Fed up tycoons

A few days ago, tycoons from across the country met with COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to air some ‘serious concerns’ regarding the direction of the economy, an unresponsive government that does not keep its promises and how the NAB had made the business climate inhospitable by harassing and arresting members of their fraternity. The next day a different group of tycoons met with PM Imran Khan as well with the same set of complaints. Most of these problems are linked to the abysmal condition of the economy that will improve only when the ongoing adjustment cycle is complete it will take time. Pressure from the IMF and its ‘installations’ also make it near impossible to address the increasing cost of doing business in the near future. So essentially what the COAS and government can deliver immediately is a more rational NAB. Apart from going after opposition party politicians the accountability watchdog has upped its activities against bureaucrats and businessmen. As a result, there is fear in the business community of getting picked up, from their place of business no less, while it is pen-down within the bureaucracy to avoid being accused of wrongdoing on trivial grounds at some point in the future. NAB insists that it is doing everything by the book and will refer cases related to private businesses to the FBR. Yet, a seventy-year old retired bureaucrat was arrested by NAB on flimsy grounds this week while inquiry proceedings have been initiated against the CEO of one of the largest business conglomerates in the country. There has been talk of reviewing the NAB law but progress to that end is so slow that it seems the government is not too bothered. And why would it be? When the leader of the house is unwilling to even acknowledge the opposition in Parliament, consensus on a law amendment bill is a longshot. How effective the complaints from the business community are to result in any action, only time will tell.

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