Pakistan’s economy has remained the prey of political unrest throughout history. Despite its vast economic resources, the country still faces severe economic stagnation due to the menace of political instability. An unstable political system is the hazard that halts smooth running of governance and enforcement of law and authority in a country.

Research shows that countries facing low economic growth are often victims of an irregular flow of government shifts due to political unrest. In the case of Pakistan, the argument fits well.

Taking into account the tenures of Pakistani regimes from 1999 to 2022, it is obvious that due to political disparity, the country’ economic growth remained low, corruption increased and unemployment and low production were witnessed. Starting from 1999 when the military regime ousted the civil government in Pakistan, the country’s economy was growing at a rate of 4.2 percent and by the end of the military regime in 2008, economic growth stood at 1.7 percent.

This decrease in economic development was caused by political tensions, as the political stability index shows that political stability was -2.4 percent in 2008 compared to -1.1 percent in 2000. Similarly, during the tenure of the PPP regime from 2008 to 2013 the country reportedly faced an increase in corruption and low economic growth, owing to a surge in political instability which increased to -2.6 percent in 2013 compared to -2.4 percent in 2008.

Moving further to the tenure of the civil regime from 2013 to 2018, Pakistan’s economic progress faced drastic political unrest in the shape of demonstrations, rallies and protests by opposition parties and other organisations, especially by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. Due to PTI’s sit in Islamabad for 126 days, the country’s economy witnessed unprecedented losses because trade routes were blocked and business activities were frozen, which resulted in a loss of a reported Rs500-600 million. Foreign direct investment was also affected during this tenure due to political turmoil.

It was observed in 2014-15 that foreign direct investment decreased due to the unstable political situation coupled with the Panama Papers and PTI’s continuous protests to throw out PML-N’s government. If we observe the tenure of 3.5 years of the PTI government from 2018 to 2022, political turmoil increased and from the very first day of Imran Khan’s regime, opposition political groups started protesting to derail the PTI government’s performance.

The country has faced various insubstantial exchanges of power due to which a stagnant and poor economy remained the fate of the country.

Governments in power implement short-term policies for rapid results to sustain their rule, which cause long-term threats to the economy. Upon the collapse of political governments, the incumbent political groups also often terminate the policies of their predecessors. Such rapid change in political power created uncertainty in the country.

Resultantly, large investment groups avoid investing their money at the stake of indeterminate government policies which are seen to be short term with no future vision. Investment and political stability have a direct relationship with each other. The more politically stable a country is, the more investment will come into the market. Due to political insecurity, people often do not invest their money, which results in increased unemployment and the lack of productivity in the country.

Stable political activity plays a vital role in establishing a stable political system. This relates to a stable attitude of individuals in a society towards the distribution of authority to make decisions about what laws should be made and how these laws are to be enforced in the country. When society is acquiescent to these laws, political stability prevails in the country, which enhances consistent development in all aspects.

A stable political system must thus be established in the country, as political stability is the backbone of a country to run a governance system smoothly. It plays a paramount role to sustain the progress of the country. A firm political system strengthens efficient policy mechanisms, institutional effectiveness and regular political transitions i.e. the transition of governments through regular elections or whatever way of power exchange a country possesses.