Naya Pakistan

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We all should do more for the country

 

 

I just woke up, after a night of tossing, turning and bad dreams. And that is about all the fretting I am going to allow myself. I sat at my desk in Karachi, Pakistan, on one of the hottest summers on record without any cooling, water or electricity. The house seems virtually like inside of an oven with waves of heat and torrid. There has been no gas since two months or fuel in the city so the generators in town appear to have lost their voice. In the back of this town, the middle class use battery packs and the less fortunate light candles or oil lamps, all for the lack of some basic amenities. It seems like the businesses have shuttered for good, kids stopped going to school and the only people on the road were dignitaries with their twenty car cavalcade.

I picked up a newspaper to ventilate my next breath which seemed impossible to come. It reads: “A thunderous bomb blast rock Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, killing at least 54 people and injuring 266…” I didn’t read any further, as this figure seemed too trivial to an addition to 35000 people who have already been killed in different terrorist attacks in this country. Only a moment later I felt a jolt of strong light blinding me for a second, I thought the electricity has been restored but it was the sunlight that woke me up from this bad dream.

In a strange struggle to start my day I quickly picked up the newspaper before I could prepare to step outside. The newspaper reads: “World notices ‘surprising turnaround’ as Pakistan’s economy revives”. Still hung over between the two different worlds changing in only a matter of seconds, I stroll into the shower merely to realize the water was up and running. With curiosity building up, I decided to step outside and see the “Naya Pakistan”. The first thing I is see is a school bus with a huge sticker of Malala Yousafzai on the back loaded with resolute learners chirping their way to school. Next is a trader jumping with joy outside his shop owing to an all-time 70% high in consumer demand this year. As I drive further, the roads seem to have widened overnight with an almost constant shadow of high-rise buildings being constructed on either side. The interest rates have bottomed out to the lowest at 6% spiraling the economic activity. Am I still in Defense or Clifton? No, I am crossing the Empress Market in Sadder Town. Just a few steps away there is small utility store from which I can clearly see happy customers walking out. The inflation is down at an all-time 48-year low. The markets are buzzing with crowd laughing meaninglessly flashing their mobile phones and wallets. But, what about the street-crime in Karachi? The bull has been held by the horn by paramilitary forces. Now I am entering I I Chundrigar Road, to my right is the best performing stock market in the world yielding an annual rate of return over 49% and to my left is big billboard flashing pictures of Pakistan’s street football team who appear to have clinched the bronze in Norway.

Pakistan has just begun to bounce back. Being the second-largest country in South Asia, making it amongst one of the most populous geographical regions in the world, it has the potential to become the next rising prodigy. Charlie Robertson, London-based chief economist at Renaissance Capital calls Pakistan as “the best, undiscovered investment opportunity in emerging frontier markets”. The IMF has accredited Pakistan for its 4.1 percent growth in GDP this year, with a bump of up to 4.5 percent projected for next year. There are mega infrastructural projects going on at the moment including the $48 billion China-Pak Economic Corridor, 800 miles of highways and 14 major power plants which are believed to turnaround the fate of this country by 2018. Moreover a shrinking current account deficit, adequate foreign reserves and an all-time high remittances appears to be promising enough to believe the country is finally waking up after a decade-long slumber. Only a country which has been through so much knows the value of coming out of it.

My world is small, but it is hopeful. I am surrounded by people who are always pushing harder, always trying something braver. I often feel like I should be doing more, and after last night, I know I somehow must.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent article. Yes I was surprised too on my latest visit to Karachi where I saw people holding cameras and mobile phones without any fear in public places.

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