Journey of progress
While addressing the inauguration ceremony of liquefied gas plant at Kark, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed that the PML-N government has put the country on the path of development according to the vision of Nawaz Sharif and added that it is up to the masses that they would give vote to those who are abusing or to those who believe in decent politics. He said that the people would decide in July in general elections and expressed the optimism that the electorate would decide in favor of PML-N.
Economic progress and prosperity mantra has all along been the favorite public relations theme of this mainstream political party but its leadership fails to ameliorate the condition of the masses. In the second tenure of PML-N government the campaign of “Qarz Utaro Mulk Sanwaro”did not result in reducing the debt burden. On the contrary, the country reached to the verge of default with dropping of the foreign exchange reserves to the dangerous level of $ 600 million. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed a fine of $ 100 million on Pakistan on account of fudging the figures and economic indicators of the economy. The fine was then paid by the Government of President Musharraf and in the first three year of his government the country got freedom from loans liability of IMF.
In the current tenure the present government acquired $ 45 billion loans including the $ 6.6 billion Extended Fund Facility loan of the IMF. The total foreign debt now stands at $ 90 billion. In August, last year World Bank in its report “South Asia Focus Fall, 2017″highlighted macro economic imbalances of Pakistan’s economy including the alarming current account deficit because of falling exports and surging imports, fast rising debt burden and budget deficit. The IMF in its recent report has painted very gloomy picture of the economy and issued an ominous warning that risks pertaining to Pakistan’s economic and financial outlook have increased and its debt repayment capacity in the mid term and long term has weakened. International Credit Rating Agencies Fitch and Moody have changed the financial outlook of Pakistan from stable to negative. The country has slipped down to 147th position on the World Bank Index of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ because of the extremely unfavorable economic environment which is evident from the stagnation in the textile sector. Pakistan is confronted with diplomatic isolation, even China and Saudi Arabia abandoned it in the FATF meeting and consequently the country has to be put back on the ‘grey list’ if it fails to improve its antimony laundering and counter terrorism regime.
The socio economic indicators do not support the claims of the government. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report reveals that human development index (HDI) is 0.5 percent which is abysmally low. In the current tenure of present government the number of people living below the poverty line has increased and now 60 percent of country’s population lives below the poverty line. In the previous PPP government 40 percent of the total population was living below the poverty line. There is colossal unemployment. The people are not getting clean drinking water, sanitation system is in dilapidated condition and health facilities are unsatisfactory. The dynamics of election depends on the clout of the candidates and support of government machinery in Punjab, Interior Sindh and Baluchistan and not on the economic performance of the political party that has remained in power before general elections.