Asma Sherazi Believes Rulers Blind To Common Man's Miseries Due To IMF Bailout

Asma Sherazi Believes Rulers Blind To Common Man's Miseries Due To IMF Bailout
As the government celebrates the staff-level agreement for a nine-month standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will see Pakistan receive some $3 billion, noted journalist and television anchor Asma Sherazi claims that the rulers have no idea what pressures this agreement would place on the already crushed common man. If anything, she believes that this agreement is an ultimatum to turnaround the economy or face doom.

In an opinion piece published in BBC Urdu on Tuesday, Sherazi stated that it is strange that a nuclear-powered country of 220 million people first allowed external forces to decide their fate and then dared to raise slogans such as "Are we slaves?"

In the article, she says that be it circumstances or causes of events, the ground reality is quite different from what rulers sitting in ivory towers see through their rose-tinted glasses. Where is it written that 220 million people in a nuclear state should let their destiny be decided by a handful of external forces. In what book is it written that we must hand over our sovereignty to an international financial institution and then make boisterous claims about 'real freedom'? Which law permits a few thousand elites to decide the fate of millions of poor people?

Whether there is some disability or some other compulsion, but going to the IMF is unavoidable. Moreover, she says that astrologers cannot determine the health of a country's economy solely from the movement of the stars, nor can any fortune teller suddenly gain the ability to diagnose disease. The IMF agreement provides the country with temporary relief for nine months, breathing new life in a cash-strapped, nuclear-armed state. While the faces of those who made the deal has been beaming, they have been unable to see the dullness on the faces of the public people after this new deal.

How many more homes will lose employment, how much would hunger increase, how long would this fire continue to burn, how many backs will snap — neither the IMF nor the powerful nor the elite care, she wrote. Whose fault is it? Whose neck should be grabbed and who do we ask for answers? Where there is an answer, there are also questions. But what should be done when those to whom questions are posed ask questions in return? In this short term program of nine months, is there a panacea? The barren economy has to become fertile in these nine months; otherwise, the situation will be neither be under our control nor would any one else be able to control it.

At the very least, the agreement with the IMF has given hope that elections will be held in the next six months. But what remains to be done before these elections? Get rid of unrealistic politics for political stability. But remember that voters and supporters of fake parties are real.

If the Tehreek-e-Insaf does not participate in the political process, then the political process will not be non-political. And if Tehreek-e-Insaf minus Imran participates, what will be his position?

If the ruling coalition leaves in the first week of August, what will be the jurisdiction of the watchdog set up, and to what extent will the world recognize it as legitimate?

What measures will the caretaker government be able to take to restore the economy when there is no political support? All the players in politics have entered the field with their arms crossed, and the war of minus, plus, multiplication, and division has begun in the politics of algebra.

The question is that the state cannot move forward without the improvement of the economy, and the state cannot do anything without politics. While there is instability in politics, the formula for stability is purported to be minus and plus.

The 2018 elections changed the players on the chessboard, flipped the game, and created a game where there was no concept of defeat. Now after the events of May 9, the game seems to have completely changed. A trial by fire lies for Imran Khan before the elections, and he has to drown.

Imran will be minus or Nawaz Sharif would be plus; but the time has come to 'undo' the damage. But in these cases, the merit has to be kept in mind.

The relevant laws of the NAB, which Imran Khan used extensively for his political opponents, are being changed once again, and the bail period is being increased from 14 to 30 days. Acting President Sanjrani issued this ordinance late at night.

In such a case, the arrest of Imran Khan is an inscription on the wall, while the decision of these cases before the elections also seem possible.

Before the elections and after the magical date of September 16, the grand dialogue is possible, but after the elections, it seems relatively easy for the 'real' political parties to negotiate and 'pact' with mandates, which is why the elections are sooner or later. May be possible in 2024.

For short-term and long-term reforms, national leaders and all stakeholders need to sit together and advance the economic agenda on a priority basis, as time and situation demand, but constitutional requirements must also be taken into account.

There is no choice but to move forward; if not now, then when?