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Governance is an alien concept to the Pakistan People’s Party

By Mehroz Siraj - posted Monday, 31 January 2011

Scandals, instability, political assassinations, targeted killings, socio-economic mismanagement and corruption have been the outcomes in Pakistan since the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) assumed power in February 2008.

This government must be held to account for failing to fulfill its election promises after the assassination of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP), Benazir Bhutto. On its watch, terrorism and politically-motivated violence have worsened, economic growth has stagnated, inflation is skyrocketing, industries are closing down and unemployment is growing.

Officially, Pakistan’s inflation is 15 to 20 per cent per quarter. Ordinary Pakistanis would say that they are simply false.


The rising cost of food and fuel has caused a general decrease in consumer spending. for example, in Karachi, the country’s largest city and commercial hub, the price of bread has increased by more than 85 per cent in the last three years, petrol by at least 35 per cent and liquefied natural gas by nearly 57 per cent.

The basic necessities of life are getting out of the reach of ordinary Pakistanis - who are also facing massive electricity breakdowns and gas load-shedding.

Business prospects in Pakistan have become gloomy.The News Internationalreported on 16 January 2011, that many small and large businesses have closed down in Karachi owing to both the increased cost of operating and the city’s various mafias which have made doing business difficult in this port city.

In other parts of Pakistan, most notably Faisalabad and Sialkot in the Punjab province, textile and sports goods industries have shut down due to gas and electricity shortages and high utility costs.

The shut-down of industries has led to massive unemployment of the nation’s bread winners - many of whom would have been daily-wage labourers from the country’s poor rural areas, who would be supporting large families and who would have been travelling long distances to work in the cities.

The federal government of the PPP and the provincial governments of the four provinces (in three of them, the PPP is a coalition partner) have done nothing to accommodate these people who have been laid off by the hundreds of thousands.


In the Punjab province, gas and electricity load-shedding is now triggering widespread anti-government protests across the province - but the government has not been able to come up with a coherent plan to import liquefied natural gas to meet the demand. The people there are furious at a government which has been increasing the tariffs for electricity and gas at a time when these two commodities are becoming scarce due to severe load-shedding. The nation’s exports are being hit badly.

Over the last three years, the PPP government has launched certain initiatives which have achieved little. One is the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).The idea was to dole out Rs 1000 (about US$11.62) to each individual from the nation’s lower middle or working class who subscribed to the package.

So, billions of rupees have been directed into hand-outs rather than being used to initiate public-private partnerships in areas such as construction in which many jobs could have been created.

The combination of failed economic policies, rampant corruption in state departments, misallocation of funds, political motivations and the failure to plan and undertake reforms have been the key factors behind the current situation.

This government appears to neither have the capacity nor the willingness to reverse the trend.

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About the Author

Mehroz Siraj is a journalist with more than five years of writing and reporting experience having worked with newspapers in Pakistan, and on many websites around the world. Mehroz is a Pakistani international student at RMIT University.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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