Instead of realizing the seriousness of the crisis Pakistan is facing today, the ruling class is busy preparing itself and power for the next elections to be held later this year. The condition of Pakistan’s permanent ruling army is no different. Despite public tall talk, the army is back to its old game of selecting leaders who follow orders to manipulate domestic politics ahead of elections. It is taking foreign policy into its own hands, including negotiating with international lenders.
Will the burden on the public increase?
The only way Pakistan now has to avoid default is to ensure that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) releases the final tranche ($1.1 billion) of the current programme. But the anti-people terms of the IMF, demanding an increase in energy prices and tax increases, could further add to the turmoil in the country. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is left with no option but to comply with these conditions or pack-up.
Will America save Pakistan?
The Army is set to bring in an interim setup to take these unpopular decisions as well as hold talks with the lender for the next schedule. But without US approval, the IMF will not budge an inch. While the Ukraine conflict remains a priority for the Biden administration, they also realize that Afghanistan could once again become a bastion of terrorist groups hostile to US interests. Certainly America and its allies will take steps to bail Pakistan out of the crisis as they cannot allow Pakistan with nuclear weapons to default.
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