Playing with fate

PTI’s decision to freeze fuel prices till the next finance budget was an irresponsible act to gain political mileage by embarking on a populist course to get short term political mileage. Pakistan today faces an acute economic crisis, dwindling forex reserves and the possibility of default. PTI alone cannot be held responsible for the economic indiscipline that infects the country.

It is the responsibility of every constitutionally elected government to realize the implications of signing agreements with international financial institutions like IMF and the negative impacts that ensue when any state chooses to unilaterally violate these. Pakistan has been embroiled in an economic crunch for many decades, because it has failed to keep a balance between expenses and revenues, so vital for financial discipline. There are too many subsidies and amnesty schemes for non-employment generating investments such as the real estate sector, where the bulk of black money is parked.

The increasing import bill dwarfs claims of successive governments and powerful state institutions, who profess a widening tax base. This country is affording the luxurious lifestyle of its paid and elected elite, on foreign loans. Many of them want private executive jets and helicopters for short hops, to an extent that it defies economic rationale. Other governments in the region, having vast foreign reserves and exports, almost double imports, cannot think of such indulgences. These incentives and amnesty schemes only serve to promote tax evasion and a black economy, whose beneficiaries exercise tremendous clout in corridors of power.



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