Last week, the government of Pakistan and the European Union on Thursday launched the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP), covering the period 2021-2027 with an initial grant of 265 million Euros earmarked for at least three years. The MIP is a collaborative programme aimed at enhancing cooperation in the areas of the Strategic Engagement Plan such as economic, social, and environmental sustainability, energy, the rule of law, good governance and human rights. However, the initial MIP programme report does not paint a rosy picture—and the way politics are being practised in the country right now, this programme may not have a successful outcome, damaging our future opportunities for collaborations and partnerships.

According to the report, support to Pakistan under the MIP this year will be delivered in three following priority areas: green inclusive growth; human capital; and governance, including the rule of law and human rights. However, the European Union pointedly observed that politics in Pakistan is highly partisan, with little cooperation and compromise solutions between the government and parliament despite three elections and two peaceful transitions between civilian governments since 2008. The report correctly noticed that the functioning of law enforcement and judiciary institutions was impacted by outdated regulatory frameworks, and in legislation, there is no coordination and cooperation between the stakeholders.

These observations may be incriminating but they cannot be denied in good faith. Just the performance and the fiascos the parliament has demonstrated to the public in these seven months is evidence enough, and the year is not over yet. This must come to our politicians as a waking moment that the increased partisanship, lack of coordination, handwringing, and relegating all disputes in parliament to the courts has a price, which the country, our economy and our international image shoulders.

These needless politics and the inability of the parliament to function will hamper our efforts to secure partnerships, funding and support in the future. Our political parties need to stop the divisive narratives and come to the table at least on crucial national matters.