I think in Pakistan a narrative has developed in the mind of people at large since last several years that anyone who is riding a shiny car or living in a affluent housing society or having a well furnished office is supposed to have looted Pakistan’s wealth.

Even when a middle or a lower middle class person buys a new motor bike, he is suspected to have got the money by doing something wrong. One reason for this mindset is that there has been a lot of noise in the media about corruption allegations in the country since last several years. Often when we tune in to electronic media or open a news paper, we find news about the corruption allegations against businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats and others. Another reason for such a poisonous mindset the way in which the current accountability process and documentation driven is being carried out. Nobody is against accountability or documentation drive but these should be carried out with a very well thought and prepared plan so that business sentiments are not suppressed and economy is not tanked.

We rarely find out that corruption allegations have been proved in the courts of law and the alleged person is convicted. This mindset is harming country’s economy because this mindset is one of factors contributing to slow down of country’s economy. People are shying away from building a house or plaza or buying a new car or investing in new factory.

Country’s prime minister with cricket expertise can’t really understand the complexities of economy of large country having population of 210 million people and how such exaggerated corruption and unprovable allegations can harm country’s economy. His economic team has ill advised him as to how improve country’s economy. Prime Minister Imran Khan himself has been telling people of Pakistan that there is daily corruption of Rs 10 billion in Pakistan. He also told us during election campaign of year 2018 that there is money laundering of US $ 10 billion every year from Pakistan. But none of these claims have so far been proven to be true.

I am now thinking that such claim of corruption are exaggerated because we haven’t seen any improvement in country’s financial health after the Prime Minister’s government has completed one year which was elected on the mandate of wiping out corruption from the country. We haven’t seen recovery of looted wealth from alleged corrupts nor we have seen many conviction by courts of alleged corrupt people. Prime Minister Imran Khan himself held the portfolio of Interior Minister for a good part of his first year rule but we haven’t seen any conviction for money laundering or other corruption. Instead, the economy has slowed down and country’s balance sheet has weakened because of dull economic conditions in the country. I think the government must immediately take notice of such a negative narrative and help to counter this narrative by creating a business friendly atmosphere in the country to encourage investment.

I remember in the fifties, sixties and seventies our businessmen were very much respected because the success stories of business entrepreneurs were reported in the media. At that time when a businessman would build a big house or buy shiny long car in Karachi or Lahore, people never used to think he got these assets with ill gotten money. If someone was very sarcastic about such transactions, he/she would criticise such buyers of big house or long shiny car by saying that he is spendthrift or showy. I would like point out that Pakistan is country full of opportunities because of its population size and natural resources. Wealth was being created during 50s, 60s and 70s with hard work and entrepreneurship and wealth can be created now also provided enabling environment is created in the country.

The hard working people have all the right to build a house and buy a car of their choice. Therefore, I suggest to all concerned that we must try to reverse the subject dangerous narrative to help country’s economy grow at a pace which meets our requirement.

EJAZ AHMAD MAGOON,

Qatar.