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First Dollar then Dar

Updated: Oct 7, 2018

Translation of Article by Mr. Suhail Warraich published in Urdu Newspaper ‘Daily Jang’ on Oct 03, 2018:

Today's world is apolar. If in this world the economy has to be strengthened then the dollar appreciation will have to be halted and contained. If we strengthen our currency (Rupee) only then we (economy) will go strong and towards improvement; but our priority is Dar not Dollar. It should have been that we first contained the value of dollar and then later chased Ishaq Dar, but we are doing reverse action, catching Dar first and telling him that why did you strengthen the rupee, why did you contain Dollar appreciation? Wow what a dichotomy...! We have the art of turning yesterday's hero in today's villain and a villain to hero, and same certainly can be learnt from us.

Ishaq Dar is not known to me nor have I met him much, even though a journalist, he has never given me an interview. But I am absolutely surprised as to how the colors of life change. There was a time when Mr. Dar's achievements were trumpeted everywhere. When he locked Dollar value to a hundred rupee there were accolades for him everywhere. My favorite Sheikh Rashid also lost to Dar his bet on this issue. The common clamor about him was that he was such a magician of figures who makes possible the most impossible. The unchallengeable fact being that for years he managed to contain the appreciation in value of Dollar.

Principally, one should move on and abandon personal battles; should discuss policies, leave the past and move towards the future. The matter of confiscation of Ishaq Dar’s property is under finalisation. Should this really be our priority? Should the matter of Dar be dealt first and then deal with the dollar or should it happen other way round?

There was a time when volumes were written praising Mr. Dar. Pakistan was being reckoned amongst the top ten developing economies of the world. Pakistan’s ratings by Moody's and Standards and Poor were improving better and better. Electricity was being generated, loans were being procured, and agreements on CPEC were being concluded. During that period of praises and accolades for Mr. Dar, you would hardly find two/four sentences of criticism by some crazy like me, otherwise, it was all one-way traffic (praises) in his favor. These days when this traffic is going against him it is clearly evident that same is grossly unfair. Mr. Dar was neither an angel nor a devil. He is a human who makes mistakes as well as attains accomplishments. In my view Mr. Dar should be seen only as a human.

My innocent question is also that if Dar was so bad then why was he allowed to travel abroad with ease? If the President of the National Bank Saeed Ahmed Chaman has been prevented from going abroad and been placed on the ECL, then who allowed Mr. Dar (to travel) and why? My second question is if Ishaq Dar was so silly and harmful for the national economy then why for four long years the economy remained in his domain. If Dar was so useless then why did the (National) institutions had long meetings with him? Why was it only Dar who got mandated to hold all behind the scene meetings? My humble question is that if Dar was so bad that instead of getting sacked (viz Dawn Leaks) Pervaiz Rashid, Mushahid Ullah Khan and Fatemi (Ministers), Dar should have been got removed so that the country and nation would have benefitted and the economic future of the country could have been secured.

Whether Dar was right or wrong.... atleast he used to take decisions. He never abdicated from taking his responsibility. Dar atleast used to do work, mobilized loans, moved around funds or did whatever was required to be done. He would cut the cake in a manner that all got some share. He would give a large share of the cake to the “Powerful” but he would also save some pieces of the cake for the oppressed and poor people (of Pakistan). There were several powerful who were displeased with him on such distribution. Dar was vehemently opposed to devaluation of currency (Rupee). But in the tenure (last few months) of this government, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail insisted that the currency must be devalued, and this was the time when economic matters started slipping out of control. Demands of powerful were swiftly accepted and the economic cake was devoured and evaporated. Hence from this point onwards was the beginning of the economic meltdown.

Dar's fault was not financials but political. If he had changed his loyalty and left Nawaz Sharif then he would have been still recognised as the best and excellent Minister for Finance and Statistics. Also, he would have been heading the team of Asad Umar. But since he remained loyal his property has been confiscated for auction. Wow what a dichotomy...

Dar was foolish indeed. He remained in the forefront in (resolving) every matter, be it finance, politics, government & military relations or PPP/PML-N matters. Dar was the one who threw cold water on burning flames of Dawn Leaks and Dar was the one who got the tweet withdrawn. Obviously if you would involve yourself so much (in solving every issue) then (be ready) counter attack would be launched. So Mr. Dar suffer now!

In so far as the public debt, dealings with IMF, assistance from Saudi Arabia, China and the United States etc are concerned, I would humbly submit that I like the beggar who would beg all over the world in order to feed the poor of my country. I do not like the beggar who snatches bread from my own poor, levies taxes and gives rise to inflation (cost of living). I have been brought up in the last 70 years on foreign aid. So if I am made to suddenly leave this embedded habit I will fall sick. It is also submitted that poor needs bread and not self-respect. His sense of self-respect will only develop when his stomach gets filled. Self-respect and sovereignty are fringes of rich, the primary issue of poor is bread to which attention should be given as otherwise all the rest are mere stories.

I am not an expert of economics and economic policies but only have some basic knowledge. So I do not know whether Ishaq Dar drowned us or rescued us from the severe crisis. I do not know whether he looted Pakistan or served and contributed to Pakistan? This ambiguity needs to be cleared and milk and water should be separated. Where was corruption done by Dar, what was his wrong decision and which are the scams and why such detail has not been brought out? Until this is done and one sided/unilateral statements and litigation continue, Dar will keep getting defamed but it will be difficult to leave him defamed for too long period.

There was a time when everyone recognised that Dar works eighteen hours a day and then lately it was said that Dar had marriages too; which of the two versions one should believe as there are indeed more stories; who abducted Dar's servant and why? and what statement he was forced to give? History often unveils secrets so those indulged in mischief should remain careful. History will determine as to whether Dar was wrong or right? When it would do so is not known but surely would do...

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