Political uncertainty taking toll on Pakistan’s economy

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By Muhammad Luqman

Just four months after the ouster of former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s economy is passing through very critical times with Pak Rupee getting more and more weaker vis-à-vis US dollar.

All time big devaluation of the currency, has sent a ripple of fear and uncertainty among the business community. To them, the weakening of Pakistan rupee may lead to rise in the inflation rate.

“ Exporters may be in jubilant mood at the moment. But the import bill is getting more and more with the declining trends in the value of Pakistani currency,” says Tahir Javed Malik, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

The export industry seems to be satisfied with the devaluation process but they still demand more industry specific incentives to ensure the increase in the exports from the present level of $ 19 billion.

“During the first five months of fiscal year 2018, Pakistan,s exports reached the mark of US $ 9 billion, showing an increase of 10 percent while imports rose by 20 percent. This is alarming,” Chairman of Pakistan Texile Millers association APTMA, Ali Pervez Malik said.

Stock market has also shed several thousands points over the last six months.

But the recent statement of National Assembly Speaker, Ayaz Sadiq regaring the term of the assembly has further stoke political uncertainty in the South Asian nation.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi , however, has said the government would complete its tenure and elections would be held on time.

“The government will complete its tenure and elections will be held on time,” said the prime minister, reiterating the government’s stance.

The premier further said that Ayaz Sadiq’s statement was his personal opinion and he is independent as the speaker of the national assembly.

The speaker of national assembly had stated on Wednesday that he fears the assemblies will not be able to complete their tenure.

“The reservations the speaker have spoken of are in reference to the events of the last three to four months. He made this in reference to the July 28 order which has impacted the economy and politics. Maybe it [Sadiq’s statement] is being taken out of context. This is his opinion.” Prime Minister said.

The recent events including the Islambad Sitin (Dharna) by a religious party are fast becoming a source of uncertainty for the members of all the political parties including the ruling political party, Pakistan Muslim League.

Political analysts believe that the next three to four weeks are very critical for Pakistan’s political system especially the ruling party. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will have play the role of Night Watchman to ensure the term of the present government complete. Time will tell whether the opposition politicians succeed in pulling down the belleagured ruling Muslim League or the government completes it five year term.

 

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