September , 2023
Current state of Pakistan’s economy and its relations with creditors
16:45 pm

Tirthankar Mitra

Presently, the Pakistani economy finds itself in a dire predicament, with its relationship with creditors hitting an all-time low. The nation’s engagement with an IMF program has faced repeated setbacks and disappointments.

A recent development involves the negotiation of a short-term Stand-By Agreement (SBA) with the IMF. Critics who deem the terms excessively harsh must consider that an alternative scenario could have led to a rupture in the country’s ties with the IMF.

Such an outcome would have left the Pakistani economy without any viable support avenues. Regrettably, the nation’s interactions with its creditors have been less than satisfactory.

Until the SBA is formally ratified, the looming spectre of default will persistently shadow Pakistan. Unfortunately, the economic landscape offers no promises of effortless solutions.

Upon the conclusion of the SBA, it becomes imperative to swiftly embark on a comparable economic program to stabilize Pakistan’s external sector. If the SBA does not yield satisfactory results, multiple rounds of debt restructuring may need to be undertaken.

Pakistan’s current situation mirrors a distressing era from 25 years ago, reminiscent of a nightmarish period during General Pervez Musharraf’s leadership.

In the early 2000s, as General Musharraf’s tenure commenced, private and multilateral creditors found themselves increasingly estranged. The aftermath of a nuclear detonation and subsequent sanctions had detrimental effects on an IMF agreement inked in 1997, ultimately leading to its termination.

During Musharraf’s regime, determined efforts were made to resuscitate the economy. This involved arduous negotiations for debt restructuring with private bondholders after their investments had experienced a sharp decline.

Musharraf’s political manoeuvres, such as dealing with the HUBCO situation, added complexity to the economic journey. The resolution of this and other challenges spanned a two-year period.

Though Musharraf’s promise of holding elections was delayed, the populace largely accepted this delay as the economy was being stabilized. His efforts to transition to civilian leadership through the formation of PML-Q, his own political entity, showcased his ambitions.

The path forward held further twists. The prolonged presence of US forces in Afghanistan, interrupted by the 9/11 events, significantly impacted stability.

Stabilizing the economy, while crucial, is not the sole concern for General Asim Munir. Taking inspiration from Musharraf’s approach by establishing a “king’s party” could have detrimental implications for Pakistani democracy.

This potential course of action could result in a significant election delay. The decision to uphold scheduled elections or defer them lies with the uniformed leader, who must contemplate the nurturing of a fledgling democracy still striving to establish firm roots over the years.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.