KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain said that the country is still in the red and the situation requires tough decisions leading to economic and political stability; therefore, an active political figure should be made caretaker Prime Minister.
He said that an active and energetic PM would continue difficult negotiations with the lenders, undertake reforms, and ensure work on the CPEC and the Special Investment Facilitation Council to “facilitate the promised investments” from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and other Arab investors.
He said that the parties involved in the ruling alliance have shown great unity under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the last 14 months, and it is expected that the coalition parties will also consider the issue of a caretaker Prime Minister amicably.
All the parties are trying to understand the sensitivity of the situation and will continue to cooperate with each other before and after the election, he said. Mian Zahid Hussain said that the head of the IMF has expressed good expectations about Pakistan, the Vice President of China is visiting Pakistan, and several MoUs have been signed. The stock market is also increasing, but an unwise political group wants to see Pakistan as a failed state to fulfil its agenda.
He further said that the interest rate is still 22 percent and there is a strong possibility of a further decline in the value of the rupee, which will make people more worried and businesses destroyed, so all the political forces should fight to save the economy instead of trying to get a lion’s share.
The standby programme of the IMF is a temporary relief, and the economy will only progress when there is political stability, so this programme should not be derailed by political conflicts.
The next IMF review will be held in November, and if successful, the loan tranche will be received in December. Therefore, the caretaker government will have to work hard to ensure the success of this review, for which the presence of a dynamic political caretaker Prime Minister will be a prerequisite.
The dire economic conditions of the country are proving to be a blessing in disguise for some people, and they are trying their best to create uncertainty and make the country default. Like the present government, the caretaker government also has to stop such conspiracies and efforts to spread chaos; otherwise, the situation may deteriorate, he warned.
He said that the rumours that the ruling coalition is divided on the question of the caretaker Prime Minister are unfounded.
He said that the interim Prime Minister should be a politician with extensive experience dealing with international organisations as the country is on the brink, while a failed politician wants anarchy in Pakistan that should lead to bankruptcy.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023