Now everyone knows



PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Monday he did not know at the time of assumption of power that Pakistan was at the verge of virtual default.

Speaking at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of hydel, power and infrastructure projects in DI Khan, he said it was due to concerted efforts of the coalition government and all other concerned institutions as well as prayers of the nation that the default has been averted.

He acknowledged that the country still faced challenges but expressed optimism that the government would change its destiny and put it on fast-paced progress and prosperity.

What the Prime Minister said is no secret as now everyone knows that the country is still not out of the woods and needs visionary policies and programmes to normalize the situation.

There is no denying the fact that the country was virtually at the brink of default when the coalition government took over after the success of the vote of no-confidence against the previous regime.

The Prime Minister and his economic managers deserve credit for taking tough and difficult decisions to avert immediate default but it has to be acknowledged that the threat is still there, prompting all kinds of rumours about what is in store for the country in weeks and months to come.

The foreign exchange reserves position is pretty precarious, ban on imports (which is understandable in the given circumstances) is forcing many industries and sectors to incur losses with some of them fearing closure squeezing employment opportunities further, IMF and friendly countries are showing reluctance in fulfilling their pledges and commitments, remittances by Overseas Pakistanis is on the decline, rupee continues to shed its value, exports are not picking up as per plans despite various incentives to specific sectors and investment is shrinking.

The position of the country is so fragile that social media is rife with speculations about financial emergency despite denials by the Finance Minister.

We have repeatedly been emphasizing in these columns that the incumbent government has the vision and capability to address the challenges facing the country but for that to happen political stability is the foremost requirement.

However, the government finds it almost impossible to market its policies and ideas both at home and abroad because of uncertainty about its future.

People are, therefore, genuinely asking why the national institutions have adopted a policy of somewhat indifference towards the critical financial position of the country, which is evident from lop-sided approaches and strategies that do not see beyond self-centred interests.