It is actually painful at times, to witness the kind of skewed logic used by our politicians in their attempts to one up each other and get the crowd on their side. In the case of Munawar Hassan, it usually defeats the purpose and becomes the subject of hilarity. His recent comments against privatization display similar tendencies, because it isn’t his stance on the subject that is problematic, it is the reasons he gives for his opposition. The thrust of his argument is basically that privatization is against the interests of the poor and will lead to unemployment. He also spoke out against the ‘throw away’ prices that these public industries would be sold at to private investors.

Let’s first get things straight. The industries he is talking about here are firms like PIA and the steel mills of Pakistan, on which the government is wasting billions of rupees for regular bail outs, and which employ a vast amount of workers that get paid for doing no work. The ‘poor’ that he is seeking to look out for are not poor at all, but instead to a large extent, belong to the tertiary sector with fringe benefits as an added comfort. Nepotism and corruption runs rife, and the problems look like they are here to stay, unless something is done. A massive overhaul is needed, if these firms are to even get to a fraction of the efficiency they used to enjoy in the past. Privatization at this point looks to be the only solution, and the first move of any investor would be to streamline and eliminate the deadweight from the equation. Those that serve no purpose will be made redundant. This needs to happen. The government needs to look out for its people but when a certain group is causing the entire society to suffer, then the rectifications must be made.  Even if Pakistan had a welfare system in place, then those working in the firms would still have to do their share, to earn. Proper justification is needed when the state is handing out large sums of money to civilians, and in this case there is no excuse.

It is shameful that the politicians of this country waste their time and ours with pandering and offering misleading explanations that tend to sidetrack important issues. Indulging misinformed claims of victimization and self-pity is not the way to be relevant in the political sphere of the country. There are many faults with the current government, but privatization of stagnant industries is one of their better ideas. As usual, Mr. Hassan displays just how far along the wrong path his opinions lie, and exactly why his party lost so much political ground in the elections this year.