There are many expatriates here who have lived for decades in Saudi Arabia and have successfully forged for themselves and their families a prosperous future. Having said that, it has not taken away the concern they have for their country’s welfare and state of being. In the case of Pakistanis here, there have been some misgivings expressed by long-term residents concerned about their country’s welfare.
One such individual is Mohammed H. Zakaria, CEO of Saudi Steel. He writes: I was sad and in a state of loss to listen to our defense minister statement who said that ‘it won’t be easy for the US to target or attack Pakistan’. It is really sad to see how stupid and immature our leadership and their mindset is, they are expecting and preparing for a combat with the Americans and Afghans.
‘The blind and stupid leadership is not seeing that the country is on a brink of an economic crash very soon. We are stupidly thinking or dreaming that China will fill the economic vacuum created by the Western block, which includes Japan and Korea etc. In fact, our economic policy has long gone into deep freezer ever since we formed alliance with the Americans to fight jihad against the Russians so the Afghans may remain FREE.
‘We are in a full state of war since 1965 with more than one country, which has hampered our economic growth, we haven’t learned from the history that what destroyed the once mighty nations was WAR. We are waiting or expecting miracles to happen to our country while we are doing nothing to fix our own problems or our lifestyle or our mindset.
Stop thinking and believing, and change our nation’s mindset, that a nation’s prosperity is its affordability to consume Western fast foodTariq A. Al-Maeena
Few basic things
‘There are a few basic things that we have to adopt before it’s too late for us to save ourselves from bankruptcy and slavery.
1. Stop lavish goods import immediately.
2. Stop capital flight at any cost, legal or illegal.
3. Diversify export products and countries both, by reducing reliance on any one country or one product or one currency.
4. Remind the nation every day that we are a poor nation and can›t afford to import and pay for luxury goods, including mobile/smart phones, electronic gadgets, luxury or large size vehicles and crude oil etc. to run excessive cars and air-conditioners.
Publish a list of import bill on a daily, weekly or monthly basis stating, where we are blowing our foreign currency earnings, how much on crude oil, vehicle imports, mobile phones and electronic gadgets, medical treatment, education, debt servicing, fast food (foreign) franchise fees, Coke, Pepsi, Unilever and P&G etc. goodwill/earnings/capital repatriation.
Stop thinking and believing and change our nation’s mindset that a nation’s prosperity is its affordability to consume Western fast food, soft drinks, use smart phone and drive a luxury car, never mind all on debt/borrowed money. Does anyone care how much these soft drinks, shampoos, toothpaste, burgers etc. are costing this poor nation and that we are borrowing in foreign currency to pay for these products and services.
We cannot start our day without an American toothpaste, an American shampoo, an American razor and an American burger and yet we are telling the nation to brace for an American attack, a nation that is totally unprepared and unwilling for such an economic blockade, we have no idea that such an economic blockade will double or triple the cost of these imported goods and services because we are totally unprepared and unwilling to live without them.
OPINION: Liberalism is the solution
‘We can survive such a blockade or sanctions but we have to prepare the nation and tell them the truth, that we can›t afford all such imported luxuries, show them the real picture and start implementing it from today. Thank you. — Mohamed H. Zakaria.’
Mohammed’s message is a form of ‘wake up and smell the coffee.’ His words could well be a warning to many countries in the region as well as unrestrained and misdirected spending can eventually catch up and bite back.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on September 12, 2017.
Tariq A. Al-Maeena is a Saudi writer. Twitter @talmaeena.