Combating the perfect storm

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
Friday, Jan 20, 2023

The current situation of Pakistan is getting complicated day by day. On the one hand, there is uncertainty over the country’s political future and on the other, people’s purchasing power is steadily decreasing due to the rising inflation rate.

The ongoing economic uncertainty has made a majority of the Pakistani people interested in going abroad for the sake of securing a bright future. The recent uncertainty has also given international media an opportunity to make comments about Pakistan.

According to foreign media reports, the Russia-Ukraine war is also a major reason behind an increase in the prices of wheat and food in Pakistan. Although the IMF released the $1.1 billion tranche last year, further negotiations now stand suspended. Reportedly, the IMF demands full implementation of its conditions to release more financial support, but it is not easy for the government to impose all these conditions at the moment.

Our current situation could be termed as a ‘perfect storm’. It means that Pakistan is simultaneously facing several storms coming from different sides. On the political front, the rift between the present government and the opposition is increasing rapidly, instead of diminishing with time. The political parties following the agenda of tussle and confrontation have completely diverted their attention from public issues due to which anti-social elements have succeeded in flourishing internally.

The national economy has been declining for the past few years, which has a direct negative impact on the value of the US dollar. Pakistan currently has a heavy debt of $274 billion and the interest on these loans is increasing continuously. Pakistan is allocating one-third of its national budget for debt repayment. According to the State Bank, only $4.3 billion are left in Pakistan’s foreign reserves, which is undoubtedly a matter of great concern.

Local banks are now selling the dollar according to the market value instead of the interbank rate. There is no other option for the government but to look towards more loans. But due to the country’s political tension, international organizations are reluctant to say yes.

Pakistan is facing another big challenge in the form of climate change. Last year, there was a loss of $30 billion caused by torrential rains and floods. Recently, the international community in the Geneva conference pledged $10.57 billion to Pakistan for helping the flood-affected people and for reconstruction of the affected areas.

In our country, it is commonly assumed that India is behind every conspiracy and crisis we face. However, currently there is a lot of concern in the Indian media regarding the uncertain situation of Pakistan. Indian analysts are warning that if any other country in the region follows Sri Lanka to become a defaulter, it will prove to be a disaster for India, which is the fifth largest economy in the world.

International media reports further hint that India has diverted its attention from the military conflict with Pakistan and now focusing on China, the second largest economic power in the world. Apparently, India is struggling to improve its global position in the economic front, which is why its real concern is maintaining cordial ties with Pakistan and China. The Indian media is arguing that China may come to rescue Pakistan from foreign debts and if it happens, it will prove to be the biggest obstacle for India in the process of transforming into a regional power.

It is clear from the international media reports that no country in the world seems involved in destabilizing Pakistan. We are the cause of the problems that our beloved country is facing today, and only we have the solution to tackle it.

We shouldn’t blame others for our problems unnecessarily and adopt a careful approach on global issues. Our political parties must understand that Pakistan comes first and our national interests should be their top priority. Let’s pray that Pakistan will succeed in combating the ongoing storm once and forever.

The writer is a member of the

National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani