From charter of economy to grand dialogue

Need to go ahead

In 2019 Shehbaz Sharif floated the idea of a roundtable discussion between all parties for reaching a consensus on a minimum economic agenda that was to be called charter of democracy and followed by every party when it came to power. Shehbaz maintained the charter was also needed so that no government could use the economy for the sake of politics. It was understood that there were more agreements than dissentions in political parties over economic policies. They all supported free market economy. Both PPP and PML-N had floated bonds in international markets and taken loans from the IMF and the World Bank. This was to be later followed by the PTI also. While Asif Zardari supported the idea of the charter of economy, PTI rejected it out of hand

The need for a grand dialogue on economy is again being felt because of the bad state of the economy. The challenges facing the country include current account deficit, fiscal imbalance, the rupee under pressure and declining forex reserves. There are things every party coming to power had struggled with like broadening the tax base and documenting the economy. There is a desire to work out a strategy that enables the country to decrease the unbearable pressure on the people caused by the lifting of subsidies on petrol, power and gas and helps the country to develop without taking resort to IMF.

The PTI has refused to join the dialogue, as it had done in 2019. Instead of canceling the dialogue, the several parties comprising the PML-N led alliance should sit together to work out a commonly agreed charter of economy to overcome current economic problems besides breaking the country’s cycle of eternal return to the IMF.

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

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