By Nation special report
LONDON: According to Bloomberg Economics, Sharif’s PML-N scored better than Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Pakistan’s economy had the best performance in the past three decades under Nawaz Sharif’s premiership as compared to his opponents.
The analysis was done by using a misery index which informally measures an economy’s state by adding its inflation and unemployment rate. “Bloomberg Economics used an average of the index values over the respective years when each of the major political parties ruled the country since 1990. A higher value indicates more economic hardship for citizens,” said the publication.
According to Bloomberg, Nawaz looks ready to take power after the general elections slated for February 8 for the fourth time, with Khan being incarcerated and stuck in a quagmire of legal cases.
However, despite being in jail, Khan is still the most popular politician in Pakistan with an approval rating of 57%, as per a Gallup opinion poll. Meanwhile, Nawaz’s popularity increased from 36% to 52% in the past six months. “The public may be giving Sharif the benefit of the doubt,” Ankur Shukla of Bloomberg Economics wrote in the report, adding that the “road ahead won’t be easy for any party that wins the election”, considering the high inflation and unemployment rate.
The inflation rate in Pakistan is close to 30% while the rupee performed as the worst in Asia last year with declining foreign exchange reserves.
Furthermore, the country is seeking a financial bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the upcoming government will have to implement policies — withdrawing subsidies and raising taxes — that will be unpopular with voters. The global lender also expects the economy to grow by 2% in the fiscal year.
The report issued a day ago said that the PML-N “scored better” than the PTI and the PPP when using a combination of unemployment and inflation data called the misery index.
The report explained that it used an average of the index values over the respective years when each of the three parties was in power, adding that a higher value indicated more economic hardship for citizens.
It noted that with PTI chief Imran Khan’s legal troubles, as he remains incarcerated while his party is deprived of its election symbol, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif “looks set to resume power” after the February 8 general polls.
However, the report said that Imran was “still the most popular politician, with an approval rating of 57 per cent, according to a recent Gallup opinion poll” while Nawaz’s ratings jumped to 52pc from 36pc in the past six months.
The country’s annual inflation remains sky-high, clocking in at 29.7pc last month, according to the latest data released from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Additionally, the country is currently propelled by yet another International Monetary Fund (IMF) tranche release of $700 million for the time being, in addition to being restricted by the Fund’s stringent conditions.
The report added that “the new government will need to implement policies that may be unpopular with voters, such as withdrawing subsidies and raising taxes.”
Responding to the report, the PML-N said the party chief’s work had “earned him widespread praise in the international media” and “respect on a global scale!”
Nawaz has amped up election tactics along with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari as politicians race towards the Feb 8 polls.
He has vowed to usher a new age of development, promising that no youth will be “unemployed” if he is elected.