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Friends of Pakistan gathered in New York on 26 September 2008 to discuss how financially to help Pakistan. This meeting was called by the US. It is a well known fact that nothing remotest is ever free except for destruction from USA without a visible or invisible cost. The well known columnist Rauf Klasra two months back in his column revealed how (I do not remember the big figure) millions dollars were deducted by US towards earlier free provided wheat under PL-480 including shipping costs when Pakistan demanded refund for non delivered F-16s. Earlier it has deducted hanger warehousing charges for these non delivered F-16s. Loans, grants and aid from West are never free from strings attached. For example it is now a well established fact that by providing us low cost or on deferred payment oil how the Saudis are playing (interfering) in our national matters on behest of a super power.

2. We had earlier been taking loans, grants and aid but did these ever really helped improve the country? Our begging bowel is always empty. Till a few months back we were proud we had 18 billion foreign exchange never had earlier. Where is that today. Last week the national press disclosed Pakistan had 45 billion debit. For what purpose it was obtained and how much it helped on those matters for which this debit was taken. No body will of course ever tell us. In a short span of six months all 18 billion spent, having gone into thin air or actually we never had that. Today 30 September Asian Development Bank has signed a loan agreement in Islamabad. How long will it run keeping in view our ever loose pocket chains – a recent column quoted that H.E Mr. Zardari as usual going to Saudi Arabia with 80 free loaders, caretaker prime minister Somooro going to Saudia with full load of plane, Ms. Sherry Rehman hosting a high luxurious dinner at Shakarparian hills on expense of this debit ridden country? Privatization Commission is also grinding its axe to sell out national assets to fetch fresh cash for our every hungry ever empty pockets. Where is the cash obtained during the last 15 years by selling national assets. Has it ever filled the ever lasting hunger of our pockets. To what extent will this forthcoming privatization meet our hunger this time. It is evident this time speed of axing national assets will be much accelerated. Soon a day will come when the nation would had sold all its national assets, choudhries, Shoukats, Haqs, Lugharis, all flown to their safe heaven and only we the walking machines left here with the so called foreign investors actually our owners and employers.

3. Last year the Government floated US$ 500 million Euro Bonds planning to float Islamic bonds of same value. Some Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) from US remarked that obviously all this involved huge commission paid in foreign exchange to western Banks for publicity and sale followed by hefty interest to foreigners on maturity. They questioned why not to make amendment in the Protection of Economic Reforms Act so that Overseas Pakistanis and local Pakistanis who have shifted their foreign exchange abroad may bring it back to the country. Answer to it was very easy. By floating the same Bonds to OPs vested interests would had been deprived of luxurious foreign tours undertaken for negotiations and making arrangement with foreign Banks, commissions and this and that. Secondly it would, tough to a little extent, had delayed the process of enmity towards Pakistan viz that in case these Bonds are given exclusively to OPs the money would mostly remain in Pakistan and would not flow out (repatriated) thus failure of the plan to bring the country back to the to restart getting fresh loans from IMF etc. Three years back US Ambassador in Pakistan stated that Pakistanis abroad had more than 10 arab dollars. The information of a US Ambassador can never be incorrect. Hence there should not be any doubt on this figure which by now must have increased – which excludes exodus of money from Pakistan in recent two years. The then Overseas Pakistanis Minister Tariq Azeem in December 2004 during his Middle East tour addressing the Pakistani community told that first time in Pakistan history the country then recently declined to accept remaining installments of foreign loans since our own economy had improved As is usual the Minister was telling day light lies as when he was saying this in Saudi Arabia very next morning a news item appeared that Pakistan had signed an agreement for a 400 Million loan from China for agriculture purposes. This minister in his address stated that Pakistan gets loans form these foreign sharks on humiliating and tough terms.

4. Commenting on the outcome of Friends of Pakistan meeting the independent Economist Dr. Shahid Hassan stated that this meeting will not bring any practically substantial effects on Pakistani economy as according to him such meetings are a routine. He suggested that only solution to the present day acute problem was that instead of keep increasing foreign debit on tough conditions, the Government approaches the Overseas Pakistanis and offering them better returns gets their savings lying abroad. Another Economist Dr. Shahid Zaraat commented that US was never ever friend of Pakistan. She stated these so called Friends gathered on ”advice” from US but US never would like Pakistan ever to get financially stabilized. She viewed that through this meeting a little amount will be given to Pakistan and for the more then Pakistan would be “involved” with IMF so that clutches on Pakistan could be remain gripped. It is a well known fact that today wars are no won through military might which is too costly a process rather the aim can be achieved by making the concerned nation hostage through finance.

5. No one is and never would be till there is real and true democracy in the country interested in opting to seek these loans in shape of banking deposits from Pakistanis for the Pakistan by just giving Overseas Pakistanis say a 5% extra than present National Savings rates with condition of non repatriation. No one will do this because this way money will remain in Pakistan and will really truly help Pakistan economically to a good extent and which is against the wishes of vested interest.

6. I remember sometime early 90s a SBP delegation came to Dubai in search of obtaining loan from some new money lenders as that time international financial institutions were probably due to some political reasons were not entertaining. This delegation according to press faced some difficulty achieving loan there. Some Pakistanis collectively approached this team that instead of taking loan from these professional bodies on high interest and with conditions, same be taken from Pakistanis in Dubai even with 3-4 percent less interest than from these multinationals. The delegation refused. If the government takes loan from the world bank or IMF say at 20% with tough conditions and “compulsory dictation”, I have never been able to understand why it does not take same money from Pakistanis in shape of deposits for their “saving Accounts in Pakistan” by offering just a 5% extra profit than the normal rate eg if National Savings rate is 10% it gives to Ops 15% or if from. International loans one day are to be repatriated back with interest whereas from OPs these need not be. During the last 17 years I have vigorously approached each PM of the time, President, Ops Minister, Finance Minister etc suggesting that with wise steps this extra 5% can be applied without even a single rupee burden on the national exchequer. I proposed that this 5% extra be taken half (Rs. 2.50) from the Overseas Pakistanis contributory fund lying idle with Overseas Pakistanis Foundation and other half (Rs. 2.50) from the huge Community Welfare Fund lying idle with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to which two funds every Pakistani abroad contributes and there in not a single Rupee from the Government. These two funds have huge colossal reserves figure of which is for some obvious interests is never disclosed. This 5% extra will in fact be from the pockets of OPs account holders themselves. This extra 5% would allure billions kept abroad in Banks. A fortnight back I read a letter to editor in a middle east newspaper from a Pakistani. He stated after 40 years service there he was going back to Pakistan on retirement but wished to leave all his savings in his Bank account there. He enquired from the readers advice if he can keep his account there while leaving for Pakistan. This is a specimen but point to ponder example. It is an open secret today that huge money is going out of Pakistan. This 5% extra just like Ayub Khan’s bonus voucher scheme will fetch huge colossal sayings of overseas Pakistanis which the foreign banks are enjoying at the moment.