HAS PAKISTAN’S FUTURE BECOME QUESTION MARK ?
Pakistan is facing a crisis today with regard to balance of payment situation, as foreign exchange reserves have been on decline and became critical in 2019 , due to slow foreign inflows and massive external debt servicing and higher current account deficit.
Pakistan's external debt jumped to 105841 million USD in the first quarter of 2019 from 99086 million USD in the fourth quarter of 2018.
In view of such crisis situation, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has to plead for financial support from Islamic countries and China. Saudi Arabia and UAE obliged. In addition, China has also extended loan of RMB 15 billion equivalent to 2.2 billion dollars at low interest rate
The ever increasing debt eats up some 30 percent of the budget every year to pay interest and repayment. Pakistan continues to take out loans to be able to cover repayments of past borrowing. It recently signed yet another deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bail out package .
The country has low sources of revenues and high non development expenditures, which is a recipe for a financial disaster.
The biggest source of such spending after debt servicing is the military, which officially receives around 23 percent of the budget every year. The allocation to the army in 2019 saw an increase of 17.6 percent from last year., as defence spending continues to be prioritized.
The economic situation in Pakistan is indeed alarming. Most of the increase in foreign exchange reserves in recent years has not been due to .genuine export earnings by export of goods and services but by huge borrowings from abroad at various levels of interest.
The question is how Pakistan would repay such debts at any time. The situation is not promising , as very little development projects to promote economic development are being set up in Pakistan now , which are under the control of Pakistan government and it’s citizens . Whatever projects under implementation are under the Economic Corridor Projects, which are almost entirely funded by China in various ways. The benefits of such projects is likely to be more for China than Pakistan.
Apart from financial crisis, Pakistan is steadily coming under the control of Islamic extremists, who seem to be controlling the Pakistan government and influencing the army in different ways.
Pakistan ’s future cannot be protected, unless Pakistan would succeed in getting itself out of the Chinese trap , with China seem to be now viewing Pakistan as if it is China’s extended territory ,as well as getting itself rid of the well entrenched Islamic extremists , whose behavior in recent years are not much different from Islamic terrorists.
Obviously, Pakistan needs strong and progressive and responsible leadership with capability to read the writing on the wall. People of Pakistan voted in favour of Imran Khan , expecting that he would give a different style of positive leadership to get Pakistan out of the present crisis. People gave Imran Khan the benefit of doubt as other politicians have proven record of corruption, even though Imran Khan has no particular credentials except as the captain of eleven member cricket team with little proven expertise in administration , economics and international relations.
The recent 15 minutes plus speech of Imran Khan in the United Nation’s General Assembly have killed all hopes that he can lead Pakistan in a better manner. He virtually lost an opportunity to build image of Pakistan as a progressive country in the international assembly.
During his speech, he spent 20% of the time to defend Islam or rather Islamic terrorists. He said that every religion has some radicals and therefore, radicals in Islam religion is nothing unusual. But, he ignored the fact that radicals in other religions are not deeply entrenched and do not conduct themselves like terrorists. Imran Khan’s objection to the use of the term Islamic terrorists has not been supported by valid argument.
The remaining 80% of his speech was about Kashmir issue and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He mentioned Modi’s name several times and spoke about him in insulting terms. Possibly, in the history of United Nations , no other Prime Minister of a country has talked about the President or Prime Minister of another country in such derogatory terms. Further, he virtually urged the muslims in India to revolt against . Modi and his government.
Further, Imran Khan tried to give an impression that there are no terrorists in Pakistan , which nobody would believe. The very fact that no country in the world is willing to send it’s sportsmen to Pakistan clearly highlights the fact that every country thinks that Pakistan is a terrorist ridden nation.
By the above speech, Imran Khan was trying to placate Islamic countries and Islamic terrorists and create hatred against India amongst muslims all over the world.
Now, where would Pakistan go under the leadership of such person as Imran Khan as the Prime Minister.?
Obviously, he is under the total control of Islamic extremists and military in Pakistan and probably his speech was dictated by them.
It appears that Pakistan would get into deeper trouble in the coming days, as there is no sign of recovery of it’s economy and measures to effectively eliminate the terrorists groups and get rid of China’s control. Separatists in Pakistan such as Baluchistan people will become emboldened after listening to the speech of Imran Khan, virtually defending the Islamic terrorists. Certainly, the international community would also be having a second look at him as he threatened nuclear war , as if it is a child’s play.
Perhaps, after Imran Khan wasted his opportunity in UNO by delivering a vituperative hate speech, the world would be increasingly convinced that Pakistan has to be brought under control, though China will be happy about Pakistan’s weak leadership.
People of Pakistan deserve sympathy, as there are many citizens in Pakistan who are responsible and can see the development in proper perspective and they would feel embarrassed by the speech of their Prime Minister in United Nations.
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On Sun 29 Sep, 2019, 8:31 AM N.S. Venkataraman, <