Property boom, an opportunity
The Karachi mafia feels slightly safer now that the terrorist threat, in part lubricated by oil money and territory fights, has receded and the short-term profits can be seen. The Islamabad prices increases can be explained by the immense amount of money that 'leaks through' official projects which is now finding foreign havens a bit difficult to find.
Lahore sort of averages out, part dodgy finance money finding its way into property ( which is a good development) and part being unpaid taxes. The same is true of cities like Gujranwala, Multan and Sialkot, which in a way uses such money as working capital now that the government is sucking almost all bank money for infrastructur- al projects, which will ensure future electoral prospects.
But this means that it also distorts our social fabric. We have seen all forms of diversity being punished. Rulers find diversity difficult to handle, which in turn leads otherwise reasonable people to resort to not telling the full truth.
So in an indirect manner the outcome of falling oil prices is creating economic crisis which could, if we believe that traditional economic theory still works in this modern age, to future wars on a limited scale. Pakistan has just been through a scathing 25 years and finally with property prices shooting through the sky, the medium- term prospects have to be positive.
But positive they will be only if conditions within the country are created, by sensible fiscal moves and not monetary expansion, so that instead of property
their investors feel safe by investing in manufacturing and the service industry that must accompany such manufacturing. Our people must travel the world for orders like the Indians and Chinese do. They must also have a growing industrial base to match.
That is why the property boom in Pakistan could be turned to the advantage of our country. There is a need to make sure that our cotton, leather, foods and other agricultural base that feed the manufacturing process are strengthened.
Mind you the oil producers, at present enemies, will very soon join hands to raise prices. The oil boom is not here to stay. That is why by the time prices begin to rise again, Pakistanis must move their money from property to manufacturing. Remember, there is always an opportunity available, and for Pakistan this is the time to make, for a change, a sensible move.