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Fight for stability

Political instability is the central theme not just in Pakistan, but the world over. Former British PM Liz Truss lasted only 45 days. Her aim was to deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow the economy.

By throwing caution to the wind, she created a hurricane. Her poll numbers and the economy took a nose dive leading the way for a hasty resignation and opening the door to Britain’s first Asian, first Hindu and also first prime minister of colour.

It is a historic moment in history, which simply would not have happened even a decade ago. Three prime ministers in seven weeks have caused upheaval in the Tory party, as well as overall economic chaos. Enter Rishi Sunak, a politician with a proven track record of running the nation’s finances and the ability to create economic stability. This is exactly why Sunak was chosen.

The global political landscape over the last decade has produced brash and theatrical leadership. These individuals labour under the impression that they are fighting for morality and unity, but instead, they have created divisiveness and disorder. There is a fine line between being bold and being reckless. The latter comes across as brave and attractive, when in reality, it furthers inequality. Nations can ill-afford luxury and division. It sounds idealistic to say that all politicians need to be on the same page; however with the way the global economy is unraveling, there is no choice but to unite for the greater good.

In the midst of political chaos, Britain finally realized that they need a leader who has a deep understanding of the economy and a fiscally responsible figure. While he is yet to deliver on the myriad of challenges Britain faces, he was chosen for the right reasons. Fiscal responsibility and economic rejuvenation is the order of the day.

Drawing comparisons may be simplistic. However, Pakistan would do well to take a similar approach and solely focus on uplifting the economy. According to the World Bank, Pakistan’s economy is expected to grow by only two per cent in the current fiscal year ending June 2023. Pakistan continues to rely heavily on imported food and energy. In the past year, its foreign-exchange reserves have decreased by more than half and the rupee has lost 24 per cent of its value against the dollar. Let’s not forget that the recent floods have disrupted Pakistan’s agricultural production which unfortunately is out of Pakistan’s control. But efforts can be made to tone down the political temperature.

Political agitation has been extremely counterproductive, and at this stage, politicians cannot afford to be at odds. For example, disqualifying the former prime minister in this manner will only create more turmoil. However, even in a tumultuous political environment, good governance and astute policy making is possible. Pakistan has recently been removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘grey list’ after four years. It took smart reform measures carried out by successive governments and the security agencies to get Pakistan off the watch list. This was no easy task, but it is an important lesson to all that even under strenuous circumstances, the country’s leadership can band together and make important decisions.

The time has come for Pakistan, and even other countries with a struggling economy, to hit the pause button. We have a huge appetite for politics which is loaded with conflict and scandal. If we continue to encourage this narrative, the economy and human condition will only get worse. It is also important for the media to constantly highlight the economic challenges Pakistan is facing so we get a thorough understanding of how dire the situation is.

The only fight Pakistan should be thinking about is the fight for stability. It no longer has the luxury for political tussles and long marches. Rectifying the economy and creating political stability is the only option. It’s that simple.

The writer is a veteran journalist, political analyst and author. He can be reached at: humayun.gauhar786@gmail.com

Humayun Gauhar, "Fight for stability," The News. 2022-10-29.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political stability , Political chaos , Politicians , PM Liz Truss , Rishi Sunak , Pakistan , FATF