The Karachi chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami has given a call for a shutdown in the country’s largest city for today against rising inflation, hike in power bills and fuel prices.
No doubt these challenges have added to people’s misery in a big way in an environment, which is strongly characterized by, among others, lower economic activity and rising joblessness in the country.
It is quite likely that the call of this political party will get traction in a meaningful manner for some obvious reasons. Having said that, I would like to raise two points in order to advance my argument for the attention of all those who have been protesting vociferously against the current state of affairs in relation to country’s economy.
Firstly, the season of strikes, so to speak, is unlikely to force the incumbent government to rescind or revisit its decisions mainly in view of the fact that it is not a political government and therefore has no political capital to lose at the altar of political expediency; it is an apolitical interim setup, although it prima facie appears to be a government which is hardly different from the outgoing government of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) insofar its political or governance outlook is concerned.
Meeting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions obligingly is its principal job until an elected government comes to power as a result of general election. Secondly, it is true that democratization has brought people the right to strike and stage protest demonstrations to raise their demands in a lawful manner.
However, little do our politicians realize that frequent shutdowns in this port city of teeming millions will further slow down economic activity and contribute to joblessness to the sheer chagrin of employers and employees alike.
Needless to say, Karachi, the economic hub of Pakistan, has already suffered too much for too long on account of violent and non-violent protests in the past.
Iqbal Ahmed (Karachi)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023