Monday, August 20, 2018

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Saudi Arabia is using Canada to test a wobbling international order

Sreeram Chaulia 

But it's far from a foregone conclusion that liberalism has completely lost its global ideological hold.

The unusual fit of rage with which Saudi Arabia reacted to Canada's routine criticism of the kingdom's human rights situation is a reflection of not just the nature of the current regime in Riyadh, but also of the transitory world order in which we are now living.
The diplomatic row, wherein the petulant Saudis have recalled their ambassador from Ottawa and threatened to pull out thousands of their students and patients from Canadian universities and hospitals, is emblematic of a liberal international system that is wobbling, though it still has proponents.
By now, it is evident that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a hardliner who does not brook any dissent against the kingdom's monarchical absolutism. His loosening of social restrictions on Saudi women and imposition of restraints on the conservative Wahhabi clerical establishment impressed many, but political persecution of activists has simultaneously increased since the 32-year-old crown prince became the de facto king in 2017.

Partial reforms

The liberalisation bin Salman is overseeing through measures like introducing cinema to an entertainment-starved Saudi society is a controlled experiment, with no room for political opening-up. Like Deng Xiaoping in China of the 1980s, bin Salman is attempting a two-faced manoeuvre of partial reforms that act as a safety valve to let off steam in the pressure cooker, while keeping the lid of monarchical authoritarianism in place.
Bin Salman's progressive plan to reduce his country's dependence on oil through his "Vision 2030" program, while at the same time detaining thousands of political prisoners reveals the paradox of the Chinese-style reform model that he has adopted. Such a contradictory and selective reform agenda produces externalities that complicate a country's foreign policy. Bin Salman expects appreciation and applause from the international community for his bold, symbolic step to grant Saudi women the right to drive. But instead, Western liberals are pointing fingers at the underlying structural iniquities which continue to impair human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Here's where Canada comes in. Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has made advocacy for universal rights central to its foreign policy agenda. He confronted Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte about the wave of extrajudicial killings he has carried out in the name of a "war on drugs" — so trenchantly, in fact, that Duterte decried it as a "personal and official insult."
Trudeau also delivered what was called a "very direct" talk with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over state violence and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya minorities. At international forums, Trudeau has been forthright about Canada's own dark history of its treatment of Indigenous peoples.
Trudeau's championing of human rights and democracy distinguishes Canada from the path the United States is pursuing under President Donald Trump. Indeed, the more Trump has assaulted liberal values of tolerance, multilateral cooperation and human dignity, the deeper Trudeau seems to have dug in to defend them.
Together with French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trudeau forms a triumvirate within the West that is resisting the populist, nationalistic tide that has inverted domestic and foreign policy priorities of industrialised nations. Tweets and statements from the Trudeau government condemning Saudi Arabia have to be understood in this broader context.

Yielding to China

There are, of course, limits to Trudeau's idealism. He has not sermonized to China over its deteriorating human rights record under President Xi Jinping, presumably because the stakes of China-Canada trade ($93 billion in 2017) and investment are sizeable. Nor has Trudeau stood up for environmental protection as much as activists and civil society movements would wish.
Yet in spite of the constraints and compromises of practical diplomacy, a seasoned ideological liberal like Trudeau cannot be deterred from slamming a rank abusive country like Saudi Arabia. Bin Salman's foreign policy score sheet has thus far been a series of reckless blunders based on illusions. His military entanglements in Yemen and Syria, and his political arm-twisting of Qatar and Lebanon to beat back the challenge from Iran, have backfired.
The assumption behind his diplomatic tussle against Canada seems to be that the liberal world order has already caved in, and authoritarian governments now have untrammelled freedom to crush dissent at home and browbeat opponents abroad. The Saudi reckoning appears to be that with Trump heading the anti-liberal camp and several right-wing populist European countries joining it, the time is ripe to vigorously counter and corner liberal holdouts like Canada.Going by the detached American — and even British — attitude to the Saudi diplomatic offensive against Canada, Riyadh might reason that Trudeau is indeed marginalized in the emerging new international system. The fact that Canada's historic allies have not lined up solidly behind Trudeau as he locks horns with bin Salman does indicate Canada's relative isolation. It also speaks volumes about the liberal versus conservative/populist polarization sharply dividing Western democracies, which had hitherto formed a fairly coherent ideological bloc. 
But if Trudeau has been shortchanged by Trump, then over-reliance on Trump has cost bin Salman dearly too. Saudi Arabia tried to bully Qatar into submission in 2017 by banking on the expectation of undiluted American support. Doha rode out the storm and eventually secured reaffirmation as a top U.S. ally. The mercurial Trump reversed himself and heaped fulsome praise on Qatar in April 2018, much to the chagrin of the Saudis.
Trump has previously mocked Trudeau as "dishonest and weak," a broadside that may have emboldened the crown prince to go after Canada. But with Canada standing by its objections to denial of political rights in Saudi Arabia, bin Salman has scored nothing more than a self-goal that highlights the kingdom's vulnerabilities.
By escalating the row with Canada, bin Salman has attracted adverse international publicity to Saudi Arabia's jailing and ill-treatment of young human rights activists like Samar and Raif Badawi. Ironically, the unwanted foreign attention from which bin Salman seeks to shield Saudi Arabia is likely to intensify as a result of his Canadian misadventure, not lessen.
It is far from a foregone conclusion that liberalism has completely lost its international ideological hold. No one can be sure of the final result of what is shaping up to be a zigzag tug-of-war between liberalism and populism. And until this epic contest is settled, bin Salman would be wiser to err on the side of caution rather than his trademark brashness.

Opinions: Our politicians have no idea how the Internet works

Here’s the bad news: We can’t trust Silicon Valley to police itself. That has become abundantly clear from the many scandals involving Russian disinformation campaigns, Cambridge Analytica, Twitter bots, secret data breaches, Google geo-tracking and the like.
Here’s the other bad news: We can’t trust Washington politicians to police it, either. The expansive Luddite Caucus has no idea how 21st-century technology actually works, nor any apparent motivation to learn.
President Trump and other Republicans have lately complained that tech companies are allegedly muzzling, purging or “shadow-banning” conservative voices. Most recently, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), aspiring speaker of the House, tweeted on Friday: “Another day, another example of conservatives being censored on social media.” He added the hashtag “#StopTheBias” and called for Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey to “explain to Congress what is going on.”
The cause of McCarthy’s complaint?
He was annoyed that a tweet by Fox News host Laura Ingraham, retweeting a Drudge Report missive, wasn’t immediately visible to him because Twitter said it contained “potentially sensitive content.” As a Twitter executive pointed out, this was due to two factors: The Drudge Report has flagged its own tweets as “potentially sensitive”; and McCarthy had set his Twitter account preferences to hide any tweets flagged this way.
In other words, McCarthy was censoring his own Twitter feed, something he could easily reverse by changing his account settings. Confronting face-palming mockery, McCarthy nonetheless doubled down, still claiming political persecution.
This is hardly the only time that politicians have flaunted their digital illiteracy. We’re now a dozen years past the infamous “series of tubes” speech. Yet our political leaders still don’t seem to have learned much about those “tubes” or the cyber-sewage that frequently flows through them.
Consider a recent, non comprehensive history.
These days Trump lashes out at private companies that suspend nut jobs and neo-Nazis, decrying that “censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police.” But in what feels like a million years of crazy ago, then-candidate Trump said he planned to hobble recruiting by the terrorist Islamic State by asking Bill Gates to “clos[e] that Internet up in some way.”
This was a baffling proposal, not only because Chinese-style, government-enforced Internet censorship would run afoul of the First Amendment. The other problem was that the Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist does not, uh, “control” the Internet.
After his election, Trump moved on to complaining that “the whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.” Yet he also professed to personally “know a lot about hacking.”
Who is his apparent lodestar for cyberwarfare? Not his all-purpose son-in-law Jared Kushner, though Kushner does possess the rare talent of knowing how to search Amazon. No, Trump’s real gizmo guru is his school-age son, whose interwebs wizardry led Trump to determine that “no computer is safe.” Trump said this in response to a press question about cybersecurity policy, adding that sensitive information must always instead be sent by courier “like in the old days.” Which is, you know, not a remotely relevant strategy for thwarting cyberattacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure, election systems, electronic health records, financial transactions or other digitized operations that hackers are targeting. With such technological sophistication, it’s unsurprising that a year and a half later, Trump decided to eliminate the White House’s top cyberpolicy role.
Trump has said many times that he never uses email, but he’s far from alone: Lots of lawmakers — including Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and even Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) — have more or less proclaimed the same, with pride. With digital dinosaurdom seen as a badge of honor, it’s no wonder that congressional hearings ostensibly about Facebook’s dodgy data practices devolved into clumsy, confused — and bipartisan — queries about: video bloggers Diamond and Silk; the difference between a social media platform and an Internet service provider; how Facebook can possibly make money if it’s free to users; and how to get rid of ads for chocolate.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some politicians out there who seem to know their way around the information superhighway. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who represents part of Silicon Valley but has called for stronger privacy rights, is among them. Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), as Senate Intelligence Committee chair and vice chair, respectively, have shown an inclination to ask tougher questions of tech companies on Russian interference.
But the problems infecting the tech sector go well beyond those limited areas, alas. And, generally speaking, our policymakers are ill prepared to protect the public from those who wish us harm — or even from companies willing to profit off that harm.

'Factfulness' and 'Educated' among the titles on Obama's summer reading list

Did former President Barack Obama just throw a little shade with his summer reading list? 
As President Donald Trump's personal attorney argues that "truth isn't truth" and that facts are "in the eye of the beholder," Obama said in a Facebook post that among the titles he picked up this summer were "Factfulness" by Hans Rosling and "Educated" by Tara Westover. 
"One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon," Obama said. "This summer I've been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth." 
The 44th president described "Factfulness" as "an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." 
He called "Educated" is a "remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind." 
Among the other titles Obama said he was reading this summer were "Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje, about a family in the aftermath of World War II, and "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones, about the wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple. He also reread "A House for Mr Biswas" after Nobel-Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul died earlier this month
Trump has not shared a reading list, but he has recommended several titles on Twitter, including "Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy" by Jeanine Pirro, "The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump" by Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett, "The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President" by Sean Spicer, "Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump" by Dan Bongino and D.C. McAllister and "The Case Against Impeaching Trump," by Alan Dershowitz. 

#Afghanistan - Worst drought in decades grips two-thirds of Afghanistan

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Afghan Music Video - Aryana Sayeed - Yaar-e Bamyani

#Afghan Music Video - Sameera Nasiry - "Rokhsar e Ziba"

CPEC Chimera: Pakistan, China’s Hip Pocket? – Analysis

By Dr. Bawa Singh

The significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, has been visualized in terms of the socio-economic development not only of Pakistan rather for the entire region as well.
Primarily, it is conceived as the developmental project focusing on regional connectivity though the highways, railways, pipelines etc. to sort out the energy deficiency and lack of infrastructure of Pakistan and for China, the materialization of its ambitious project of regional connectivity. The enhancement of trade & commerce, peace & development, human resource development, livelihood opportunities along with the ensuring stability and security of the region, are the main focus of the CPEC. Thus, it has been taken as game and fate changers, which could transform Pakistan into a developed economy. The irony is that CPEC is entrapping Pakistan into financial crisis and making it China’s hip-pocket.

CPEC and Pakistan Economy’s Promising Future?

The political and military leadership of Pakistan are holding views that the CPEC would bring the promising future for its economy. The CPEC is the brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping as a part of ambitious project under the umbrella of regional connectivity design -the One Belt, One Road (OBOR). The project has been reciprocated very positively by the Pakistan’s ruling civilian and military leadership in speculation of sea of opportunities in terms of economic, security and political offered by the CPEC.
The project is networks of port, pipelines, highways, railways etc. Eventually, it would be helpful in increasing trade and fulfilling energy demand by connecting the Chinese city of Kashgar to the Indian Ocean through the Pakistani port of Gwadar. Corollary, it is anticipated that the proposed project would give a push to the development of infrastructures and growth of economy with the help of FDI ($46 billion) committed on part of China. Now, the same has reached to the value of $ 62 billion.
The Pakistani politicians particularly from the ruling party including media have been calling the CPEC investments as “game and fate changer” for the region. Moody’s Investors Service has called this project as a “credit positive” for Pakistan. While speaking on the 140th birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Peshawar) Pakistani President Mamnoon has projected CPEC as a lifeline for the Pakistan economy. At the same time, he warned the people of Pakistan are to be aware of the internal and external propaganda against the multibillion-dollars project CPEC.
The scholars like Ahmad and Mi (2017) have argued that this project would bring the real economic prosperity for Pakistan. They were also of the conviction that rather it would facilitate in creating a promising future not only for the Pakistan, rather for the entire region as well. In All Parties Meeting (APM) convened (201 May 2015) by the PM had supported the CPEC and the commitment on part of Chinese leadership was taken as a welcome step. The CPEC will improve Pakistan’s current economy as well as the lives of nearly three billion people cutting across the boundaries.
Riaz Ahmad (2018) in his opinion, “CPEC & its Importance”, has dreamt of Pakistani economy that it is likely to emerge as one of the best Asian economies. The World Bank has also predicted that Pakistan’s economic growth will grow at the 5.4% given the increased inflow of foreign investment from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The project has been envisioned as the corridor of development, peace, and prosperity. The project has a lot of potentials to provide a promising future by boosting trade and investment, three to four-time profit out of investment, the creation of new business and job opportunities and elimination of poverty. It has positive impacts on infrastructure, the energy requirements, workforce development and economic progress.

CPEC: Variegated Dilemma

CPEC has received a mixed response- positive and negative. Politically too, this project has taken as both positive and negative. While addressing (August 4, 2016) the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Parliamentary Meeting in Islamabad, PM Sharif called the CPEC a major gift from China. The importance of CPEC for Pakistan could be highlighted by PM Nawaz Sharif’s statement, which believed that the project is going to make Pakistan as, “a regional manufacturing hub and a lucrative market for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”
From the negative side, the CPEC has not going well with the Pakistani businessmen. This can be substantiated by an argument of a businessman (head of a large investment company), who is highly criticalof the project, “We have to be careful if we don’t want this [CPEC] to turn into a repeat of the East India Company”. The same views have been echoed by Senator Tahir Mashahdi (Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development) who said, “Another East India Company is in the offing; … but the interests of the state should come first.” One another senator Saeedul Hassan also alleged that, “… will this [project] be a national development or a national calamity? Whatever loans taken from China will have to be paid by the poor people of Pakistan.”
The CPEC has become a bone of contention and controversy among the Federal, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan governments. However, these allegations and apprehensions were encountered by the Pakistani Planning Ministry spokesman as baseless and unfair fears.
The major cause of concerns and controversies are due to transparency lack in terms of terms, conditions, and financial details related to CPEC. The State Bank of Pakistan Governor, in an interview with Reuters has said that, “I don’t know out of the $46 billion [in CPEC deals] how much is debt, how much is in equity, and how much is in kind. CPEC needs to be more transparent.” In the backdrop of exponentially increasing Chinese FDI, the IMF Chief Christine Lagarde has also cautioned Pakistan about the potentially unfavorable economic fallout.

Chinese Loan: Pakistan-A Hip Pocket

About $50 billion has been committed on part of China to complete the CPEC project by 2030. About $35 bn for energy projects and $15 bn for mass transit schemes, Gwadar development, industrial zones, and infrastructure. Although the energy projects are planned to be competed by 2020 but seems that the same is not going to be competed before 2023 given the bureaucratic hurdles. On the other hand, the infrastructure projects ($10 bn) like highways, roads, airport and port development are anticipated to be concluded by 2025, while the remaining projects ($ 5bn) by 2025-30.
Pakistan debt has been increased many folds and it is anticipated that it would reach to US$ 90 billion in 2019. China has become the largest lender to Pakistan. Out of this debt, about $19 bn including $ 14 bn ( about 1/5 of its total debt) is owed only to China. This inflating amount of debt is seriously abating the Pakistan’s ability to pay the same. Moreover, it is anticipated that the debt would be reaching to the 70 percent of the total size of the GDP during the ongoing fiscal year despite setting the limit of the same at 60 percent of the GDP by the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act, (FRDLA) 2005.
It becomes important to know the health of the Pakistan economy. Some of the commentaries have argued that the health of Pakistan economy has remained comparatively in a better position under the military rule rather than under the civilian political setup.  Can the Pakistan watchers may anticipate the health of economy likely to become bad to worse under the stewardship of PM Imran Khan? Generally, it is presumed that the public debt may be the result of the bad governance and there is probability of so in Pakistan given the formation of coalition government as experienced in a number of countries. The external debt had already reached to 70% of the total GDP.
The new government under the stewardship of Imran is going to inherit faltering economy, huge trade deficit, massive foreign debit, currency crisis, low forex, plunging stock market and the balance of payment. Pakistan has also been plagued by the widespread corruption, lack of law enforcement and lack of education, health, water, electricity facilities etc. Fissiparous tendencies have become one of the major security challenges.
The health of the economy is at the lowest ebb. The growth rate has been remain averaged at 4.91 percent between 1952 to 2016. It was reached at the highest and lowest rate (10.22 and 1.80 percent), in 1954 and 1952 respectively. It is facing a high rate of fiscal and current-account deficits, inflation, and poor performance of macroeconomic indicators. The external debt along with liabilities has reached the highest rate of the GDP. Shahid K. K. (2018, July 15) has argued long with other major economies, Pakistan has also been suffering from the same, which is currently standing at 70.7 %.
Chief Executive Officer (Zubair Ghulam Hussain) of the Insight Securities Pvt. (Karachi) has remarked over the currency volatility, “The nation’s current-account deficit had become sizable and foreign debt repayment obligations were also rising.” Pakistan’s Central Bank has devalued its currency three times since December 2017, particularly in the backdrop of worsening and faltering economy. In the background of failures in terms of foreign, defense and economic policies, Rehman Malik has remarked that the Pakistan economy is on the ventilator. In this context, how Pakistan would be able to pay its loan to China when its economy and forex are not suffice to meet its two months imports?

Options to Bailout From Crisis?

In this scenario, what are the options left for Pakistan and what it should learn from the Sri Lankan experience in respect of the developmental project undertaken by China. Sri Lanka had taken billions of dollars in loans from China for developmental projects (Hambantota-port and airport) without bothering the unpropitious economic fallouts. Ultimately, failing to pay the loan, Sri Lanka had to handover Hambantota and airport to China for 99 years.
Along with the faltering economy, the external dynamics are also not in favor of Pakistan. The relations with the US are at the lowest ebb. The US military and economic assistance to Pakistan have partly been suspended. Moreover, it has been put in the grey list due to money laundering and financing terrorism by the international watchdog FATF. It would likely to create several financial challenges in terms of borrowing loans for Pakistan.
Given the off-keel relations with the US, the IMF option is becoming little unrealizable. In this situation, only China and Saudi Arabia are left viable options to bailout Pakistan from this critical time? In the situation of “Only China Option”, would Pakistan be able to protect per se in turning it into “East India Company” as alleged by some people and politician of the country. There is no hope on part the US and even cautioned the IMF to give loan to Pakistan to pay off the Chinese lenders.
How to come out of this quagmire, is a major challenge for Pakistan?
The new government has to puts its own economic system in order, with sound and pragmatic economic policies. It needs to make its own economy strong by putting pragmatic policies in place along with austerity by following the principle of cutting its sheet according to cloth. More and more loan from China likely to make Pakistan, the former’s hip pocket. When out of CPEC, the promising future was anticipated for Pakistan economy, then why every facet of its economy is moving in opposite direction? The new Pakistani government is needs to take into account all the apprehensions and suggestions given by the country’s intelligentsia, scholars and enlightened citizens.

#Pakistan - بھارتی جج نے عمران کو ’خانِ بےخبر‘ کیوں کہا؟


I was wondering which historical figure one can compare Imran Khan with, and after a great deal of thinking the closest I could come to was the Bourbon French King Louis 16th whose fate we all know.
Imran Khan is facing the same problem which Louis 16th faced : a massive national debt. As reported in Express Tribune, Pakistan's debt is Rs 30 trillion, or 87% of the total size of the economy, and about Rs 3 trillion goes annually in debt servicing. Like Louis 16th, the only recourse for Imran will be borrowing ( from the IMF ), but as Louis 16th realised, that is only postponing the evil day, for borrowing only increases the debt. Moreover, the Americans have already said that they will oppose IMF loan to Pakistan if it is used to service the Chinese debt.
In his first Address to the Nation, Imran Khan has announced plans for healthcare, education, nutrition to children etc but where will the money for all this come from ? The biggest chunk of Pakistan's revenue goes to debt servicing, and Imran will soon find that the creditors are Shylocks who will take their pound of flesh. As regards the trillion rupee defence budget, Imran dare not curtail it. Nawaz Sharif's fate is a glaring example of what will be the consequences. To talk of austerity measures is fine, but to implement them is altogether another cup of tea, as Imran will soon find out.
So then what will poor Imran do ?
He will launch prosecutions of politicians and businessmen on corruption charges, as he had promised. But since practically all politicians, businessmen and army generals ( serving and retired ) in Pakistan are corrupt, he will have to be selective. He dare not prosecute the generals, for that will be the surest road to suicide. He will not go after his own corrupt MPs who were dubious 'electables', for he will need their votes in Parliament. But he has to go after others to prove his bona fides.
Apart from that, he can only do stunts, which will not even create a dent on the massive poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, healthcare etc in Pakistan.
And in the meantime the debt will keep rising.
Like King Canute he will tell the waves to go away, but they won't. Then a time will surely come when the situation will get out of control, and another Operation Fair Play will occur.
That is why I have given Imran Khan the title 'Khan-e-Bekhabar' ( paraphrasing historian Khafi Khan's title 'Shah-e-Bekhabar' to Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, Aurangzeb's son ) because he does not know his fate.

بھارتی سپریم کورٹ کے سابق جج مرکنڈے کاٹجو نے پاکستان کے نو منتخب وزیر اعظم عمران خان کے لیے پیغام جاری کیا ہےجس کا عنوان ’خان بے خبر‘ ہے۔
مرکنڈے کاٹجو نے سماجی رابطے کی ویب سائٹ فیس بک پر ’خان بے خبر‘ کے عنوان سے پاکستان کے 22 ویں وزیر اعظم عمران خان کے لیے ایک پیغام جاری کرتے ہوئے لکھا ہے کہ ’میں سوچ رہا تھا کہ کون سے تاریخی شخص سےمیں عمران خان کا موازنہ کر سکتا ہوں، اورکافی دیر سوچنے کے بعد ’بوربن فرانسیسی بادشاہ لوئس 16 ‘ کا نام میرے ذہن میں آیا، جس کی قسمت ہم سب جانتے ہیں۔ 

انہوں نے لکھا کہ ’عمران خان اسی مسئلے کا سامنا کر رہے ہیں جس کا سامنا لوئس 16 کرچکے ہیں اور وہ ’بڑا قومی قرضہ‘ ہے۔ ایک رپورٹ کے مطابق اس وقت پاکستان تقریبا 30 کھرب روپوں کا مقروض ہےجو کہ پاکستانی معیشت کا 87 فیصد ہے۔ عمران خان کے پاس صرف ایک ہی ذریعہ ہےکہ وہ ’آئی ایم ایف‘ سے رقم لےکر کام کرےجیسا لوئس 16نے کرنا چاہا تھا مگر انہیں جلد اس بات کا احساس ہوگیا تھا کہ ایسا کرنے سے محض قوم کا قرضہ بڑھے گا۔
امریکا پہلے ہی کہہ چکا ہے کہ اگر پاکستان چین کا قرضہ واپس کرنے کے لیے آئی ایم ایف سے پیسے لے گا تو ہم اس کی مخالفت کریںگے۔
عمران خان نے وزیر اعظم کا حلف اٹھانے کے بعد عوام سے پہلے خطاب میں ہیلتھ کیئر، تعلیم، بچوں کے لیے غذا اور دیگر منصوبوں کا اعلان کیا ہےلیکن اس کے لیے پیسہ کہاں سے آئے گا کیونکہ پاکستان کی آمدنی کا بڑا حصہ قرضوں کے واپس کرنے میں نکل جاتا ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ پاکستان کے سابق وزیر اعظم نواز شریف واضح مثا ل ہیں اور اس کے نتائج بھی سب جانتے ہیں۔
کاٹجو نے لکھا کہ سادگی کے اقدامات کے بارے میں بات کرنا توآسان ہے لیکن اس پر عمل درآمد کرنا کیسا ہے یہ عمران کو جلد معلوم ہوجائے گا، تو پھر بیچارا عمران کیا کرے گا؟

عمران خان نے ان تمام سیاستدانوں اور تاجروں کا احتساب کرنے کا وعدہ کیا ہے جن پر کرپشن کے الزامات ہیں مگر عملی طور پروہ ایسا نہیں کریں گے بلکہ ا ن میں سے کچھ کا انتخاب کریں گےپھر ان پر مقدمہ چلے گا اور ا ن میں سےکچھ خودکشی بھی کرسکتے ہیں۔ لیکن وہ کبھی بھی اپنے کرپٹ ارکان پارلیمنٹ کی جانب ہاتھ نہیں بڑھائیں گے کیونکہ عمران خان کو پارلیمنٹ میں ان کے ووٹوں کی ضرورت ہوگی۔
اس کے علاوہ وہ صرف بڑی بڑی باتیں کرسکتے ہیں جبکہ پاکستان سے بڑے پیمانے پر غربت،بےروزگاری، غذائیت، صحت کی دیکھ بھال جیسے مسئلوں پرذرہ برابر بھی کمی نہیں آئے گی۔ اور قرضہ مزید بڑھتا رہے گا۔
مرکنڈے کاٹجو نے مزید لکھا کہ بادشاہ ’Canute‘ کی طرح عمران لہروں کو دور جانے کے لیے کہیں گے لیکن وہ دورنہیں جائیں گی اور پھر وہ وقت آجائے گا جب حالات بے قابو ہوجائیں گے اورایک مربتہ پھر آپریشن ’فیئر پلے‘دیکھنے میں آئے گا۔

آخر میں مرکنڈے کاٹجو نے بتایا کہ انہوں نے عمران خان کو ’خان بےخبر‘ اس لیے کہا کیونکہ تاریخ میں ملتا ہے کہ خافی خان کو ’شاہ بے خبر ‘کہا جاتا تھا جو کہ بہادر شاہ ظفر کے بیٹے تھے اور چونکہ وہ اپنی قسمت کے بارے میں نہیں جانتے تھے اس لیے انہیں یہ لقب دیا گیا۔