Friday, June 15, 2012

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Asad Umar From Corporate World to Politics


Pakistan’s politics in the last 64 years of country’s existences passed through numerous tumultuous periods, which include imposition of Martial Laws, division of countries into two separates states, fall of governments because of conspiracies and bickering. Nepotism, corruption, lawlessness is deeply rooted in our society. Number of our population currently living below poverty level is rising rapidly and on the whole country is passing through a very bleak period.
In our scenario, the worst situation is that our politics has also become dormant and revolving waderas, landlords and some business groups. Due to shoddy image of our existing politicians and because of various reasons common man and other capable person put a self embargo and are not willing to play any role in country’s politics thinking that politics is not for them.
People mostly join politics to enhance their status in society and also to increase their wealth. No one think of coming in politics with the single aim of serving the people.
Considering the negatives being attached with our politics, corporate tycoon Asad Umar’s edition to Pakistan’s trembling politics is a welcome edition.
Asad was attached with Engro for the last 27 years in different capacities and assume position of company’s CEO & President in 2004. During this period he had played active role in the complete transformation of his conglomerate and converted it into a  diversified industrial business, with interests ranging from fertilizers, foods, petrochemicals, chemical storage, energy and commodity trading. He enjoyed   a very good image among his friends & colleagues.
Some days ago he surprised everyone by tendering a request for the grant of early retirement and later on joined a Pakistan Tehreek –e-Insaf .
A lot of professionals are part of our political system but according to my information this is a first of its kind incident that a person resigned from his profession to pursue full time politics. Asad’s gesture of tendering his resignation is an indication that he is not joining politics to strengthen or boost his organization but maybe he is one of those rare inhabitants who consider politics as a method to serve the people and had joined politics for this reason of serving humanity & country.
Pakistan at the time of Independence inhabited its systems from the British rulers of India and majority of the rules & regulations they set were not to serve the people but to rule the people. After Independence, we were unable to formulate new regulations and continue with all that was given to us by the British Raj. Sadly our politics was hijacked by the landlords and waderas of rural Sindh & Punjab, majority of them were those who were given acres of land by the British rulers to acknowledge their services and who join Muslim League to support the cause of independence after land reforms were announced by Congress. These area elders deliberately keep their areas backward so that they rule the population instead of serving them. Slowly but surely awareness creeping up with the help of media and it is expected that situation may change and attain the correct path in future.
 Asad Umar once during a gathering claimed that when all the champions of democracy gone underground during the Army takeover of 1999, he was alone on the roads for the cause of democracy in the country. This is a commendable effort and considering the reality that this effort in favor of democracy was made by a person whose father was Army personnel made this effort for democracy more worthwhile.
Asad’s joining of politics need to be viewed carefully and may act as a first drop of rain and may be other corporate leaders & professionals following his path may join politics. He set  the precedence by leaving a profession where he was earning more than 6.0 million  per month and a lot of respect  in favor of  an activity where he will surely encounter an upside down and also have to face the wrath of other politicians. Pakistan’s politics is revolving around few families whose generations are inheriting party & country leadership not for their talent and capability but because of their affiliation. In this situation if a person like Asad attains success in politics, then his success will surely give others a confidence to venture in politics to take their destiny in their own hands rather than leaving it to those who are running the country for a long time without caring about the problems & issues faced by the common man.
Asad’s joining of politics can be fruitful in increasing the tax collection. At the moment, our tax to GDP ratio is lowest in the region and in our overall mix of tax collection; rate of indirect taxes is 70%.For successful economies, reliance on direct taxes will be much more compared to indirect taxes. Asad being a corporate person knew about all the loopholes in our tax system and he may be helpful in plugging these loopholes so as to improve our tax to GDP ratio which in turn may lead to reduction of our reliance on international donor agencies and may put country on the road to self reliance.
Having a vast experience of running a corporation, he may attain more success if in future he may think Pakistan as cooperation and run it on the similar pattern if opportunity given to him or his party. Subsequent governments of Pakistan for decades are giving deficit budget and may be in years to come we need visionaries like Asad to turn around our financial structures and expenditure habits in order to present a surplus budget.
To prosper, Pakistan need land reforms to free rural population from the clutches of landlords. This is a major step which we as a country need to take immediately. India introduced land reforms immediately after independence and Bangladesh also implement land reforms after separation. Now it’s our turn to implement these reforms. As Asad is not a landlord, maybe he convince his party to introduce land reforms which surely act as a catalyst to free small farmers and area residents from the authority of area elders
Asad is a completely made in Pakistan product who himself took his earlier education from a government school. Not only that he during his professional tenure interact with numerous person from top to bottom and should be well versed of the problems existing in our education system. With all the information he possess, maybe he along with his political team can work out and present a uniform education system for the people of Pakistan.
Asad Umar’s inclusion in Pakistan’s politics will surely beneficial and I am optimistic that his admission to politics will have long term positive impact on Pakistan’s politics and in future we may see more progressive persons joining country’s politics.




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