Lockdowns again and Agent 007 – this week in Pakistan’s business and economics Twitterverse

As covid cases begin to peak again in Pakistan with the federal and Sindh governments locking horns over who is to blame for the abysmal conditions in Karachi where the positivity rate has gone up to nearly 30%, there is much to discuss. We look at lives versus livelihoods, as well as the nature of twitter and our very dapper governor of the SBP, Raza Baqie. Ariba Shahid brings you all this and more in this week’s roundup of Pakistan’s business and economics twitterverse. 

Dapper governor 

Please do not think that I am self obsessed but seldom does one come up with artwork that is able to become NFT level. I feel this is something that is. Meet Agent Baqir 007%. It’s a play on Dr Baqir being called an agent for God knows what reason, and the fact that he’s kept the policy rate at 7% longer than any of us had anticipated. If none of that matters to you, just look how dapper the SBP Governor looks in a tuxedo. If nothing else, this should be making the news. 

Twitter is fun …  most of the time 

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The best part about twitter is also the worst part about twitter – anyone can (almost) say anything. Yes, there might be community guidelines but if you see a graph and want to say 2+2=5 nobody is very well going to stop you. As business and economics people, the sanctity of numbers means something to us and it is frustrating to see this kind of opinion making going on. Still, what can be done about it? 

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of the road and screaming out your thoughts. Anyone can respond. Just brace yourself and hope you’re in a saner neighborhood. That in essence is Twitter, and one thing is for certain – you never know what the other person is going to be like on Twitter. Despite that, Twitter is a fun place, so fun that we feature it in our magazine. Of course, the collection of tweets you see here every week are curated after significant sanitation and cherry picking. Some of the darker recesses of the twitterverse … Well, let us just say they are strange navigation even for those of us most experienced in matters of social media. 

Change conundrum 

No one does better hisab kitab than desi moms. Also, are you frustrated that everything is in multiples of 5 and 10. As a result of this, inflation always results in prices going up by the next multiple of 5 or 10 because providing change remains a hassle.

Urban planning 

We all saw the Islamabad flooding and also saw cloud bursts trend on twitter. But the fact remains, while climate change remains real, what else do you expect when you’re building on natural drainage? This is both a failure on a global scale, and on an urban planning scale. In Islamabad at least, which prides itself on its planning, scenes like this should not be taking place. Unfortunately, the greed and avarice of real estate developers knows no bounds. 

Still choosing between lives and livelihoods

I don’t think you can time virus cases with public holidays. However, it is a fact that the financial repercussions of a lockdown followed by public holidays will not fare well for people. However, what is one to do when it’s a question of lives and livelihoods? Hang on folks, we might be having this debate periodically for a long time to come. 

Whatsapp forwards 

While Zohad doesn’t specifically mention work whatsapp groups, we feel the same about work groups where people exchange pleasantries and forwards. Besides, why would you guys want a whatsapp group with people you can barely stand? Thank God for the mute button.

{Editor’s note: For those of you that do not know this yet, Whatsapp has updated its ‘archive’ function so that when messages are sent to chats that have been archived, they no longer show up on your main list of whatsapp chats. You can essentially create a second whatsapp of undesirable chats that you only check every now and then.} 

Here’s my CNIC copy again 

The private sector is crowded out. Why? Because banks are merely government lending machines. Low risk appetites remain a factor but how can anyone ever compete with the government? What incentive do banks have? Ammar sums it up well, and explains how banks merely exist to lend to the government. We’d like to add that they exist to torture us by asking for CNICs too, and also for hording the copies of our CNICs we give to them. 

Be smart and invest 

We encourage more people to invest in the PSX. It is the only way we can have a vibrant capital market and better growth. Listen to Najam, open up a bank account and invest.

Stay inside – for the economy 

Lockdowns are for all. This is not the time for a potluck. Stay indoors so that we control the spread so we don’t go back into lockdown. Do it for the daily wage earners. 

Is this part of our culture? 

Love this tweet. Love it when the tables are turned. We give this one 10/10 

Ariba Shahid
The author is a business journalist at Profit. She can be reached at [email protected] or at twitter.com/AribaShahid

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