Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pakistan with a begging bowl

Pakistan with a begging bowl 

There is no difference of opinion about Pakistan’s failing economy. Indeed, it is the mother of all crises facing the country, including inflation, energy and gas loadshedding, lawlessness, etc. We are neck-deep in debt and losses. Perhaps, the government is even depending on foreign aid to pay the salaries of government officials next month, let alone development and growth in any sector. Unfortunately, it seems as if the political leadership has compromised on the nation’s sovereignty.

But in this most difficult time, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Islamabad truly falls in line with the old adage, “a friend in need, is a friend indeed.” Pakistan and China, reportedly, have signed “35 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs), worth $35 billion, on cooperation in economy, energy, banking, security and technology.” More than that the Chinese Premier has assured that “Beijing would never give up” on Pakistan. Certainly, this is a cool breeze for the people of Pakistan just when they were gasping for fresh air. But it is not enough to cure the myriad ills facing the Islamic state. Pakistan has to stand up on its own feet to attain a place of honour in the comity of nations. There will be no need for our leaders to carry a begging bowl, if we, as a nation, resolve to keep digging straight down until we discover the still virgin and unexplored resources, and eventually emerge as one of the richest nations on earth.

Against this backdrop, Pakistan has the distinction of possessing world’s largest copper and gold reserves, which are hidden in Balochistan and Waziristan; South Africa and Australia being the other two countries with the former having 400 tonnes and the latter 260 tonnes per year yield of gold. As against this current international gold deposit situation, Pakistan has an estimated capacity of producing 450 tonnes per year for the next 25 to 30 years, only if the projects are undertaken seriously through indigenous control.

The gold-copper deposit in Reko Diq is four times larger than its neighbouring Saindak deposit in Balochistan. Reportedly, according to Dr Samar Mubarakmand, a renowned nuclear scientist and member of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, only a part of it is worth $270 billion. While talking to the media, he said: “You can keep mining gold and it will never end, resulting in a complete turn over of Pakistan’s economy...”

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