A definition for entrepreneurship is in place at the outset when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Guaranteed, as a fundamental right in our Constitution it is cornered as a selective indulgence for a few because authoritarian laws that should allow the freedom are usurped and counter-productive. All forms of enterprise warrant freedom of indulgence and are aimed at a productive end. Production again is dependent on land, labor and capital and these have to be as equally available as the right to enterprise itself! In defining enterprise therefore we need to reckon with all human needs and needs of human environment that are serviced by support facilities. It is Constitutionally protected and projected as a fundamental Right because without this Right the evolution of human civilization would be near impossible. With a Right comes Obligations and therefore it is obligatory on Governments to allow a non-restricted non-biased availability of opportunity to all towards this indulgence. A level playing field is the need for the application of this right without a question.
More. In countries and jurisdictions where this liberty has been upheld ‘research’ and the interfacing of academia into the ethos of production has become a norm in tandem.
With this reality being what it is we in Pakistan seem to have resisted this logical given, and have remained frozen in the pettiness of a hereditary deterrence called feudalism. We have at individual and institutional levels grabbed ‘land’ the basic component amongst the three that cause production. For whatever political logic or social decadence this act in itself has arrested research, and the evolution of civilization in our midst. We are not stagnating, but are regressing into oblivion. We the people are indeed deprived of a basic fundamental right and it is usurped without a doubt. The ‘who’ and ‘how’ are matters for historians to document but for us the people it is a denial of a basic right which needs restoration.
To subject this right and liberty to laws, bureaucratic controls and or political nonsense is to murder all prospects of growth, self-sufficiency and research. We nail ourselves to international subservience the minute we nullify this freedom because we cease to research, involve the academia and look away from merit based production competing with world standards. We simply import goods and services and export nothing except raw material. We create as a consequence a lazy laid back social environment that can cheat, flout the laws, bicker and blackmail but in essence be worthy of nothing. That is why we have crooks in the visage of entrepreneurs. Let us take an example for the production of defense equipment or money related services like banking or insurance to understand our plight. We will find international protocols signed by our governments in succession arresting our liberty to evolve and or bring anything of worth and value to the table internationally. If for some reason there are no legally surrendered documents then we have our own bureaucracy that will deter the entrepreneur by laws that will deprive him of all factors of innovative production. No! You cannot produce surveillance equipment because we are committed to buy it from a major power with money we have borrowed from them on interest! We are so committed to the import of alien technology that the very thought of producing anything ourselves in the private sector has become a taboo.
It is incumbent for us the people to lean on the judiciary and free enterprise from the clutches of foreign and domestic restrictions, which in essence can only be equated with hara-kiri!
The affects of entrepreneurial freedom are at the root of National independence, progress and development. The denial evidently represents slavery, disgrace and voiceless existence amongst the community of Nation States. We need to remedy this by liberating all factors of production from captivity by proverbially kicking the old guard out of the sentry box, by dissolving captive political constituencies and by re-enacting basic laws that would establish a clear ‘master’ and ‘servant’ relationship between us the people and the government respectively. This is and has been, ironically the other way around and almost from inception. The Pakistan today is lumbered with a frozen economy and although a witch-hunt will weed out the rotten criminals the new policies essentially freeing enterprise from bureaucratic and political control is an urgent pre-requisite. One is left wondering who will bell the cat because the three parallel economies; each in order of size, representing the armed forces, the bureaucracy and the wretched people are devoid of a level playing field. The judiciary is the latest entrant in the race and it is comical that we all seek as holy cows to set the course right. This will never happen until all land belongs to the State and leased out for usage, all people are paid if not gainfully employed and capital has been freed from cancerous debt that chews up all the green on the National balance sheet. The alienated bureaucracy has to be back integrated into civil society and their jobs though better paid, have to be merit based and not based on regional and political bias. In concluding this article we need to record that it is in looking inwards and not outwards do we have hope.
Mirza Shahnawaz Agha