Mr. Khan astride the Pile of Economic Turbulence, surrounded by Ticking Foreign Pressure Bombs
Whatever the circumstance of the arena was, let us embrace the 3rd continuous Democratic change of power in Pakistan that took place on 25th of July, 2018. Mr. Imran Khan who is a former cricket star and Chairman of “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf”, a party that emerged as a majority party in the National Assembly of Pakistan. Mr. Khan, to be the 19th Prime Minister of Pakistan has to bear and drive Pakistan through some crucial time impending our way.
It seems very fascinating that George Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the United States few days back responded to news circulating about a possible bailout package to Pakistan by the International Monitory Fund [IMF]. He clearly said, “We will not allow IMF to provide Pakistan the aid it will use to pay Chinese Loans.”
In a fact that it was a response to a Government that hasn’t been formed yet, there were no surprises at all, IMF is the brain child of American influenced side of Global Organizations but IMF has been a seasonal partner of Pakistan’s struggling economy accompanied by implications and instructions, a tax payer was gloomy to hear.
The statement is enough to Judge what ground Imran Khan & Pakistan is about to start a new innings on. With the shift of sides seen in 21st Century. We can say Pakistan has been through it too. United States is clearly not happy with Pakistan choosing China-Russia block. Pakistan has already provided China a route that is going to be a sigh of relief for the rising economy of China amidst the troubles in South China Sea. The change of sides for Pakistan will definitely have some repercussions, most of which will be in the form of bad news & restrictions from the West.
Pakistan’s stumbling economy always relies on periodic Foreign Loan Injections after each political swing of power. Asad Umer who is yet to fill the vacancy of Finance Minister of Pakistan, denied his Government approach towards IMF. However, there is news circulating about Pakistan’s approach towards Islamic Development Bank for 4 Billion Dollars of loan.
The only thing that is morally coming in striking the newly elected Government is the vows and severely controversial promises Imran Khan has made during political gatherings before the elections. Independency on Foreign Loans was one and no doubt the most prominent one of them. However, the past 5 years tell us something else. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led Government in KP took more than 3 trillion of Loans.
It is going to be a tough race for the ruling party as Pakistan has yet to satisfy Financial Action Task Force [FATF], a major barrier on International Platform for Pakistan. Shift from Grey List to Backlisted countries will not only Degrade Pakistan’s Ratings on International Forums but Pakistan will have a hard time processing all the funds transferred internationally due to a close watch and check by the international observers. Inflated Interest rates, lack of foreign investments and other serious consequences are also the deadly aftershocks that will accompany this move by FATF.
Thousands of Pakistanis working abroad sent Billions of Rupees to Pakistan annually, to their families. All of this money is at stake and this news is nothing less than a big blow towards Pakistan. In fact, Iran and North Korea are not far to observe. Therefore, the FATF scenario is a serious challenge for the new Government.
The only thing that has retained United States from openly targeting Pakistan is the reason that thousands of its NATO troops are still in Afghanistan which itself is a huge unanswered question mark on the face of United States. Pakistan has a lot to play in the undecided fate of Afghanistan, another Policy the newly elected Government has yet to clarify its stance on.
Another key problem for Imran Khan is the Political trend he himself has introduced that is political strikes in the form of either sit ins or other instructions he has given to his followers before. Those cards are likely to be played by the biggest ever Opposition in the history of Pakistan which will haunt him in the coming future.
However, hundreds of cases pending in the National Accountability Bureau of Pakistan will decide the fate of united opposition, how long will it last to sponsor democratic opposition. This Political unrest is neither preferred by our all-weather friend China nor is it of any benefit for the current international arena.
Mr. Khan is surrounded by not so experienced players in his Government at top levels and the time that is upon Pakistan requires great and utter attention from all stake holders. How Imran Khan the Prime Minister to be will chose his Foreign Office members and its Cabinet to tackle the challenges that he is facing will clearly affect everything either directly or indirectly but let’s hope in a way Pakistan gets a chance to move forward.