All eyes on IMF talks

Ansar Abbasi
Saturday, May 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Now all eyes are on May 25. The outcome of the ongoing IMF talks in Doha will decide the future political direction of the ruling coalition government.

Informed sources said that in case of a positive outcome of the talks, the government would continue even if elections are held by the end of this year. If the IMF talks do not go well, sources claim, the PMLN would go to its allies with the proposal of leaving the government. The allies will take the final decision.

Sources said the scenario had also been discussed with those who matter. Convening a special meeting of the National Security Committee is also being considered in case the IMF’s response to the solutions proposed by the present government is discouraging. The consideration is that in a scenario like that the government would not be able to unilaterally take major economic decisions, including the most difficult ones, because of the massive political cost.

It was discussed that since leaving the government means leaving Pakistan to suffer, therefore, the government should make all stakeholders to sit in the National Security Committee for unanimous and shared decisions for the recovery of the national economy, which is fast moving towards a possible default. The economic situation of the country has also caused fears among other stakeholders. It is believed that the IMF could be better engaged now by than by a caretaker setup.

Some leading politicians rightly fear that pinning high hopes on a caretaker government may turn out to be wrong as such a set up, instead of doing any good to the economy, may prove catastrophic.

Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been consistently pressing for an NSC-based solution to the present political and economic mess. He suggested the PM immediately initiate national dialogue to inform the stakeholders about the grave situation of the economy and the need for urgently taking difficult decisions before Pakistan ends up in an unmanageable crisis.

The best forum for national dialogue in Abbasi’s view is the NSC where the PM would also invite thePresident, Senate Chairman, NA Speaker, Chief Ministers, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Chief Justices of the High Courts, and others.

The NSC should meet with the economic issues being presented in minute detail and decisions taken based on the options presented to it. Even the decision to dissolve the National Assembly and set the date for the next elections can come from national dialogue.