Good news and bad news

There is so much good news that no one should mind if I talk about the bad news first.
The very bad news is that the present spell of rampant inflation is not going to end soon. Millions have been rendered jobless, another ten million will be added to the already sixty million hungry Pakistanis, and despite imposing heavy taxes on the people, the government is doing nothing to curb its own expenses. Due to steeply rising prices, corruption will increase massively. Tax inspectors, customs appraisers and those who wield considerable power over us will increase their charges for doing what they should be doing for their wages.
And now some good news (for Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf): they can’t be blamed for the mess. According to reliable sources, the prime minister is not in charge of what’s happening as far as the economy is concerned. So we can’t blame his government for prices increasing sharply. The International Monetary Fund is the new villain. In the meantime, we should be glad the great Khan still has some clout. Recently he jumped into action when he heard one of his lady ministers had been instrumental in getting her sister appointed to a sensitive post. As the Special Assistant to the Dear Leader pointed out, it’s against the ethics and principles of the ruling party (which is strongly against nepotism), the lady minister was told to withdraw the letter she got written for getting her sister appointed. That’s good to hear. The problem is, why should the lady minister not get the sack (or be asked to resign)? Apparently, that would be taking things a bit too far.
As for nepotism, there are many instances that need looking into. The special assistant himself is accused of having had a nephew suddenly promoted and appointed to a senior post in a government organisation. Apparently, no one thinks of nepotism, ethics and principles in such cases. A brother of our learned minister of science and technology is alleged to have been appointed an additional IG in Punjab Police.
I suppose the minister can say, “If a minister can’t get jobs for his relatives, what’s the use of being a minister?”
So, we can safely assume that the Great Khan can still transfer police officers and bureaucrats if they refuse to do what he or his ministers say. He can take any number of cronies on more government-paid visits to foreign countries (like to the recent OIC meeting in Saudi Arabia), despite none of them knowing or caring what the OIC is.
There is more good news (for stock market speculators and share price manipulators). Despite the economy being in such a precarious state, the IMF-favoured advisor has somehow managed to find Rs 20 billion to shore up the stock market. This will further enrich many who will sell to government institutions very cheap shares bought during the recent bearish spell. Of course, this is small comfort to the common man, who has to struggle desperately to survive on the minimum wage. When the worthy adviser said recently that the increasing fuel prices would have no effect on the common man, he apparently meant those who eat for free at the many charity lunches provided by Edhi and others. Also, as everyone knows, the common man does not take a bus to get to his workplace; he simply walks for a couple of hours to do so.

There is good news for bicycle manufacturers. With petrol prices likely to go through the roof in the near future, even using motorcycles will not be affordable and more and more people will be compelled to use bicycles to commute to work. Besides reducing pollution, it will cause a lot of people to lose weight. Of course, I would never like the learned science and technology minister to take to walking or using bicycles. We like him the way he is and we hope he’ll soon develop an app for people to lose weight without dieting or exercising.
Finally, there is good news for food adulterators. Soon, food prices will also reach unaffordable levels. The poor will look for cheaper flour, lentils, ghee and other edibles. Adulterators will prosper, for there is plenty of sand, sawdust and other stuff in the country to mix with edible items to sell cheaply. Adulteration will also contribute to a reduction in population, which is our major problem, but of course, no one dares to even talk about it. As for water to put in liquid milk, that’s been going on for such a long time that we’ve become used to it. No problem there. And we won’t run out of water in a long time, as we’ll soon have two mega dams to ensure we have plenty of it.

The writer is a freelancer