There were tremors in the country as the Pakistani rupee lost 5.7 percent of its value as markets opened on Monday, with the rupee to the dollar rising to a record Rs 128.50.
This is the second major price shakeup that has been underseen by the caretaker government. The first was the hike in petrol prices into triple digits after a long time. That one the caretakers had been able to manage. That was their decision and after some pressure, they were taken back down to nearly the original rates.
The rise of the dollar, or rather the fall of the rupee, might just be a little beyond them. One should remember, the caretakers are meant to administer elections as well as they are to govern. The ‘limited’ powers everyone keeps mentioning in reference to them has more to do with the amount of time they have on their hands and their inability to legislate. Even though they cannot make official policy changes or initiate anything, a country can only be left on autopilot for so long.
There is now barely a week left in the tenures of our caretakers. They have fulfilled a historic role and have had the opportunity of a lifetime. In their short span they have overseen big moment’s in the country’s history, admittedly them not very good moments, Mastung and the rupee falling being the latest.
But the caretakers are an important electoral tradition in Pakistan now. It is unfortunate that they have to be since it indicates the weakness of a democracy when it cannot reboot itself without needing extraordinary measures to ensure transparency, which is still not guaranteed.
As we have seen with CM Askari’s actions in response to the returning Sharifs, these men unattuned to governing can often flounder under pressure, or even express with legitimate power dangerous tendencies.
Whatever the situations, the caretakers don’t have long now, and that is probably for the best. Because there are all kinds of uphill challenges staring Pakistan down, and we at least need an elected government, for now, no matter which. The people are getting restless.
FALLING LEVELS OF DISCOURSE:
The League can’t seem to catch a break no matter what they do. Sure, they’ve had their fair share of bad calls with worse consequences, but even when they do exactly what their opposition wants them to do they get some new reason why that was the worst, most evil course of action possible.
One fascinating scene was when Junaid Safdar was involved in a scuffle outside the Avenfield apartments. It was interesting because Safdar’s cousin, who had turned his back and gone back inside, was called out for being a coward while Safdar was simultaneously criticised for being a thug.
It was the same when the Sharifs returned. First, they were called out for not coming back. When they did, why did they come back with their heads held high rather than with tears streaming down their cheeks?
The comments, of course, come mainly from the PTI. There is much to criticise the League over, but it shows the level of the PTI’s discourse that this is how they choose to take on the League. Not surprising considering the vast intellect their chairman is famed for.