Terror-stricken Pakistan is currently facing a deep economic crisis. The government is getting ready to ask the International Monetary Fund for urgent financial assistance to help it stave off the risk of defaulting on its debts some time next week. The crisis has also hit ordinary people, with spiralling food inflation and a serious electricity shortage.
Pakistan’s poor hit badly as the country faces economic collapse
Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves are fast depleting. The trade deficit continues to widen and commercial and industrial activity are declining because of widespread power outages. Accompanying the financial crisis is the spiralling food inflation and several hours of power outage every day.
It has badly affected ordinary people, every one of them making similar complaints. “The prices of commodities have gone tremendously high, the electricity bill has gone high, and also the prices of wheat and other cereals have gone up by almost 100 percent,” explains one man.
A government servant Haroon Khan accuses the government of being indifferent to people's problems.
“They can't imagine how people are living. They should come and see how people are living. Electricity is a major problem. Students cannot study at night.”
Mismanagement and lack of planning
And some have a sense of nostalgia about the days under former president Pervez Musharraf:
“Musharraf was doing quite well. There were no blasts, no inflation, what has this government done?”
Economist Farrukh Saleem says the current crisis stems from years of mismanagement and lack of planning and any assistance from the International Monetary Fund is likely to make the situation worse.
“Three out of four Pakistanis are at two dollars a day. Once the IMF structural programmes kick in and currency is further devalued, or if tax bases are increased, the economy is going to slow down further, causing unemployment.”
Observers agree that immediate future doesn't offer any optimism. And if the country goes by the IMF prescription, it is likely to confront more unrest and protest by most Pakistanis.