Political uncertainty persists

A threat to economic stability

The opposition alliance displayed haste in bringing down the PTI government despite sharp differences over how to deal with the issues emerging in the post-Imran Khan scenario. The PPP supported the idea of forming a government for the interim period that would remain in power till October 2023. A strong group within the PML(N), headed by Supremo Nawaz Sharif, advocated fresh elections soon after the goverment’s fall. The two sides meanwhile concentrated their energies on winning over PTI’s legislators and allied parties. The day the opposition tabled the no-confidence move, Mr Khan announced that his government would cut petrol and diesel prices and electricity charges. The move was designed to claw back some political space in the face of mounting threats from the opposition and to let the opposition face the financial consequences if it managed to come to power.

The opposition is now paying the price for its failure to prepare a post Imran strategy. The  PML(N) leadership lost four days in discussions in London that should have taken place in March or early April without evolving any line of action other than reaching out to the establishment to allow the coalition government a life span of 15 months. It would then take the tough decisions and also lay grounds for improving the people’s livelihoods that it could claim as credit. The establishment is meanwhile giving out signals that worry the ruling alliance, particularly the PML(N). Early this week former Finance Minister Hafiz Sheikh made a mysterious entry while he was provided VVIP protocol at Karachi airport. A day after a gleeful Sh Rashid claimed that interviews were being held in Rawalpindi and Islamabad for the post of an economist to be appointed caretaker PM.

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The country faces a highly uncertain situation. Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who is virtually leading the country’s economic team, has just cleared uncertainty on two counts. First that the new coalition government would stay in office and take tough decisions. Second, it would undertake reforms committed in the original IMF programme and complete structural benchmarks. It is anomalous that the country has a PM for over a month now but political uncertainty stops him from delivering his maiden address to provide a direction to the people and spell the future plans for their good.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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