Trees, Faith and Professionalism

I fully support and endorse the tree plantation drive initiated by the government of Imran Khan. The past such efforts were criticized for two things. First, that choice of trees should be such that is suitable for our climate. Second waste should be avoided as it is difficult to track such a large number of trees and their survival. I hope horticulture and other domain experts will review the program and provide guidance so that the plantation drive could be successful and produce the desired results. I will appreciate if domain experts send their views on this program so that we can inform the nation about it. 

I also support the creation of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to be chaired by the Prime Minister. There has been a lot of hue and cry about the inclusion of Atif R Mian who is from Ahmedi community. This is the similar situation when Nawaz Sharif announced that Physics department of a university will be named after Nobel laureate Dr. Abdus Salam. I don’t understand why such criticism is raised. How does faith of a person impact his expertise in economics and physics? If God only wanted Muslims to have knowledge of the universe then it was not so difficult but He allowed non-Muslims to acquire it based on their hard work and passion. Secondly, if Muslims were such experts in the fields of science, economics, and philosophy then why are Muslim majority countries so far behind other countries? Does Islam prohibit learning from non-Muslims? If that is so then why did Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) advised us to seek knowledge even if we have to travel to China (that was not a Muslim country)? Why would rightly guided Caliph appoint non-Muslims and women on important position? Are we better Muslims than the rightly guided Caliphs who had no problem appointing experts that were non-Muslims? Were non-Muslims not part of the army and other important institutions during the Ottoman and Mughal Empires that ruled for centuries? This frivolous debate about the faith of an economist is taking attention away from more important and pressing issues.

I don’t know what criteria was used to appoint people to EAC. Usually, a party in power appoint economists that agree with its economic philosophy. Imran Khan has proposed that he wants to establish a social welfare state which means that there will be higher taxes and more subsidies to poor and downtrodden. Do all economists appointed to EAC agree with such an approach? Because if they disagree then there could be a deadlock on EAC as economists are known to have big egos and very hard for them to take a departure from their public positions. The other concern is that will the PM implement the proposals presented by EAC because the government may have to take some tough decisions which will require a strong spine to deal with reaction from vested interests and people. 

Imran Khan has many qualities but he has one weakness which is to procrastinate on tough decisions. He wishes that the problem will solve itself rather than deal with it. He waits for too long to take a decisive action and by that time the problem becomes much bigger and too difficult to deal with. 

As a member of the opposition, we will be keeping a close eye on proposals of EAC and progress on tree plantation. We want both of these to succeed.   

By Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi