Economic cost of impeachment

ISLAMABAD - Confrontational politics of the ruling coalition's decision to impeach President General (r) Pervez Musharraf, that too, in a teasingly slow manner, has virtually choked Pakistan's already vulnerable economy while escalatory turbulence in the course ahead would cost more. Independent economists, analysts, and traders were unanimous in the opinion that there is an involuntary moratorium on economic activity. Although the actual economic impact of the ongoing political turbulence would figure out in the next periodical financial reporting, the daily wagers and fixed income classes are forced to bear out the brunt of economic slow down then and there. Investments are on hold due to the situation, which has started badly hitting an already beleaguered scenario of employment in the country. A virtual halt, more than just slow-down in the real estate, and construction sectors, has massively increased unemployment, especially at the level of daily wagers. Moreover, frequent rains across the country have been further dampening the chances of earning for them. Therefore, poor of the country are pushed to the wall and are living hand-to-mouth due to prevalent crises ushering one into another. The long cherished democracy brought them nothing but a price hike, rupee devaluation, halted investments, massive load-shedding of energy utilities despite skyrocketing prices and, last but not the least, a deteriorating law and order situation. Economy managers may play gimmicks once again at the time of six-monthly or yearly estimations of the macro-economic indicators to portray them on track if they aren't on target. Micro-economic symptoms, especially in practical terms, are sufficiently presenting a doomsday scenario. The concept of democracy for development has already gone back to the shelf at least for the contemporary case of Pakistan's political economy. So far, performance of the so-called political dispensation out of the February 18 elections has revealed that the leadership that was apparently voted in was either incapacitated to deliver or least bothered about prudent economic management. It appears that as far as the so-called political leadership is concerned, the economy and living conditions of the people far lesser than the presumably outgoing dictator used to do. The rupee crumbling against the dollar in terms of devaluation of currency, inflation, rising beyond 33 per cent for the poor, surging unemployment, and major sectors of the economy missing the targets is presenting a scenario of nothing less than an economic crisis. On the other hand, the people at the helm of affairs, who are supposed to deliver by way of crisis management are perhaps pre-occupied with the uphill task of impeaching the President or getting his resignation by mounting pressure against him.

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