By Senator Rehman Malik
It is very worrying to notice the fast decline of rupees which has even surpassed Rs180 to a dollar now. Inflation is on the rise and the growth rate has gone further down. The price hike is rising consistently and the common man is being crushed. Now reports are emerging from international quarters about our deteriorating situation and Pakistan is likely to default.
My article, “Save Pakistan from bankruptcy” appeared in The Nation lately, on November 11, which was read by a large number of readers and many have raised some questions. I had written this article on the basis of the deteriorating condition of the economy of Pakistan. My further views on this topic are as under.
Our issue is that we have been unable to bring independent fiscal policies since long as the already existing-economic policies remained dependent on donors from the West including the IMF and World Bank. All our economic experts are under the influence of the IMF and World Bank which is under the direct control of the West. You may notice what is being done to harm Pakistan through FATF and how the unjustified grey list is damaging us in the international market.
Similarly, DisinfoLab EU has also exposed Indian anti-Pakistan operations as to how India is damaging the interests of Pakistan by feeding fake news and anti-Pak propaganda. The West initiated a number of moves in the past to attempt to bring Pakistan under their control by framing Pakistan into the so-called jihad and its conflict with extremists and terrorists as a first step. This situation brought the growth rate to the negative side and the inflow of investments to Pakistan almost stopped derailing the economy. Pakistan was sucked into this aimless engineered war which we have been fighting against sponsored terrorists which were later on transformed into TTP and Daesh. These terrorists are now a big threat to our country.
It is important to examine the mind-set of the West in view of their past biased attitude towards Pakistan. It is hard fact that the west was never happy with our nuclear assets as it did everything possible to block our nuclear development. Pakistan made it possible at the cost of animosity with the west. Now we are on the verge of being declared as a defaulted nation and if that happens then it is going to add more miseries to our country and subsequently, it will bring major irreversible financial implications for the business community and adverse impact on our socio-economic foundation. There will be an increase in poverty that will crush the middle class further. The economy will hit at its lowest and the rupee will encounter an unhindered down-slide. The West is artificially creating the risk and probability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Taliban which the west has been propagating for many years. They have created these jihadists and extremists which have been causing non-stop damage to Pakistan with ulterior motives and with foreign funding.
The use of “terrorist card” against Pakistan is again in action by the West as they are now using TTP and Daesh from the Afghan soil. As a result of this dirty game being played by the West and India, attempts will be made to pressurise Pakistan to give up its nuclear assets which have been the main target of the West. Our nation will not succumb to these dirty tricks and will not give up our nuclear assets. The government should never consider even thinking on these lines. There will be well-planned traps and threats of sanctions to deprive us of our lifetime achievement of having attained the status of a nuclear state.
The Bush Administration accused the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Dr Abdul Qadir Khan of running a black market of nuclear weapons providing uranium to Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea after his government faced a backlash and criticism because no prohibited unconventional weapons had been found in Iraq.
The alleged threat of such weapons was the Bush administration’s justification for going to war against Iraq.
We have to give a befitting response in categorical terms to our enemies that we will not give up on our assets come what may and we will defend it as the pride of our nation and will not allow IAEA to examine our assets like Iran was tricked into it and the world witnessed two blasts and killing of their nuclear scientists giving irreversible damage to their nuclear programme. The Western intent against Pakistan is quite clear from the above statements. Hence, we need to work out a national counterplan as a “national way forward to survive and adopt a doable economic policy to get rid of our loans and improve our economic indicators to stand on our feet. Giving in to the west will be suicidal and hence the nation should get united to come up with a solution to save the country and perhaps a complete change in our collapsed administrative and economic models as the failures cannot be allowed to be replicated. I would like to warn my fellow countrymen that our default is around the corner, hence, we need to take hard decisions for the survival of our motherland and force the government to take the required steps to get out of this trap designed by the west. The West is fully prepared and out to destroy us and we must not follow the IMF agenda through their paid employees.
I have been raising my voice against the continuous depreciation of the rupee and increase in prices of basic food commodities, oil, and petroleum products and advising the government to take necessary steps by banning unnecessary imports. Our country imports tin foods for pets which costs us around $100 million which is highly unreasonable. Similarly, the import of luxury food items like chocolates, chips, or tin foods is non-essential and uncalled for. Why should we import such unnecessary stuff as I think the Pakistani elite can live well even without these luxury items? There is a need to recall my observations on economic indicators as under:
The nation knows that it was me who predicted the fall of the Rupee for the first time when a dollar was equivalent to Rs115 which was based on economic indicators. The volume of foreign debt increases in billion rupees with every fall of rupee and we come under further immense pressure. Have our economists on the helm affairs ever examined the growth of other countries in South Asian/SAARC countries?
The growth of these countries can be well imagined from their stable currencies.
The value of the Indian rupee against one dollar is 74, Bangladeshi Taka is 85.65, Bhutani rupee is 74.27, and Nepalese rupee is 119 while Pakistan rupee is now over 182. My earlier assessments on the fall of the Rupee were based on internationally recognized economic indicators. We are likely to face more inflation giving further rise to price hikes and our rupee will fall further driving us further close to national bankruptcy. I appeal to the Govt to immediately impose a “financial emergency” in the country and cut the import to the minimum level and constitute a commission of “non-political economic experts” with the mandate to advise requisite steps to be taken to avert the default. The opposition needs to bring this subject to the parliament for discussion for an agreed solution and the government should take steps to avert the tsunami of bankruptcy which is likely to bring irreversible loss to our country. The senior politicians should come forward with a collective plan through the parliament to save the country from the economic debacle. The failure to block the bankruptcy is not an option as we can still halt it with efficiency measures.
Our existence depends on the sound economy and defence system of our country. A sound economy can support all institutions including the defence of the country hence our priority should be to improve our economy on a priority basis. A better economy will lead to a strong and prosperous Pakistan.
(The writer is former Interior Minister of Pakistan, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Chairman of Think Tank “Global Eye”. He is the author of four books and his fifth book is about to get published. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter