Support Mazboot Pakistan by Naureen Ibrahim Khan

You love Pakistan. I know you do. So do I. When Miandad hit that sixer, Sana Mir became the leading wicket taker, or Kaptaan lifted the cup… that feeling of uncontrollable joy… that is the love for Pakistan. But what good is our love if the country is struggling. The key to improving Pakistan will be a vibrant, inclusive economy. Unfortunately, we are currently facing an extreme economic crisis. Pakistan is an import driven country. Our hard-earned remittances get lost in non-productive assets like plots. Broadly speaking, there is a general consensus on why our economy is in a state of perpetual freefall. But what can we do about it—how can the awam help the experts sitting in Ministry of Finance as they get the economy moving again. Can we individually even contribute to building a better Pakistani economy?
I am here to tell you—yes we can. I am proposing the launch of the Mazboot Pakistan movement. This isn’t a political movement—this is a change of mindset. Mazboot Pakistan is about buying Pakistani products, supporting Pakistani entrepreneurs, and, ultimately, lifting Pakistan from this gloomy import driven abyss.
In practicality, you may wonder what it means to support Mazboot Pakistan? I propose a simple rule—wherever possible, for every 5 products that you buy 4 should be made in Pakistan. Tell your family, tell your friends, and tell your neighbors. Lets do this together. No politics, no hidden agenda, and no distractions. This means that we check labels of individual products that we buy and we request our shopkeepers and restaurateurs to only keep local products. Let’s be proud of our entrepreneurs and support them. Of course, they also have to support us by building better, internationally competitive products. I believe they will answer the call and meet consumer expectation.
The mindset behind Mazboot Pakistan has to be adopted for our economic mess to be cleaned up. The numbers are truly pathetic. In 2017, Pakistan had close to $50 Billion of imports against only around $20 Billion of exports. The last decades have been similarly bad, year after year. The dismal policy can be seen from a number of examples—i) approximately $5.5 Billion of our imports are food related, despite the fact that we are known as Bread Basket of Asia and ii) we import $2 Billion worth of palm oil yet acreage of sunflower production has been rapidly declining. Yes, policy actions are important, but we as consumers also have a responsibility. We the homemakers, youth, professionals, the rich, the poor… we have a huge part to play.
We as consumers can help fight these policy lapses by buying local. We can support local Pakistani food manufacturers, including sunflower seed oil producers and confectionary makers, and reduce the exorbitant food related imports. Pakistan has innovative agriculture machinery companies and innovators that, if supported, will allow us to lower the $7 Billion of Agriculture Equipment and Agri-Inputs imports. The examples listed above are simply to show that there are many local alternatives that can be supported. We must repeal this trading culture and inculcate a manufacturing culture. Let’s start making things again.
If you believe in this cause like I do, share this message, join Mazboot Pakistan on social media, and most of all make sure that you buy Pakistani. By sharing this message you are sharing your intent to conscientiously buy Pakistani.
So, are you with me? Buy Pakistani and help make a Mazboot Pakistan for our future generations!
Written by : Mrs Naureen Ibrahim Khan (Mrs. Naureen Ibrahim Khan is an MNA and a founder of Mazboot Pakistan movement.

ColumnMazboot PakistanNaureen Ibrahim Khan