A crisis like no other
THE assassination attempt on PTI leader Imran Khan has plunged the country into chaos at a time when tensions between the opposition and government were already spiralling out of control. Such violence is condemnable and unacceptable. It should have no place in the country whose tortuous history has seen assassinations of political leaders in the past.
The tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto is still painfully fresh in the nation’s collective memory. But the attack on Khan last week also confirmed the worst fears of those who had been sounding an alarm about the increasingly explosive political situation descending into violence. Khan had frequently spoken about a threat to his life but carried on with his long march to press the demand for immediate elections.
After last week’s shooting tempers of angry PTI supporters have been rising to a fever pitch. Protests broke out in many cities. In his first press conference since being shot, Imran Khan called for the resignation of the prime minister, federal interior minister and a senior intelligence official, accusing them of plotting to murder him.
He offered no evidence but called for public protests until this demand was accepted. He also said the long march would resume once he recovered. Khan’s allegations prompted a strong response from ISPR, which emphatically rejected his “baseless and irresponsible” accusations against the army.
Unless there is political calm it would be difficult to get to the bottom of what happened in an impartial way. Accusations before an investigation has taken place will only hinder and muddy the waters in the search for the truth. Both the government and opposition need to bring down the political temperature so that a credible and transparent investigation can get underway.
Never before did the country have to confront so many serious challenges in such a divided and fractured state.
The tragic incident has left the country even more divided. It has compounded the seven-month-old political crisis, making its resolution even more problematic. This at a time when even before the attempt on Khan’s life, the country was reeling from multiple, overlap crises — political, economic, institutional — as well as the challenge of recovering from the worst climate-induced floods the country has seen.
Most significantly, intensifying political polarisation will serve as an impediment to the country’s ability to deal with a bigger challenge — a deeply troubled economy. The uncertainty generated by political unrest and turmoil is pushing the country to the edge of the economic precipice.
Far from being out of the woods the economy faces solvency challenges ahead. Despite the revival of the IMF programme, cash injections from friendly countries and other international financial institutions and assistance for floods, the country’s needs are enormous to finance the current account deficit and meet external debt obligations.
Foreign exchange reserves are at a three-year low, enough to cover just six weeks of imports. Two rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have downgraded Pakistan’s credit rating. The economic damage from floods, estimated at over $30 billion, has exacerbated the country’s financial difficulties. So has the economic fallout of the Ukraine war in the shape of soaring oil and food prices and the prospect of major LNG shortages in the coming winter months.
If current political troubles continue with no end in sight, it will exact an even heavier toll on a struggling economy, increase people’s economic hardship and leave the country in a more ungovernable state — regardless of cash help from friendly nations. Living on loans from outside will not fix Pakistan’s internal problems.
Divided & Division like December 1971.
Yes, Economy is tanking, but what about Kashmir aspiration?
what divided? 80% are with IK the Fauj will do what it did to Bengalis in 1971 to try to stop us
Pakistan in this situation is not now but over 50 years because unstable governments and control of army
Pakistan is already over the precipice and falling fast.
Borrowing money just to meet day to day expenditure does not help. Belt tightening, a long term 10 year plan to improve education, governance and industry is the only way out of this mess.
Pakistan's problems are not due to politicians. Since birth, the society has been fed with hatred against India and non issues like Kashmir. After 1975, the country is pushed away from modern education and towards religious fervent. Pakistan has received billions and billions of dollars in help. But, Instead of social development, the money went into building unnecessary military power. No one dare to talk about it. Compare India. Where that country has reached and how down we have gone.
A Dejected Pakistani
Pakistani politicians and establishment has turned this country into a banana republic.
"Two rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have downgraded Pakistan’s credit rating" Don't worry, these two rating agencies are going to upgrade Pakistan's credit rating ONLY they are waiting for a befitting reply from our magician FM Dar.
It is far ed to call Pakistan a country. It is more like Yugoslavia waiting for its 1992 moment.
In Pakistan, all want power, no one wants to put in hard honest work.
Mansur Ul Haque
Our politicians always consisted of land lord's. They never had the will to improve country.They wanted masses to remain backward/uneducated to have their authority. Problems are with politicians and it's solution is with them to save the country.
How come Imran Khan and only Imran Khan got injured when Imran Khan's only chest to head was visible & exposed. Am Just saying.
Dr. Master Baitor.
You reap what you sow.
You can't create a nation by carving out a piece of land.
The main problem is, Pakistan's ruling classes are not honest with its people. When you call a debt rollover offered by China as new money and start a national celebration, that shows how far the rulers are prepared to go to bend the truth.
Pakistan has a serious addiction problem. Addicted to loans and financial aid and loan forgiveness. It is difficult to kick this addiction.
This lady lied unabashedly in the UN about Kashmir flaunting Palestinian pictures, who will respect the country?? The country has lost all credibility and in a couple of months, as the prices continue to rise, the country will default. Just a matter of time.
Pakistan is always a failed state.
There is a dire and urgent need to amend the constitution and make all the pillars of power the legal stakeholders. This will create an honest society with checks and balances on each other.
No - not the worst crisis by far. The worst was when the guns and politicians commuted genocide in the East and pushed the people to the enemy and broken the country into halves But no one learns from that
@Justice, wake up to reality. When whole country is going down the drain, can you explain how Kashmir issue is relevant even to mention?
@Gulab, - CPEC has already rolled with $56 billion debt.
Selectors are getting a dose of their own medicine.
Tariq K Sami. M.D.
Pakistan is a vibrant country ; never a dull moment.
He was unable to gather people for his long march, as party insiders acknowledged. Who goes to Shaukat Khanum for gunshot wounds? Only if you control the staff and doctors there.
Minus the black sheep from the de ocratic element and the peace with stability will prevail. Don’t interfere should be the policy.
Glad to read the piece...the only solution to all our vows is political stability which can ensue from a strong central government.... be it of PMLM, PTI or PPP....
Whom are you kidding, every decade those of us who are older have witnessed similar debacles, similar tragedies and same statements from you and others.