Rebuttal of articles published in the International media

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We note with concern that certain international publications have printed fabricated narratives on the state of the Pakistan’s economy and the popularity of the Imran Khan led PTI government. These publications have printed extremely biased one sided articles, ignoring the views of the government or the independent assessments of its development partners including the IMF, World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Inflation has become a global challenge, with the US, UK, EU and all emerging markets facing the highest inflation in the last three decades. Pakistan’s economy is also facing the inflation headwinds due to record high international energy and food prices. However, in line with our vision of a social welfare state the government have provided unprecedented relief measures to the masses through lowering prices of petrol, diesel and electricity and rolling out the most comprehensive targeted food subsidy program across Pakistan covering 20 million households (54% of population).

People recognize the steps taken by the government to provide relief to the masses.

That is why we have seen Imran Khan’s popularity rise in the last few months, with the March 2022 IRIS public survey showing that Imran Khan remains Pakistan’s most popular political leader with approval rating off 35% compared to the opposition leaders Nawaz Sharif(20%), Shahbaz Sharif (8%) and Asif Zardari (4%).

Hence, we see the opposition is desperately trying to bring down the PTI government by a vote of no confidence through buying loyalties of the elected members of the ruling party and its allies.

This latest episode of political unrest is aimed at crippling the economy at a time when the economy has shown rapid recovery from the COVID pandemic shock, termed by the IMF as the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Effective data driven response has helped Pakistan to control the pandemic and outperform other countries. GDP growth accelerated to 5.4% in 2021, after the pandemic induced contraction of -0.5% in 2020. In comparison, USA economy contracted -4%, EU -8%, India -7.3% and the Gulf states by -5%.

According to the World Bank data, Pakistan outperformed all regional economies during the 2020-2022 COVID period, with the lowest unemployment rate in the South Asia region at 4.3% compared to India 8%, Bangladesh 5.4% and Sri Lanka 5.9%. Record fiscal and monetary stimulus package of Rs 2.5 trillion (6% of GDP or $ 16 billion) was unveiled by the Government in March 2020. The stimulus package focused on emergency cash assistance to 15 million families through the Prime Minister’s EHSAAS program, the largest ever social welfare transfers in Pakistan’s history covering nearly 45% of the total population. On top of this the government has provided free of cost vaccination to over 127 million citizens against COVID.

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