Urgent tasks for government and opposition

  • The timer is ticking fast

Imran Khan would do well to realise that he is required to take difficult decisions soon after he is anointed the new PM. Some of these relate to the economy, international relations, and internal security. Many think they are all interconnected. To settle the more immediate external obligations Pakistan needs $28 billion for the current year and a financing requirement of $75bn over three years. While Pakistan could seek assistance from friendly countries and raise money through international bonds, the amount is so big that Pakistan will have to knock at the IMF door. The US who holds the key to the door is adamant on Pakistan helping to bring peace to Afghanistan by bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. Further it wants Pakistan to choke the financial resources of the terrorist networks. The FATF team has left expressing a number of reservations about the efforts made by Pakistan so far in the direction. There is apparently resistance from certain quarters to the FATF demands.

A newspaper report tells of Pakistan’s debt liabilities swelling 83pc to Rs30trillion which constitutes 87pc of total size of the economy at the end of previous fiscal year. This requires painful adjustments like further depreciation of the rupee and extension of the tax net to fairly large sections of the moneyed classes left out of it on account of political exigencies. Also, restructuring of the Federal Board of Revenue and provincial revenue authorities and departments.

Attempts in the direction are likely to be stonewalled by the vested interest as well as its lobbies inside the PTI, particularly among the newly recruited turncoats. The PTI has to realise that it is a tough job to run a government without an absolute majority in parliament when it comes to implementing a reform agenda.

The PTI needs to seek the support for the common national cause from the opposition. While one expects the PTI to make significant moves to improve its relations with the opposition, one also expects the PPP and PML-N to act as responsible opposition and extend support to the PTI government in the fulfillment of common causes.