Daily Archives: April 1, 2008

Pakistan’s public policy: austerity – penny wise, pound foolish

by Feisal Naqvi

In his first speech as prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani introduced a number of austerity measures. So, the budget of Prime Minister House is going to be cut by 40 percent; all ministers will henceforth travel economy plus on domestic flights, rather than business class; and, no minister will travel in a car of more than 1600 cc.

Frankly, my dear, I couldn’t give a damn.

Actually, I do. This pseudo-austerity is not only irritating but counter-productive. And it is high time we got past our neuroses in this regard.

This hypocritical obsession with ostensible cost-cutting is irritating because it serves no useful purpose. In fact, it is harmful because it reinforces the notion that instead of being normal humans, our elected representatives, judges and bureaucrats should all be exemplars of the human race, some mystical combination between Mother Theresa and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Do such people really exist? Yes, they do. Do some of them work for the Government of Pakistan. Yes, they do. The famous Masood Khaddarposh was one. Justice Cornelius was another. And Justice Jawad Khawaja was most certainly a person who could not give a rodent’s backside about the trappings of his office.

OK, but not every person wants to be a Khaddarposh. Some people want to be Armaniposh. And I think they should be. Continue reading

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