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Imran Khan: Pakistan will soon emerge as the leading economy in the region

Geo-strategist and Chairman of Centre for Geo-Politics and Balochistan, Jan Achakzai, explains the dynamics of the economic, political and security challenges faced by Imran Khan-led government. From the harsh prerequisites imposed by the IMF bailout programme to the recent wave of terrorism in Balochistan, and the opposition’s show of unity against his government, Achakzai maps out PM Khan’s success in combatting these challenges.

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On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan noted that Pakistan is currently going through the “worst economic crisis” but assured that the turmoil gripping the economy will soon come to an end with consolidated cooperation between the government and the community of businessmen.

Addressing a delegation of influential businessmen who were present to put forward suggestions to avert the economic crisis, Imran Khan noted that the country is presently witnessing the greatest deficit of its 70-year history. But he assured that Pakistan will soon emerge as “the leading economy in the region”.

Economic Crisis & Financial Insecurity

Jan Achakzai, a senior political analyst and geo-strategic, observed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is certainly making its way out of the economic crisis. He noted that after the IMF bailout, “the obvious spectre of default is over”.

The IMF programme will choke Pakistan’s economy and restrict its GDP growth to 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent. It will increase unemployment, devalue the rupee and accelerate inflation.

Achakzai pointed out that now Pakistan’s ability to access funds provided by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the private labor market is ensured, the severity of the turmoil has been reduced considerably. He observed, “Domestic revenue generation path is cleared”.

Financial experts are of the opinion that the Pakistani rupees will undergo further depreciation, around another 20%, over the next three years due to the free-float exchange rate mechanism, a prerequisite put forward by the IMF in exchange for the $6 billion bailout package.

Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan, member of Prime Minister Khan’s Economic Advisory Council, noted that the IMF programme is simply not “in the interest of Pakistan”. Whilst speaking to the Khaleej Times, Dr. Khan stated, “The IMF programme is not in the interest of Pakistan and it’s going to be very painful for the economy”.

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He added, “The IMF programme will choke Pakistan’s economy and restrict its GDP growth to 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent. It will increase unemployment, devalue the rupee and accelerate inflation.”

Uncertainty Almost Over?

Iqbal Dawood, president of the Pakistan Business Council, while speaking to Khaleej Times, noted that the constant decline in the currency’s value will cause inflation to heighten uncontrollably. He stated, “Inflation will go up and prices of all essential items will increase and the common man will be in trouble. Our past experiences show that the devaluation of the rupee will not help boost exports of the country.” Dawood concluded that the PTI-led government is in a “tough position” and trying its best to avert the crisis, however, he stressed, “It seems to address the issues by this step”.

Jan Achakzai stressed that the “uncertainty over all is over”, and the federal government can eliminate the challenge by widening the tax net base. He added, “Amnesty schemes are a few measures to rescue the economy. Stock exchange’ negative rally is worldwide phenomenon as over $1 Trillion wiped out over last week after US-Iran crisis.” Achakzai concluded that the reshuffled economic team enjoys huge respect in the country and across international economic bodies.

Achakzai notes that Imran Khan benefits from the fact that there is a “lack of unity in opposition”, whilst the scores of NAB cases of corruption filed against the senior leadership of both PPP and PML-N, puts them in a serious conundrum.

Enemy Stirring up New Wave of Terror?

Last week, Balochistan was gripped by two brutal and extensively planned terrorist attacks within a period of three days. First it was the attack on Gwadar’s Pearl Continental Hotel, but later, on Monday night, a blast was observed near a mosque in Quetta’s Satellite Town.

The blast occurred right after a police van parked near the mosque to provide security to the worshippers offering Taraveeh prayers. It martyred four policemen and 12 others, including four men of the Rapid Response Group (RRG).

While commenting on the fresh wave of terror incidents across the country, especially Balochistan, the epicenter of the economic activity and geostrategic significance of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, geo-strategist Jan Achakzai blames the enemy (India) for stirring up turmoil for Imran Khan’s government. He stated, “Fresh wave of terror incidents across the country is another sign the enemy thinks to stall efforts for stability hence to distract the government by stirring up terrorism.”

Read more: Pakistan Economy’s Progress Card

Achakzai observed that New Delhi lost the spectre of using its position in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to blacklist Pakistan, because once the deal with IMF was concluded and the National Action Plan was fully implemented, India no longer had grounds to blame Pakistan for “not taking concrete action” against alleged “terror havens”.

Achakzai noted, “The Spectre of blacklisting through FATF receded after deal with the IMF, the implementation of the National Action Plan, regulation of all banned outfits, and the UN listing of Maulana Masood Azhar, as a global terrorist.” He further added that the political crisis with India has been settled, but the military continues to remain on standby in case New Delhi attempts to undertake another misadventure.

Opposition United Against PM Imran Khan

Political analyst Jan Achakzai observed that Imran Khan is succeeding in his attempts to eliminate the political status quo, and “political stability is also being entrenched”. He noted that the 26th Amendment, which was unanimously approved by the National Assembly on 13th May, is a measure that allows increased number of seats from former FATA in the national and provincial (KPK) assemblies.

Referring to recent polls and reports, Jan Achakzai observed, “All surveyors suggest people still trust the government & want to give benefit of doubt on price hike & other hardships.”

Achakzai notes that Imran Khan benefits from the fact that there is a “lack of unity in opposition”, whilst the scores of NAB cases of corruption filed against the senior leadership of both PPP and PML-N, puts them in a serious conundrum. He added, “Prime Minister Imran Khan’s confidence in Parliament was worth noting after forcing the entire opposition to support his vision on FATA reforms.”

Chairman for the Centre of Geo-Politics and Balochistan, Jan Achakzai stressed; “He (PM Khan) is facing no prospects of offset in the near future”.

While commenting on the news circulations of a rather high-profile and mysterious Iftar dinner hosted by PPP Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, for PMLN leadership, including Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz, PTM’s Ali Wazir and MNA Mohsin Dawar along with JUI-F leaders, Jan Achakzai rubbished all notions of such an alliance toppling Imran Khan’s influence. He commented, “JUI-F is only bluster, and PPP and PML-N have no street muscle to force the government out”.

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Referring to recent polls and reports, Jan Achakzai observed, “All surveyors suggest people still trust the government & want to give benefit of doubt on price hike & other hardships.” He highlighted that the opposition hopes to get people to come out on the street once the June budget is announced is “highly misplaced”. Achakzai concluded that “PPP and PML-N are still low in popularity, even on vote patterns”.

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