Adieu 2016!!!


Let’s see how this one unfolds


Did NAB achieve new milestones? Well actually, yes, they came up with this very interesting campaign against corruption with an even more naively interesting slogan “Say No to Corruption”




Here goes yet another year down the memory lane. I asked myself umpteen times if we witnessed any positive changes over this 69th year of being a sovereign ideological state. The answer was an emphatic no.

Were the Panama perpetrators taken to a just trial? Well, a trial, yes…just, now that is being too wishful!

Were Ayan and Dr Asim’s cases dealt with? Yes, of course, media that happens to be the fifth strongest pillar of this proudly demented democratic state gave it a lot of air time with Ayan’s flashy appearances in the court and how she gave a lot of pleasure to the policemen who escorted her and all the bystanders present in the court premises during her hearings, and then of course we got the air of the amount of interest that was being taken by Mr Khosa. But what became of the case? A model who was put behind bars because she was involved in money laundering was pampered while in incarceration and was let go because she had an influential backing. Did anything change? No it is again the same rotten system that nurtures corruption.

Did NAB achieve new milestones? Well actually, yes, they came up with this very interesting campaign against corruption with an even more naively interesting slogan “Say No to Corruption”.While the bigwigs continue taking their mullah out of the country and continue buying properties in England and Switzerland and keep getting richer, NAB very conveniently did its part by emphasising the very downtrodden proletariats of this country to keep saying no to corruption. That must have shed the onus off NAB. Here’s hoping that this campaign would be fruitful and NABwould get down to practicing what it is preaching by actually nipping this menace right in the bud. So when it comes down to dealing with corruption, nepotism, embezzlement, 2016 was yet another year of disappointment.

Now let us see if we grew any bit tolerant this year.The answer is again in the negative. Innocents like Dawood Ahmad, Hameed Ahmad and homeopathic practitioner Khaliq Ahmad were persecuted because of their faith. Attack on Ahmaddiya place of worship in Chakwal on the 12th of Rabb-ul-awwal brought this year to a sad end with a very strong feeling that inter-sect, inter-faith and inter-religion harmony seem like too far-fetched goals for this nation where every Tom Dick and Harry claims that his sect and his faith are in accordance with the true ethos of Quran and Sunnah and all the rest are blasphemous. In this Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Islam seems to have been lost somewhere and it is just the petty egoistical, misconstrued and sexist versions of religion concocted by incapable mullahs that are reigning supreme. I think we would have been less hypocritical and better off if we were just “Republic of Pakistan.”

On the political front our performance was no different. Panamagate, PM’s dramatic heart surgery, out of all the cabinet Ms Maryam Nawaz Sharif running the country in the PM’s absence, Sharif clan’s self-conflicting statements regarding the Panama scandal, Mamnoon Hussain being Manoon Hussain, reeked of dismal political performance.

One very positive political move by the PPP government in Sindh, which was welcome unanimously by everyone across the country, was the replacement of Mr Qaim Ali Shah with Mr Murad Ali Shah as the chief minister. It took the PPP leadership a good two and half decades to let go of Mr Shah despite utter chaos in the province during his three terms as CM, but all’s well that ends well.

Imran Khan’s emphatic demand of the accountability of the Panama scandal did prove threatening to the government. So we saw some effective opposition in that regard but it would have been better if Imran had used parliament for this purpose. His party did not go to parliament the whole year till 14 December when he announced to call off the boycott. The 4 November U-turn was an utter disappointment. Perhaps 2017 would bring forth a more politically-wise Imran Khan.

In 2016 we saw frequent glimpses of Bilawal Zardari (Bhutto by default).His antics were entertaining. It is alarming to see that hereditary politics is strengthening its roots even further. The very fact that we are entertaining this possibility that this country could be led by likes of Bilawal or Maryam Nawaz Sharif is anything but promising.

Out of the troika of the PM, president and COAS, General Raheel Shareef again bagged all the lime light and completed his tenure and left with a lot of good will of the masses.

The projection of the economic performance was quite misleading. Due to an exogenous positive shock, such as reduction in international oil prices, inflation was kept under control

The projection of the economic performance was quite misleading. Due to an exogenous positive shock, such as reduction in international oil prices, inflation was kept under control. In 2016, there was an increase in remittances which helped ease off the burden of deficit to some extent. Although the figures portrayed that everything was hunky dory with 5.7pc growth rate recorded for 2015-2016. But if we delve a little deeper we would be shocked to know that unless the government takes concrete steps to overcome the structural challenges this promising economic growth would prove to be short-lived.

There has been a lot of hullabaloo over CPEC and the government has played this card more than quite often to cover the shortfalls this year such as failure in: fixing the energy crisis, creating more job opportunities for the young population, addressing the grave concerns of agriculture sector and dwindling industrial growth.

The government has been claiming that in 2016 the external account touched record high levels. Well the fact is that the external account is even more vulnerable because of the two very easily comprehensible facts. First, because of falling oil prices, demand for our labour in the Middle Eastern market is expected to dip sharply which will cause a fall in remittances, secondly the chunk of FDI under the CPEC is insignificant as compared to the loans and import bill of the capital goods which would be needed for the planned projects. So the inflated external account that Mr Ishaq Dar kept flaunting in 2016 is certainly not sustainable.

Our exports stayed extremely low, primarily because of sluggish global economic growth and most importantly because of our internal structural shortcomings such as high input costs, extremely poor productivity, overvalued exchange rate, and low value addition. There was however an improvement in the business sentiment, which can safely be attributed to the improvement of law and order. And thank you Raheel Shareef for that.

One major fallout of the CPEC progress is an unchecked number of Chinese flowing in. There is a growing fear that Chinese would replace Pakistani counterparts because of their efficiency and high productivity which would leave a huge number of the locals unemployed. A Chinese company setting up data collection units all over Pakistan to monitor our important routes and movement of our people and sending information straight to Shanghai should ring a lot of alarms. One of the Chinese friends quipped that in another 25 years; there would be change in the physical features of Pakistanis because Chinese plan on staying here, marrying here and blending in to whatever extent they can. Why does the current scenario remind me of the breed of Anglo Indians that East India Company left behind in the subcontinent?

We have already mortgaged the motorway and Karachi International airport. Let us see how 2017 unfolds.

So with a heavy heart adieu 2016, you took away Abdul Sattar Eidhi, Junaid Jamshaid and Amjad Ali Sabri. Here is wishing, hoping and praying that 2017 would be a lot better than all the previous years and we would see Pakistan come out of the vortex of problems and emerge as a sovereign state capable of taking its own decisions.




  1. What are the four other pillars of the state, if media is the fifth one?
    That is the depth of political commentators and columnist here. But they still have the gumption to suggest ways how state should be run. The biggest corruption issues are the cases of Ayan and Dr Asim. That's it.

    • FYI Pillars of a democratic state:
      1. legislature
      2. Executive
      3. Judiciary
      4. Press
      5. Social media
      Unwarranted criticism Mr. Saleem,

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