different periods in Pakistan. It is summarized as this:
During Moin Qureshi period 82 billion increasing to 123 billion during Benazir Bhutto period. 150 billion during Nawaz Sharif's period in 1997 and 225 billion during Nawaz Sharif's period in 1998. On the other hand the total budget of the country is only 6 hundred six billion rupees.
During Benazir Bhutto's 1988 stint, loans worth 30.52 crores were remitted. In the Benazir's second term of rule, loans worth rupees more than Five billion were remitted between October 1993 to November 1996. During Nawaz Sharif's government in the course of only 80 days 2.45 crore rupees worth loans were remitted. During the interim period in 1988 Ghulam Ishaque Khan remitted loans worth 3.45 crore rupees. From July to October in 1993, Moin Qureshi remitted 6 crore 66 lakh and 60 thousand rupees of loan. From August to November 1990, the Prime Minister, Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi remitted loans worth 1 crore 60 lakh and 60 thousand. Balkh Sher Mazari remained in PM's office for three months and during this period he remitted 30 lakh rupeees of loan.
The question is that the child of a poor man dies of dehydration because little money which could have saved his life is not available. On the contrary the sons and daughters of Pakistani Minister, military junta, Sardars, Feudal lords and Capitalists send their children to foreign countries to receive the best medical treatment even if they complain of an ordinary headache. Do the Kashmiris dream of joining Pakistan on the prompting of those whom the Pakistani agencies have made their objective?.
Equally interesting is to know how the British - oriented bureaucracy of Pakistan is ruling their poor subjects in a fashion which is the British legacy. A reports gives an insight. Only 84 high ranking officers inhabit 2644 kanals of land for their residential buildings. Sitting in these palaces, these people consider themselves above any accountability. Like the British of the Raj period, they consider themselves as the real masters of the people and arbiters of their destiny. They decide the fate of Pakistani people on the streets. Mr. Ramazan bin Shabir has given the following report : About the ares occupied by the important personalities for their residences:
It has also been said in the same report that Pakistan bureaucracy pockets nearly 10.35 hundred thousand million rupees by way of corruption. The corrupt bureaucrats have raised property worth over 50 hundred thousand million rupees. 80 per cent children of above 18 Grade cadres of Pakistani bureaucracy receive their education in foreign countries. 90 per cent government top functionaries spend more then 15 to 25 per cent extra of their salary per month. With this general loot being perpetrated, Pakistani bureaucracy considers it below dignity to care for the solution of the problems of the poor people.
It should be noted that most of the politicians and military generals in Pakistan have entered into matrimonial relations with one another. 90 per cent Pakistanis want to be related to one another through matrimonial alliances whether on the side of the government or in opposition. If the father-in-law is on treasury benches, the son-in-law is in opposition; if father is on the side of the government, the son is in opposition; if the uncle is in government, the nephew is in opposition. If the father-in-law is a General, the son-in-law is a bureaucrat. If the father-in-law or father is a judge, the son-in-law or the son is a General or a Commissioner. In this way, the group of Pakistani rulers, Feudal lords, Capitalists, Bureaucrats and Generals have managed to keep themselves safe from accountability. Sons of most of the politicians or their sons-in-law, generally are raised to higher positions in the army.
A special audit report which appeared in 1995/96, the bureaucrats of the NWFP alone were involved in a two thousand million scandal. About the scandals related to Pakistani Prime Ministers, suffice to say that Benazir Bhutto has amassed millions in foreign banks and a case against her is pending in a court in Switzerland. One cannot compass the extent of her property. At the same time, she has paid her income tax within a range of 16 to 25 thousand rupees only. The present Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif's family had purchased 2 kanals and 16 marlas of land in Lahore in the scrap business. His industrial group today is the fourth biggest of its kind in Pakistan today with investment of over 217 million dollars. According to a report published by a Pakistani journalist named Farooq Dilawar, Nawaz Sharif paid income tax of :
Rs. 1727/-in 1977-78 and wealth tax of Rs.5249/-
In 1989-90, his income tax was 1,62712/- and wealth tax was 32291/-.
In 1991-92, income tax was rupees 57,637/- and wealth tax was 1,66,302/-.
In 1992-93 it was Rs. 2,680/- and 1,27,385 respectively.
In 1993-94 these figures were 14,696/- and 1,46,547/- respectively.
Having stated all these details, I would like to pose a question to the Kashmiris. Indeed it is a big question mark. For last 10 years, Kashmiris have been brought to the brink of destruction in the name of accession to Pakistan. Prior to it, for nearly forty years, they were busy doing politics of religion. Do they want accession to this Pakistan ?
It has also to be noted that the part of Kashmir under the control of the Indians, has also been subjected to rapacity by politicians and bureaucrats for last forty years. Millions of rupees have been eaten up by the politicians and bureaucrats and the rulers in New Delhi. The poor people of Kashmir continue to live in poverty and destitution. But Kashmiris need no lessons about Indian rule - they are already determined for freedom. The purpose of this article is to bring awareness to the people of Kashmir about these matters. These facts have been kept hidden from them by pro-Pakistani elements. The people in the part of Kashmir now under Pakistani control, are fully aware of these misappropriations. But very unfortunately, those part of Kashmir under control of Indian , are not fully aware of the rapacity of the bureaucrats and exploitative sections. This is the reason why the nationalist movement is stronger in POK then IOK. The people in POK have experienced Pakistan, and therefore can not be fooled. Whereas, most in IOK have not been to Pakistan. But people should no longer be fooled because the people there on both sides of the control line are fully aware of exploitative forces on either side of the border.
Thus, from an economic perspective I must say that Kashmir's accession to India or Pakistan is economically inviable. Therefore, we the people of Kashmir, who are more than thirteen million inhabitants of Kashmir want to be saved from this burning issue. We have always been talking of a solution to the problem. We are prepared to render any assistance in the matter. We could devise a formula which gives adequate representation to all sections of people in Kashmir. The only solution, of which we are speaking now is that both Indian and Pakistan withdraw from Kashmir and restore pre-1947 position there. Kashmiris need and deserve their freedom.
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