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Friday June 21, 2024

Who cares for the national interest?

By Zafar Alam Sarwar
July 01, 2019

Very often one has witnessed common people in various towns discussing interest and national interest. Unlike leaders they come to terms over a cup of home-grown tea and decide to work together for everybody's benefit.

In matters that are economic, financial or commercial, or in any way connected with trade and industry, the word 'interest' means the extra money that we pay back when we borrow money from someone, that is, we pay interest on a loan. How much 'interest' in billions have we paid to foreign lenders so far and how much we've yet to pay to loan sharks is a big question lurking in the people's mind.

Experts say every newly born Pakistani child carries an 'interest' burden of Rs60/70,000 over his/her head.

Interest also means benefit, for instance, to look after one's interests, or use one's interest with any institution or any person or group of persons in power. A notable example of such an activity has been set by leaders of self-interest over the years. Who suffers socially and economically from such governance? Obviously, the sufferers are the masses who have no voice in what has been branded a coward parliament. Will any of the elected assemblies bounce back like a brawny assembly of people's real representatives to solve the social and economic problems of the common man? If something happens in such a rightly positive direction that will be in what is called national interest.

"What have we gained and what have we lost over the years? And where our doings lead us to? Who will free our motherland from the conspiratorial cobweb woven around it by some foreign countries by way of striking at its socio-economic and defence capabilities?"

These are some of the questions perturbing the suffering masses. Patriotism is not the monopoly of rulers whoever they may be; patriots are found in Lahore also, where the demand for Pakistan was raised at the historic Muslim League mammoth meeting chaired by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

One can say a consensus is developing among the common people that it's the self-interest which has eroded our society. Interaction with the people of a number of cities who travel from one place to another by Pakistan Railways, revealed that 'soch ka rishta' (ideological relationship) is taking shape because the story of the exploitation of the poor masses is the one and the same everywhere. There are hundreds of thousands of educated and half-educated young men and women and children in the Punjab and Federal Capital Territory, who are hungry because of joblessness.

A rickshaw or a taxi-cab driver or a bus conductor, a small shopkeeper or a tea vendor, whoever he may be, blames people's representatives for not doing anything concrete against the food price hike. "All of them are selfish, they remain silent over the common man's social, economic, educational and health problems, their politics revolves round acquisition of position and privilege, money and ministry, fine jobs for their close relatives and free travels abroad," say the people crippled financially by heavy cost of living. "How we can look to the future with robust confidence when we ourselves, our leaders and our representatives relax and fritter away energies in internal dissensions," city elders ask.

— zasarwar@hotmail.com