Some countries came forward to help
Some countries of the world have now come forward to help Pakistan. Better-placed countries have come forward with generous commitments of around US$10 billion following the intervention of the UN Secretary-General. According to a report in Islam Khabar, sensing the emergency, some friendly countries including Saudi Arabia and UAE have given four billion dollars this month. At present, there are concerns about the worldwide recession. The World Bank had predicted on January 13 that Pakistan’s economy growth could slow down to 2 percent this year. This is 2 percent less than the World Bank’s estimate in June 2022.
Effects of flood still going on
Six months have passed since the floods in Pakistan. But Dawn’s on-land traveler SF Azaduddin writes that there is still water in many places. There are no signs of water management or renewed agriculture. It is understandable till the time of flood. But 6 months have passed and now there is acute shortage of food.
acute shortage of flour
Imagine that a country with the most irrigated and fertile wheat-growing land in the world is short of flour and doesn’t even have the money to import it. Market reports say that a 20 kg bag of flour costing Rs 1,200 has gone up to Rs 3,000.
Pakistani rupee is overvalued
The Pakistani rupee has depreciated to a three-month low as talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) dragged on. The Express Tribune (January 12, 2023) quoted a currency exchange expert as saying, ‘The true value of the Pakistani rupee is Rs 260-270 per dollar in the black market. The government has artificially kept the currency overvalued. This is being done to meet the conditions of the IMF. In a report, Islam Khabar said that due to the falling economic output of Pakistan, the regional growth rate is also coming down. It projected Pakistan’s GDP growth rate to be 3.2 percent in 2024, down from the earlier estimate of 4.2 percent.
Help is being sought on the pretext of climate
The new trend is climate change, as if only Pakistan is affected by it. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says the country will need $16.3 billion over the next three years to improve its ability to cope with climate change and initial efforts to rebuild. Sharif had earlier taunted Imran Khan for ‘begging’. Now Khan is also criticizing Sharif with the same words. The overall point is that ‘begging’ continues, irrespective of who rules Pakistan. But the country has failed to acknowledge the damage caused by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to the Himalayas in Gilgit-Baltistan.
demand for agricultural emergency
Due to delay in announcement of support price, farmers are reluctant to increase wheat acreage. They are calling for an “agri-emergency” because of fertilizer shortages and poor crop prospects. Khalid Mahmood Khokhar, chairman of the Pakistan Kisan Ittehad (PKI), said that instead of promoting domestic wheat production, the government is supporting farmers in other countries by buying the commodity at higher prices.
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