KARACHI: Despite lapse of 14 months, Prime Minister Imran Khan is still faced with grave economic, political and foreign policy challenges, as anti-Pakistan and anti-democratic forces are constantly creating hurdles in the way of Pakistan’s economic well being.
First of all, Imran Khan was labeled as an agent of the Jew lobby, and then he was accused of being an Ahmedi or an Ahmedi sympathizer. However, all these conspiracies disappeared after Khan’s strong stance at the United Nations.
Now, the economy still remains the biggest challenge for PTI’s government. Pakistan received around $6 billion worth of financial support from the International Monitory Fund (IMF), which is one of the toughest financial packages that the country has ever obtained, with serious implications for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government.
PTI’s government is taking the loan at a time when the party literally has nowhere else to turn for financial support that can match what is being offered by the IMF.
The country’s current account deficit (cad) in the first quarter of current fiscal year declined by a huge 64 per cent mainly on the back of a 21pc reduction in the imports bill. The reduced current account deficit is a positive omen for the government, which is struggling with slow economic growth and high inflation.
It is however true that the demand has been suppressed to a significant extent, which is evident from rising unemployment, declining industrial production and empty shopping centers etc. Analysts argue that Pakistan’s economy was black money driven and as a crackdown is launched on the black money, the demand is reduced to its actual level.
Analysts suggest that black money fueled the trading activities and increased the market demand, which is not the case anymore after corruption, smuggling and crime has been reduced under the leadership of Imran Khan.
The institutions known to be most corrupt are improving their image as the officers and officials are scared of indulging in corrupt practices.
Elimination of concessionary SROs including SRO 1125(I)/2011 resulted in declining imports; monitoring of green channel facility by Customs as well as sensitive agencies discouraged mis-declaration and under-invoicing. Industrial sector particularly textile sector relied on mis-declared and under-invoiced imports of raw material. Since misuse of green channel facility is reduced to a significant extent, it reflected on industrial activity.
Officials criticized separating sales tax from Customs and formation of Inland Revenue department on the directives of IMF and World Bank in 2009. Officials say Inland Revenue was formed combining income tax and sales tax within days on World Bank and IMF pressure without taking the market fundamentals in consideration, and it resulted in huge revenue loss to the national exchequer.
On geo-political front Imran Khan is mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which is not well received by the world powers as peaceful relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are not in their favor.
Moreover, Imran Khan is forming an alliance between Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia, which would bode well for these countries as well as for the entire Muslim world. These steps taken by PM Imran Khan have spread a wave of unease among the world powers and certain quarters within the country itself.
Analysts believe that the campaign of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman is a desperate attempt to derail and distract Imran Kahn’s vision for the country as well for the Muslim world. It may be mentioned here that politics in Pakistan has always been race based or province-based, but it is for the first time a national political approach is developed by Imran Khan.
Pakistan’s armed forces and Imran Khan’s government have developed a synergy and leading the nation to a better tomorrow. Although, there are certain obstacles such as black sheep in the government, agitating business community and pawns of foreign powers, but the government as well as army are committed to the cause and soon the country would be sailing in smooth waters.