With regular random bombings being just one of their constantly growing fears, Pakistanis hardly have much reason to be a happier nation in 2011. We haven’t stepped into particularly hopeful terrain this year. The CIA World Fact Book estimates that Pakistan’s net emigration rate is 9% higher in 2011. This gives testimony to the fact that many things are wrong in the country – the most glaring 3 of which are:

Woes of Inflation in 2011

15.5% inflation in December 2010 has been brought down by 2 percentage points in April, but prices of consumer goods keep escalating. Petrol prices have risen by no less than 13% in March alone. The impact of inflation is also reflected in people’s purchasing power which declined by 5% this year according to the CIA World Fact Book.

Worsening Power Cuts in Pakistan

They are long and erratic. Even if Pakistanis decide to turn deaf ears and blind eyes to the long list of troubles enveloping us, the media forces it down our throats via every channel. And the moment we tune out to an entertainment channel the power fails – with no intention of returning any time soon. Each time false promises are made to the nation instead of a realistic estimate of what they can expect. Power shortages were supposed to end in June 2010! Or at least that’s what our Prime Minister promised during a national address.

Penetration of Corruption

Worst of all, corruption is not synonymous with politics alone. True, our democratic system is non-transparent but then this also seems to be the case with other aspects of our nation like fashion and sports! Long gone are the days when only flour and sugar farmers, millers and traders, were blamed for hoarding and subsequent price surges due to supply shortages. In 2011, the fashion industry has become a victim too. You shall see these exhibitors apparently running out of stock on just the first days of their exhibitions, only later to have their clothes available at nearly 50% premiums at other locations!

Pakistanis Losing Hope

A few words exchanged with a Pakistani would reflect the sadness they feel over their country’s looming problems. They rarely believe things will improve from the government level now that they are finding all their solutions to be little more than scams. A live example is taxation. True that taxation is a solution to improving fiscal deficit. The 15% flood surcharge tax imposed on all until June 2011 should ideally help the flood victims. But if this does not translate into any visible improvement or protection for the people, then what is the benefit of such taxes? The gap between economic classes just continues to become more prominent.

Is there any chance of happiness?

I am not suggesting that the only way to achieve prosperity is to do away with these problems completely. Numerous countries are victims of such problems – the Arab revolt being just one example of an extreme reaction to similar issues. The point is that of there has been absolutely no relief from these problems for the past 63 years. Status quo prevails. This proves that maybe it’s time each of us brought solutions to the platform.

Three things we can each do in order to make a difference are:

  1. Merit vs. ‘Sifarish’ – Are we the ones getting our way at the expense of others by using shortcuts? For instance, in the jobs we are at, do we deserve them? If you’re shaking your head in disagreement, then you don’t have to quit your job; but at least make a firm resolution to work harder and with more integrity from now on!
  2. Avoid Simply Complaining – Are we? If we are the ones pointing fingers at our politicians, policy makers and governors, then we are indirectly pointing fingers at ourselves too. Anyone can complain… Find a solution and work towards it!
  3. Keeping Faith Alive: Trusting people will do wonders. It is perhaps because these people have never felt responsible for their actions that they behave in this manner. If each of us was to trust each other and also pronounce that trust, guess what? You have made the receptor think of his actions already because he has realized that you are going to be affected by what he does! So spread the trust and believe in it!