Ali Amin Gandapur and the PTI fool’s paradise

Published: November 23, 2019

Pakistan is fast transforming into a utopia, in the eyes of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) politicians anyway. The mental gymnastics members of the incumbent government continue to employ in order to delude themselves into believing that every sector in Pakistan has only been rocketing skywards under their watch is so commonplace now that it almost no longer comes across as a cause for concern. Almost. But the public is not naïve enough to buy into this narrative. It is no secret that the Pakistani masses have been burdened with rising prices any many amenities and staple foods are increasingly becoming out of reach for the common man. Yet PTI members continue to insist that the crumbling economy is no cause for concern.  Previously their apathy was demonstrated through their sheer obliviousness, but now it is evident that their inability to rectify the rapidly deteriorating economic condition stems from their own half-baked understanding of the economic frameworks which drive the nation. As a result, the latest entrant into PTI’s rapidly growing Hall of Shame is none other than Federal Minister Ali Amin Gandapur. Gandapur, while speaking to the media, had the following to say about the inflation which has gripped the country:

“10 crore people in Pakistan are farmers. If prices do not rise, that inflation is also impacting them, the price of oil is increasing, the price of diesel is increasing…As prices increase, those who are benefitting from it are also our brothers. As you know, the prices of potatoes recently fell, which negatively impacted potato farmers, potaotoes were sold for Rs5 per kilo last year…If someone is benefitting from rising prices then it is our farmers, they are the ones growing the tomatoes.”

Of course, this leap in logic comes after Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the prime minister’s financial adviser, said last week that tomatoes can be purchased for Rs17 per kilo in Pakistan. The truth of the mater is that when PTI itself is doing such a terrific job of showcasing its own inadequacy, there really is no need for one to harp on for too long about their incompetence since it is blindingly obvious. The prices of commodities have been rising for everyone in the country, with tomato prices reportedly touching Rs400 per kilo a few days ago, resulting in a reduced purchasing power. This is “benefitting” no one. Yet the government continues to exist in a perpetual state of denial with regards to just how concerning Pakistan’s economic situation has become. Furthermore, it seems that Gandapur is unaware of the fact that tonnes of tomatoes had to be imported from Iran, with more on the way, in order to meet the demand and drive down prices. If anything, it’s the Iranian farmers who are benfitting from the economic quagmire Pakistan currently finds itself in.

Earlier in the week, Imran Khan mocked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for stating that more rain leads to more water. One wonders if the premier will now call out his minister for trying to convince the masses that inflation is actually beneficial. However, Gandapur is no stranger to controversy. During an earlier interview, he stated that in the event of a Pakistan-India war, Pakistan should use missiles against all those nations who choose to side with India. It is almost as if these individuals forget that they hold public office, are representatives of the people, their words have consequences, and that they should thus hold themselves to a higher standard.

It seems that PTI members relish being ridiculed for their sheer inability to grasp basic concepts. Worryingly, these individuals are incompetent, uniformed and unconcerned, a combination which could prove to be deadly for a country which is already suffering due to the inefficiencies of the current government. Imran and his party have now been at the helm of affairs for well over a year, hence the oft repeated excuse that it is still early days and they are just finding their footing will no longer fly. The members of the party are making it increasingly apparent that there is a deeper problem at the heart of this daily dose of mindlessness.

Those in power are unaware of the battles which the people of Pakistan are fighting on a day to day basis and there is an obvious disconnect. When Imran talks about uplifting the poor he has to realise that their progression is dependent entirely on the condition of the economy. It is imperative that PTI members engage in some much needed self-analysis and come to terms with their shortcomings instead of trying to present their own versions of economics. Furthermore, it has been reported that Pakistan’s total debt has risen by 35% ever since PTI came to power. Will party members now tell us that rising debt is beneficial too? As the nation continues to choke at the hands of rising prices and debt, one fears that the party captaining the ship could ultimately prove to be the biggest threat to the well-being of the nation.

Farah Khwaja

Farah Khwaja

The writer has completed her masters in political science and is currently working with a New-York based think-tank.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.