The Mantra of Privatization – The Final Words

Read parts one, two and three of this series

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The detailed analysis of Soviet economy and its miracles is aimed at showing Nawaz Sharif and his Harvard educated cronies that the government can do business and do in an excellent way.

Now coming back to Pakistan, it could be argued that Pakistan does not have a socialist government. Here you have some trade unionists, who are extremely rich, for instance one trade unionist of the Pakistan Steel Mills is believed to be billionaire.
The country is full of labor aristocracy, so under such circumstances it is better to sell off state concerns. But for a working class politics you need to have a working class.
Pakistan’s industrial sector has been in decline for decades now. There has been in reality a little deindustrialization. The country has witnessed a mushrooming of commercial plazas and shopping malls in the last three decades but very little industrialization.
Privatization and denationalization has rendered millions of workers jobless since 1979. We still have a large number of workers in state concerns, for instance Pakistan Railways has the largest numbers of workers in the country. We need to unite these workers and turn our state concerns into profit making organizations.
There could be a labor aristocracy but it still constitutes a tiny minority. Millions of workers would still want to work for state concerns and would be ready to turn them into profit making entities. The trade unions should not only make a clamor when the government announces privatization but it should chalk out an effective policy to counter the measures that might render a state concern unprofitable.
For instance, the PIA pilots threatened to go on a strike for a few demands but no protest was lodged by unions or no strike call was given when lucrative international routes of the national carrier were sold to Turkish air line.
Similarly, unions in the Pakistan Railways lodged no protest when its precious lands were sold out to generals and other businessmen at throw away prices. So, the trade unions have to be watchful and they have to keep an eye every move of the government aimed at appeasing their cronies.

We should out rightly reject privatization and point out other means of generating revenues. For instance the PML-N government claimed before coming into power that the exchequer had to suffer a loss of over Rs700 billion a year because of corruption.
We need to ask what have they done to stop this corruption? We need to demand all those capitalists, feudal, bureaucrats and generals who got loans from national banks that they should not only be made to repay he loans but heavy monitory fines as well.
Millions of acres of state land have been sold at throw away price in the last three decades. Such land must be confiscated or the builders must be made to pay according to the market price.

Agha Abdul Sattar

Agha Abdul Sattar is a senior journalist and has worked for several national and international media centers.Agha did his masters in political science and have worked for The News, Daily Dawn, Dawn News English channel, Voice of Germany and National Public Radio of America.

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