The food and Fuel crisis is an international phenomenon. Even the most developed nations are suffering due to price hikes. The Guardian reported on 09 May 2022 that one in seven adults is estimated to be food-insecure, up 57% from January, owing to the rising cost of living. Estimated more than two million adults in the UK cannot afford to eat every day, a survey finds. The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January. The survey came as one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers called for urgent government action to help households cope with an anticipated £1,000 rise in bills this winter.
The situation in Sri Lanka is worrisome. Monday saw fierce clashes between government loyalists and protesters, resulting in seven deaths and forcing PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign. People have set on fire the government properties and law lessens have increased to an unprecedented level. Authorities imposed an indefinite curfew across the nation of 22 million people and called in the military to help contain the violence. A wide range of arrests was made, and unwarranted arrests are witnessed. Even, security forces have asked to shoot a spot. The root cause of this situation was due to price hike. The economy has sunk almost. The nation has almost reached a default stage. Even, IMF could not rescue the rapidly failing economy. China and India have provided some money, yet, could not survive.
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The country is passing through the worst unrest and a kind of civil war
The international crisis might have a direct impact on Pakistan. It is well understood that if the fuel prices in the international market have gone up, the adverse impact on Pakistan cannot be avoided. But, there are also many issues, which should have been addressed by our government. The locally grown agricultural products must be supplied at a reasonable price if the Government has appropriate policies. The Industrial products, manufactured in Pakistan, should have been monitored by the Government and the domestic prices must be monitored by the authorities.
It is understood, that if the input price increases due to imports, the domestic products might have been higher in price, but, should be well monitored. A common man is not interested in politics, who so ever form the government, the things that matter to him are his livelihood, his routine life, his job, and his affordability of basic necessities of life.
The food prices are the most hitting a common man. Imagine, if a person after working hard, cannot afford to feed his family, what will happen? The Utility charges are increased beyond the affordability. I am scared, now many people are complaining about load shedding, but, if implementing IMF terms and conditions, the Government increases the electricity tariff, we may not be able to afford electricity, even, if it is available. It will create more frustration and unrest.
IMF has strict terms and conditions and has declared if its conditions are not implemented, no funds will be released. The Government is in difficulty, either keeping IMF happy or its own public? It will be a tough choice, one on the cost of other, is not recommended option.
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Political unrest and inflation, are major challenges for the Government
Internal differences among ruling allies, and pressure from PTI, are on the nerves of the Government. PTI’s rallies and public pressure on the Government are growing gradually. Legal and constitutional issues are getting more complicated.
Under such a complex situation, where we are leading? What is the future of this nation? How to improve the situation and overcome the crisis, the relevant quarters must think wisely, and smartly and chalk out a strategic plan to come out of such severe challenges.
It is not a matter of ego, not a matter of personal liking or disliking, it is a matter of survival of the nation. We must think about reconciliation and find a way to bring the nation out of the crisis. An early election might help to reunite the nation and provide a platform to come out of the crisis. Let the public vote in the best interest of the nation and select the most suitable as their ruler. Let the scholars, intellectuals, politicians, and technocrats open debate in a constructive manner to pull the country out of the crisis. Collective wisdom must prevail in the best interest of the nation.
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.