A Christmas in Pakistan By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)

Nothing like Pakistan to rev up a Christmas. However, Santa has given it a miss since he is scared that he might be swinging at the end of a rope by the end of the day on blasphemy charges. It is better to leave Pakistanis to their favorite establishment – The Deep State. However lets catch the Christmas mood in Pakistan….

Fahid Hussain in his article All Fall Down says…Despondency. Disappointment. Disillusion. Take your pick of the word to describe the year that is limping its way across the finish line….The year illustrated all that is wrong, weak and inadequate in our politics. The government could not govern, the opposition could not oppose and the establishment could not finish what it started….The year 2021 was especially harsh on the party (PTI). Though the scourge of inflation has dogged it since previous years, it was this year that it really cut deep into household budgets and incinerated what was left of the government’s goodwill…. Perhaps equally damaging was the government’s inability, even after three years in power, to grow beyond blaming the opposition for everything and provide a clear roadmap of governance….The establishment has also gone through various ups and downs and the seminal moment of the year was without doubt that DG ISI appointment issue….The institution did, however, signal fairly emphatically that its internal transfers and postings remained out of bounds for the political leadership. It was a lesson that had to be learnt the hard way by all concerned…The next season, starting in a week, will grapple with the biggest question: is there a change in the offing or will the government overcome yet another challenge?… Here’s hoping that 2022 will bring Pakistan much-needed stability and clear the way for us to become a normal country. Normal Country?….interesting…we have been hoping for the past 70 years that Pakistan becomes a normal country…what difference does 2022 make…ask Santa…

Pervez Hoodbhoy in his article Pitfalls of Ideology  says…Recep Erdogan, president of Turkey, says his faith in Islam stops him from raising bank interest rates. His hard-line position sent the lira tumbling from one low to another; in the past three months it has lost half its value…Turks are still saddled with an inflation rate so high that supermarket employees are barely able to keep up with changing labels…in Erdogan’s Turkey, state and religion have been joined together; ideology has trumped pragmatism…Pakistan’s misfortune is to have the soul brother of Erdogan in power today…our schools are producing hordes of ignorant, bigoted, hyper-religious Sialkot-type lynchers who are totally skill-deficient. This will get far worse when the ideologically motivated Single National Curriculum (SNC), the brainchild of PM Imran Khan — becomes fully operational…The SNC conjoins regular schools with madressahs. Across the country, regular schools are being dragged down and turned into seminaries…On a global level, Pakistani children presently stand at the bottom of achievement levels. Inferior to their counterparts in Iran, India and Bangladesh, they are almost always absent from competitions like the international science and mathematics Olympiads. When they do compete, they perform poorly…Pakistan has reached a dead end. CPEC’s billions failed to ignite industrial, engineering, scientific, or business activity. The country has no space programme, no biotech labs turning out new products, and no significant indigenous hi-tech industry in any domain. Last year, Pakistan’s software exports — a measure of brain power — stood at barely $2 billion (India’s were $148bn)… Pakistani professors churn out thousands of so-called research papers every year but these are mostly worthless. Today, the Pakistan Academy of Science is stuffed with persons having fake credentials…Buoyed up by Pakistan’s victory in Afghanistan, on many occasions PM Khan — who greatly admires Erdogan and bin Laden — has gleefully lauded the Taliban as a liberating force. He has lauded the Pakistani madrassahs that produced the Taliban and showered funds upon them. Now he wants our regular schools to emulate Taliban-style education — hence SNC. By official notification dated Dec 21, co-education in Punjab’s schools will be phased out….Bhaiyya, jab Erdogan aur Imran raazi toh Bajwa jyon bane Kaazi? He will continue to head the biggest PSU in Pakistan called the Pakistan Army and be happy to run his businesses. His Christmas is merry with bags full of money for him and his merry band of Corps Commanders. Where does it leave Pakistan and Santa? Poles apart. Santa has just gone back to North Pole singing Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to avoid Pakistan all the way…the future of Pakistan looks secure and in my opinion it will be cross of Turkey and Afghanistan…need I say more?  

Ali Taqeer Shaikh writes in his article Clean and Cheap Energy….Unless Pakistan redirects its energy investments, the energy crisis, circular debt and urban pollution will keep worsening…Pakistan’s energy policy has gone in the opposite direction of global trends… at a time when solar power had become the cheapest electricity in history — cheaper than coal and gas in most major countries…Forty-five countries have already committed to no new coal power plants. Pakistan announced it would shelve two coal plants producing only 2,600MW whereas, at the same time, Bangladesh declared the cancellation of 10 such planned plants of 8,711MW. Pakistan’s announcements lacked both courage and homework… the country has backtracked from the commitment made by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Climate Action Summit in December 2020, where he had declared: “We will not have any more power based on coal.” It has since been changed to no more ‘imported’ coal…Pakistan has not yet consigned coal to history….It is against this background that coal imports have been growing at an annual rate of 19.26pc. While the coal power plants were justified on the basis of low-grade Thar coal, in reality, the energy wheel is run by importing high-grade South African coal. In addition to the use for energy, coal is also imported for our fast-expanding cement industry, now propelled to fuel the housing construction to turn around the economic growth rate….Long back I had written an article titled Coal Firing ‘CPEC’: Colonisation Of Pakistan & Enrichment Of China. I had then stated that if  the romance with coal through CPEC projects continues ‘In one stroke Pakistan will be converted from being a country with one of the lowest per capita carbon emission to one of the highest pollutants per capita’. Pakistan has done one better…apart from pollution it has also taken on a humungous debt burden…No wonder Santa is giving Pakistan a miss…his reindeer is not accustomed to pollution you see…



Ishrat Hussain writes The Bangladesh Story… Bangladesh is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Once called a “basket case” by Henry Kissinger, it is now considered as a role model. Bangladesh’s national income has multiplied 50 times, per capita income 25 times (higher than India’s and Pakistan’s), and food production four times. Population growth was contained at 2.5 times, raising per capita food availability. Exports have grown 100 times and poverty is down to 20 per cent from 60pc in 1990. Life expectancy has risen to 72. Most social indicators are better compared to regional countries except Sri Lanka. The value of the Human Development Index increased 60pc…Pakistan’s per capita income in 1990 was twice as much as Bangladesh’s but has fallen today to only seven-tenth. Between 2011 and 2019, before Covid struck, Bangladesh’s average GDP growth ranged between 7pc and 8pc — almost twice as fast as Pakistan’s…Very clearly, Santa has gone to Bangladesh…but then…Santa always goes to those places and people who are balanced and hardworking…Hai Na?    


Stephanie Von Friedeburg treads where angels fear to tread and writes about Pakistan’s Potential …  Pakistan has enormous potential. Its size­able under-30 population can unleash a ma­­jor demographic dividend. The country’s location at the crossroads of Asia makes it a logical fit to be a regional economic leader. Pakistan’s private sector is eager and well-pla­ced to flourish in the large domestic market…But there is a flipside. Demographics don’t yield dividends if there are no jobs for young people. A desirable location is of little value if the infrastructure and capacity isn’t there to capitalise on it. A willing private sector is undermined if captured by elites and hindered by onerous regulations and taxes…Adding to these pitfalls are the ever-growing threat of climate change and minimal physical capacity to bring energy into homes and businesses…The government’s means to financially navigate these issues is limited. Seventy-two per cent of the federal budget goes to only three things: pensions, debt servicing and defence spending…all that she has said is right…but she has missed the elephant in the room…radicalisation of the masses and the bigotry of blasphemy which is sweeping through Pakistan…after all that is what that has made Santa take a wide detour away from Pakistan.


The Christmas mood in Pakistan is as it was the previous Christmas and the ones before that with a slight change…in earlier times Pakistan was defined by three A’s…Army , Amrika and Allah…in those days Santa used to visit Pakistan occasionally…till Zia drove him away permanently…now a days, Pakistan is being defined by three C’s…China, Chanda and C@#$%^&(whatever it is)…so Santa has started singing once again…



Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to ride away from Pakistan
In a one-horse open sleigh..

Merry Christmas..

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3 responses to “A Christmas in Pakistan By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)”

  1. Excellent coverage of Pakistan's future

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. An excellent article that covers the Canvas called Pakistan from various angles.Soaked in misery and showcasing it to make it a source of income is something that intrigues normal people but Pakistanis. But anybody even barely normal can call Pakistan normal.Everything abnormal and subnormal is normally around and considered the norm.But scrach just a little. You stand to discover even with blind eyes that behind the misery stands the tragedy of mixing politics religion and economic inequity. It's a deadly mix. Try it in any proportions but the end is all same.

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