Thursday May 23, 2024

Military diplomacy

By Dr Farrukh Saleem
July 23, 2023

Military diplomacy has temporarily mitigated our economic emergency by a few months. Diplomatic military operations have managed to suppress the symptoms of the economic emergency, the real disease remains untreated. A mere four weeks ago, the rupee was in a free fall, the SBP was left with reserves that could only cover three weeks of imports, and investors were dumping Pakistan’s international bonds. Then came the totally unexpected Stand-By Agreement (SBA) with the IMF.

The next crucial review under the SBA is in November. The government must produce a primary surplus in the budget. The government must adhere to a market determined exchange rate. The government must undertake reforms particularly in the energy sector. The government must promote climate resilience and the government must improve the business climate. These are the conditions. The recent IMF report states: “Downside risks to the baseline and program implementation are exceptionally high.”

Are we all on the same page? 'Not on the same page' suggests that two or more people or parties involved do not have a shared understanding or agreement on a particular matter. It implies a lack of alignment or coordination. Being 'at odds' indicates that there is disagreement or conflict between individuals or groups. It suggests that they have differing opinions, perspectives, or objectives.

Powerful quarters seem to be in favour of prioritizing the economy. The ruling politicians are adamant on doing politics as usual. Powerful quarters seem to be in favor of fostering stability; the ruling politicians are resolute in their commitment to politics as usual. Powerful quarters seem to have recognized the urgent need to focus on the economy and address pressing challenges; the ruling politicians remain adamant in their pursuit of regular power games. With differing opinions, and perspectives, there seems to be a tussle, each prioritizing a distinct agenda. This dissonance hampers the ability to address pressing economic issues facing the nation.

There seems to be a clash of priorities. For the record, Pakistan’s pressing economic issues remain unaddressed, impeding growth and job creation. The urgency of economic challenges must be recognized at all levels. It is imperative to embrace a mindset of prioritizing the economy over individual or partisan interests.

It is crucial to emphasize the interdependence of political stability and economic prosperity, highlighting how alignment and collaboration can lead to a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved. It is critical for stakeholders at all levels to acknowledge the urgency of Pakistan’s economic challenges. It is imperative for us to adopt a collective mindset that places the economy above individual or partisan interests, and prioritize the measures needed for its revival and sustenance.

This is going to be an exceptionally tough IMF programme and the downside risks are 'exceptionally high’. By prioritizing the economy and putting aside differences, the nation can address the pressing economic issues it faces. It is time to unite under a common purpose and take the necessary steps to revive and sustain Pakistan’s economy for the benefit of all its citizens. The need of the hour is a shared commitment to put aside differences and prioritize the greater economic good.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. He tweets @saleemfarrukh and can be reached at: