Economic dependence and national interests.


It is hardly a secret that in the prevalent international system, countries are primarily engaged in promoting their national interests in competition with one another. What, however, is not generally recognised is the reality that in the modern world, the capacity of a country to maximise its national interests is determined to a large extent by its economic and technological strength. The less advanced a nation is economically and technologically, the weaker would be its capability to take decisions in its best national interests. More often than not, such a nation will be forced under international pressures to compromise and give in to unfair demands of other countries, whether friends or foes. The predicament of an economically weak nation is aggravated further if it depends upon doles from foreign donors. Pakistan, unfortunately, falls in this category. The fiasco faced by Pakistan and PM Imran Khan regarding the Kuala Lumpur summit is the latest example of what can happen to a country, which depends on foreign largesse for its economic survival.

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, Pakistan's leaders and policymakers, whether civilian or military, have pursued begging bowl diplomacy. Such diplomatic approach thereby aggravated the country's reliance on foreign assistance progressively to survive. Each government blamed its predecessor for Pakistan's worsening economic conditions but failed to take necessary corrective measures to introduce the badly needed economic reforms and overhaul the country's exploitative and retrogressive economic system.

In Pakistan, the elites have discovered ingenious ways to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor. How can one otherwise justify the fat salaries of the country's judges and senior civil and military officers? By way of example, the monthly salary of a Supreme court judge is about 100 times the average monthly income of a Pakistani, which is currently Rs.17000 approximately. Whereas, the salary of a US Supreme court judge is just four times the average income of an American citizen. The contrast would be much starker if one takes into account other perks and privileges to which judges of Pakistan's superior judiciary are entitled. How can one justify the allotment of highly-priced plots of residential, commercial and agricultural land, which are the assets of the people of Pakistan, to senior officers of Pakistan's civil and military bureaucracy at throw-away prices? This in...

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