They will tell you, if you ever visit the place, that Islamabad is 11 miles from Pakistan and at first you don't understand what they mean. Then your eyes open as your host's car speeds you along the superb expressway from the airport to this capital city. You come to broad avenues entirely overhung by the leafy branches of big trees planted everywhere along the roadways in this near desert and marvel at the unending mansions - no breeze block or tent huts here. When you get to the centre of the city you wonder why Islamabad is not featured more often in the design awards of architectural magazines. The major government buildings are stunning and there are always more going up: here a moghul palace, there a long low line of ministerial offices set in a glorious parkland, somewhere else the latest achievement of Islamic tracery in a facade. Ah yes, you say to yourself, when public servants here set out to do good, they do very well indeed. And then you understand what they mean. Rawalpindi is 11 miles away and only there will you find the true impoverished grimy Pakistan that you otherwise recognise in cities such as Karachi and Lahore. How do they pay for it all when they still have a hideously huge defence budget because of that intractable Kashmir problem and a mouldering infrastructure crying out for investment? Here is a surprise for you, dear reader. Did you know that in some small way it may be you who is paying for it? Go to Pakistan and you will invariably find that the big financial question of the day is whether the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund will come through with the latest US$200 million tranche of their latest elephant-sized aid package. If the money does not come through, well, then perhaps the tanker bringing the latest infusion of oil from the Gulf will not tie up at the dock in Karachi, the lights will go out, the traffic will come to a halt and Pakistan will stand revealed as the bankrupt country it already is. Perhaps Islamic sources may provide a little money then, but the Saudis have already been sucked dry by the bureaucrats in Islamabad and the days have long passed when Pakistani labourers abroad made up the shortfall by sending their earnings home. Net factor incomes from abroad (those repatriated wages) have fallen from more than 12 per cent of gross domestic product 15 years ago to a deficit on this account at present. And so now we have had yet another military coup because the chief of the armed forces won't put up with being sacked for insubordination. What light can there possibly be at the end of this dank tunnel of vast corruption, incompetence and gross wastage? Sunlight . . . that's the light, and the IMF and World Bank can bring Pakistan back to it in a few short years by one simple measure. Cut them off completely. No more money at all, full stop. It will defeat these generals more resoundingly than India has ever done. Yes, it will hurt ordinary Pakistanis badly too. But what is better - a condemnation to endless grinding poverty by continued funding of the system that has created it or a short sharp shock that has some hope of breaking that system at last? Don't count on it, however. The IMF won't do it. These Washington bureaucrats will start chewing their fingernails about Pakistan's atom bomb and traditional links to a Cold War ally. The money will keep rolling in. Haul out your wallet. You may be paying for it too.