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If the starting point for analysis in the post Hakeemullah Mehsud world is that he was assassinated by the US with

malign intent, (and clearly there is plenty of political capital located within that umbrella) then the conversation to be had is about how to find a way to end the constant abuse of akistan by big, bad Uncle Sam! It is hardly controversial for us to accept and embrace the fact that we cannot keep complaining about the alleged abuse we endure at the hands of "merica on the one hand, and constantly seek direct and indirect "merican fiscal generosity on the other! #he fiscal contradiction, between the money we want to run akistan, and the money we have to ask others to provide to us to do so, is at the heart of the akistani republic$s deep and abiding dysfunction! %et us put it a different way! &o akistani could ever dream of any scenario better than one in which akistan en'oys and e(ercises full and unmitigated sovereignty! #his re)uires crisp and utter clarity about things like drone strikes conducted by another country in akistani territory! If they take place without an e(plicit agreement authorising them, drone strikes are illegal * always have been, always will be! It also re)uires crisp and utter clarity about things like terrorists safe havens! "ll territories that are identified as akistan on a map, must be places where the akistani government, national, subnational or local, can go safely, and dictate terms! +hen areas within a country fall outside this definition, such as the situation in &orth +a,iristan, then that is a full and uncomplicated breach of akistani sovereignty! &o matter how much love there may be for the #aliban in Mansoora, or "kora -hattak, or .I -han, as soon as any authority emerges that successfully and sustainably challenges the state for a monopoly over violence, then that state$s sovereignty is immediately in )uestion! /oth these aspects of sovereignty are well e(plored in the current akistani milieu! &ationalists like myself can spend hours e(plaining and emphatically making the case for how drone strikes undermine akistani sovereignty and therefore violate both the international order and the boundaries of what is legal behavior between states! Meanwhile, many friends of akistan have already spent hours, and hours, e(plaining to the akistani military and civilian leaders about the dangers to akistani sovereignty of allowing terrorists to establish safe havens in which neither the akistani police services, nor the akistan "rmy, nor even the akistani clandestine services are able to operate freely! However, there is one aspect of sovereignty that has not been fully e(plored, despite some of the stellar work that has been done domestically by 'ournalists like Umar 0heema and commentators like Hu,aima /ukhari and Ikramul Ha)! 0an any country be truly sovereign in the absence of fiscal freedom1 2r to be more provocative about it, how can akistan e(pect to be taken seriously by Uncle 3ohn /rennan in %angley, 4irginia when he knows that ultimately, we will go running to Uncle 5ichard 2lsen in Islamabad as soon as we run out of money to pay our bills1 3ust like it is uncontroversial to argue for sovereignty in the conte(t of drone strikes, we must develop a narrative that makes it uncontroversial to talk about fiscal sovereignty!

#oo often friends on both left and right use these notions of fiscal independence, and freeing ourselves 6from the shackles of international aid7 merely as rhetorical instruments! /ut for centrists, the notion of fiscal sovereignty is a serious issue that has grave conse)uences for economic growth and, both by e(tension and directly, for national security! #o be fiscally sovereign, akistan has to raise and spend money from within akistan! #o do so, it has to raise ta(es on the rich, dramatically, and it has to rationalise ta(es on the middle class, substantially! "s long as the rich and the wealthy continue to ride the coattails of direct and indirect "merican generosity, the vast ma'ority of akistanis will continue to feel a burning sense of indignity every time our leaders engage with the US government! It is useful to clarify the use of the term fiscal sovereignty in the akistani conte(t! #he most recent instance of the use of the term fiscal sovereignty that I think has salience for akistan is within the conte(t of the 8uropean Union and 8uro,one! In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 9::; and the rolling avalanche of fiscal emergency across many 8uropean countries, fiscal sovereignty became an issue within the conte(t of the behavior of 8uro,one states! 2ne of the 9::< &obel laureates in economics, Michael Spence wrote of this in 9:<:! He argued for curtailed fiscal sovereignty in the 8uro,one, because everyone having their own fiscal policies, whilst sharing a currency, and invariably sharing the liability for poor fiscal behavior, was not sustainable! In short, Spence was saying that countries like =reece and ortugal have to sign up to be more like =ermany, to prevent sustained fiscal irresponsibility by those countries at the e(pense of =erman ta(payers and policymakers * both of whom, for all their other ambient faults, are better fiscal managers than the =reeks or ortuguese (or Irish or "mericans or Italians for that matter)! +hat does this mean1 +ell, 8urope obviously doesn$t have the very recent and ambient baggage of the "fghanistan war, like akistan and the US do! So when we look at 8urope, and we can find a similar narrative amongst 8uropean countries, as we do today between akistan and the US, perhaps we can e(amine the realities without the weight of geopolitical gobbledygook! &o country should have to pay for another country$s shopping habits! =reece, ortugal and akistan (among many others) make poor fiscal choices, we know this! In akistan, these poor choices have produced among the world$s highest maternal mortality rates, among the world$s highest out of school children population, and poverty rates that should embarrass decent people everywhere! >et we also have one of the world$s biggest armies, and one of the world$s most ambitious national narratives * fortress of Islam, %and of the ure, Imran$s tigers, Sharif$s lions, /hutto$s trailblasing arrows! "nd we are all about sovereignty when it comes to drones! It is all terribly inspiring! 8(cept when we reach the cash register and it is time to pay!

+hen it is time to pay, we trot our Shaukat ",i,, or Shaukat #arin, or Hafee, Shaikh, or Sarta' ",i,, or Isha) .ar! "ll competent, and all with well?deserved reputations for integrity! /ut will anyone ever confuse any akistani finance minister as a balance?the? budget fiscal 5obin Hood1 2r to be more blunt, have we ever wondered why popular leaders keep picking unpopular (and unelected) @inance Ministers1 #he short answer is because a popular (and electorally answerable) finance minister would be much more conscious of fiscal sovereignty! "nd this consciousness would eventually (not immediately, but eventually) lead to dramatic increases in revenue, and a lot less time negotiating with the US ambassador and the IM@ missions that regularly come to assess akistan (to .ubai)! 2ur fiscal chickens have come home to roost! If akistan wishes to en'oy real, meaningful sovereignty, it must begin to dramatically increase revenue by raising ta(es! +e must pay our own way in the world! 2nly when we approach the United States as fiscally sovereign e)uals will our appeals to international law and friendship be heard! #ill then, we will continue writing sovereignty che)ues that our fiscal ability cannot cash! #he writer is an analyst and commentator! www!mosharraf,aidi!com