Imran Khan’s pledge to flog off a decent portion of the State’s assets has started with the auction of 61 cars from the government fleet. Given the financial problems in the country this is only a sop, of course it is, but a sop with value. As with India’s demonetisation the value is to convey to the wallah in the marketplace that someone at least is doing something about the bastards.
Who those of unknown parentage are differs of course, but that there’s been an insider class in both countries is obvious enough. Gain political power in Pakistan and you and your family – by recent evidence at least – become rich. Work in the cash economy in India and you’ll be untroubled by the taxman. Selling off a few cars, or changing the banknotes, might not really deal with either problem all that much, except as a piece of political theatre. And such theatre is important, valuable:
An auction of a fleet of 102 luxury and surplus vehicles kept at Prime Minister House in Islamabad is underway, with 61 vehicles sold so far, including five bulletproof vehicles. The auction of 21 vehicles has been cancelled.
According to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Twitter account, the auctioned vehicles include a reinforced Mercedes 2005 5,000cc model SUV which was sold for Rs14.5 million, while a reinforced Land Cruiser V8 was auctioned off for Rs27.4m.
Sure, nice to have the money and not have the maintenance bills but in a near bankrupt country not anything more than a rounding error.
The administrator said that the Federal Board of Revenue will re-evaluate the prices of vehicles which were unable to find buyers at the auction, adding the 102 vehicles presented for auction had a value of over Rs1 billion.
He said that as many as Rs120 million went into the national exchequer with the sale of 61 vehicles and the government hoped to receive a bid over Rs160 million of bombproof vehicles.
The point being that in order to deal with that national near bankruptcy something is going to have to be asked of that wallah in the marketplace. And better to show that you’re doing something yourself, that austerity is starting at the top, than to flaunt those spoils of power, no?
Which brings us to the lessons for us. We too have a parasite class, swanning between elected politics and government funded quangos and goodly portions of the NGO scene. About time a proper slashing of that nomenklatura happened as well, no? For once we show that we’re serious about cutting the number of, and pay of, those who exist on the taxpayers’ shillings then we will have a great deal more support for the necessary changes which will benefit said taxpayers. If we visibly curtail those partaking of the State’s bounty at the top those necessary changes in curtailing the State’s bounty all over will be easier.
Cutting MPs’ pay by 50% looks like a good start, no? Along with killing at least half the quangos?