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The entire nation is waiting for a rather irrelevant document called the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) with the International Monetary Fund for resumption of IMF programme to unlock the stalled tranche. It is irrelevant for the reason that it does not provide any cure or remedy for the ills afflicting the country.

The IMF is not a cure for any economic problem for any country. It is an institution or an establishment like a hospital where ailing economies are placed by the international community. Once an ailing person is taken to hospital then he or she has to follow the protocol of the hospital which may include special diet, no recreation, special dress, etc. These are called ‘IMF conditionalities’. They are always painful but inevitable.

We don’t yet know what lies in store for us–I

Once a person is in an IMF hospital three kinds of remedies are made available to him or her. It may be chemotherapy, surgery or outright transfer to hospice care. That chemotherapy is not without certain side-effects, including baldness, is a fact. Pakistan has been admitted to this hospital 23 times in its history of seventy-five years; however, there has been no cure per se.

This means that either the patient has not taken the required steps towards his or her cure or the hospital is not capable to provide the right medical treatment. Both the possibilities are there. However, in the present world there is only one hospital for the treatment of this: the IMF.

In 2023, Pakistan has reached a stage where corrections have become inevitable. It can be this or that way. There is nothing unknown in the world of economics and finance. These subjects are based on facts, not illusions and perceptions.

The report attached with the Sixth Review of the IMF is not very encouraging insofar as its projection of the expected foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows is concerned. Pakistan has been shown afloat on the basis of an expected FDI of $ 55 billion in the upcoming four years from 2024 to 2028. This will not be possible if the present political and economic situation continues to persist.

The equation that will emerge will not save Pakistan economically with an illusionary and unrealistic security paradigm.

There is no danger to anyone from a ‘weak’ neighbour, which we are. Our real deterrent is nuclear. However, dialogue is the only answer with concerted efforts on the neglected subject of economics and the well- being of the common man. Thus there is only one option, which is quite obvious: peace.


Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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Muhammad Ali Mar 31, 2023 10:19am
It will be foolish to pin hope on those who ruined this country steadily since independence especially in last 39 years (1979-2018). The patient needs major surgery by new doctors.
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Javaid Ahmed Mar 31, 2023 10:58am
Will our religious and military establishments so deeply entrenched, is peace a realistic or acceptable option on the table?
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Toto Mar 31, 2023 12:51pm
@Javaid Ahmed, why military and religious only ... Your political leadership to a common procurement officer sitting in organizations have been corrupt
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Zak Mar 31, 2023 09:05pm
Taxing those who are loosening their purse strings during surging inflation and catastrophic economic mess is a crime. Blaming and scapegoating "elite" is like punishing the hand that is feeding. Ninety nine percent of Pakistanis want to be rich and wouldn't think twice making money the easy way.
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Builder Apr 01, 2023 05:14am
Whether by FDI or increase in revenues, Pakistan needs organic growth. This circle of debt has to be exited if we want to move forward with dignity.
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Safdar Imam Apr 01, 2023 12:47pm
Yes; the biggest responsibility of the Rulers is to ensure Peace. Prosperity automatically flows by the internal dynamics of human society.
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