INDUSTRIALISTS and businessmen have expressed serious concerns over continuing political instability in the country with far-reaching consequences for the national economy.
Reacting to the latest political developments that have added to the overall confusion, they have demanded of the political parties to shun their petty interests and instead sit together to forge consensus on how to take the country out of troubled waters.
The panic reaction of the industrialists and businessmen is understandable as no business can flourish in an uncertain environment and absence of sustainable policies.
No doubt, the successive governments tried their level best to give the country suitable policies and in fact some of them started bearing fruits but could not produce the desired results due to political upheavals, discontinuation of those policies by coming governments and law and order situation.
It is satisfying that the security concerns of the business community have been taken care of by the defence forces of Pakistan as they carried out successful operations against militants and trouble-makers in different regions of the country.
However, they are unable to plan for the long-term due to highly fluid political situation and the results of the recent by-elections in Punjab have added to the complexity of the environment as a major challenge has been thrown to the incumbent government in Punjab with ominous signs for smooth working of the federal government, which is adamant to complete the remaining term of the present assemblies.
No doubt, PML(N) is considered to be business-friendly but how can a Government deliver when it is uncertain about its future, rupee is shedding its value on a daily basis, stock exchange is plummeting and rating of the country has been downgraded by the relevant agencies.
Ease of doing business is fundamental to economic activity but after record increase in prices of POL products, the Government is set to increase the electricity tariff by Rs.10 per unit.
It is because of the economic vulnerabilities of the country that the IMF is coming out with more and more conditions for restoration of the stalled programme.
Under these circumstances, a Charter of Economy needs to be evolved on a priority basis as no party can deliver on this front without a national consensus.