Pakistan Economy in Tatters: Unable to sustain its missions abroad

Pak Imran Khan’s promise of ‘a naya Pakistan’ seems empty with his government borrowing heavily from international financial institutions to stay afloat and the Pakistani people bearing the burden of debt as well as suffering endemic water / power shortages, rising inflation and unemployment.

There has been no significant addition to basic industries and economic infrastructure of the country. Instead, the number of sick industrial units continues to rise each year. As Pakistan is heavily dependent on borrowing to meet the resource gap, Pakistan’s major donor International Monetary Fund (IMF) insists upon narrowing the revenue expenditure gap. Since other lenders follow IMF policies, Pakistan has no choice but to enhance its taxes and revenues that ultimately burdens the common people.

It is said that all economic conditions are the result of policies pursued by a country. No economy can itself produce positive results. It seems Pakistan’s economy has become the victim of eccentric policies of its rulers and has been mismanaged up to such an extent that the country has virtually become bankrupt. External debts are touching new heights and the irony is that new loans are obtained simply to pay back a portion of the earlier loans.

In a major embarrassment for the country, Pakistan Embassy in Serbia through its official Twitter handle revealed that the Pakistan government had not paid the dues for the past three months. In its tweets, the embassy also claimed that children of officials in Pakistan’s embassy were forced out of school due to non-payment of fees. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry tried to explain away by saying that the embassy’s social media account was hacked. However, the embassy’s post on social media exposed Pakistan’s poverty to the world. Similar problems of non-payment of school fees of the children of the Pak Mission’s officers working in Bangladesh have also been reported.

A day after Pakistan’s diplomats in Serbia were compelled to air their woes publicly, it was reported that the Pakistan Embassy in Washington was also in similar dire state and had been unable to pay the salaries of its contractual employees for nearly 4 months. The unpaid staffers wrote (Oct 2021) a letter to the Pak Ambassador urging him to resolve the issue. Incidentally, Pakistan government is learnt to have requested the Qatari government to pay overdue salaries of Pak Embassy officials from 15th December 2021 onwards.

If the Pakistan government does not have money to pay even its diplomats, the condition of the common man in Pakistan would be even more deplorable, reeling under malnutrition, illiteracy, diseases, high birth rate, unemployment and low income. Pakistan needs to review its big-ticket investment projects that generate mountain of debt, which the country is unable to pay. Economic disaster is around the corner as the taps for funding have already dried up for Pakistan. Its time the country reassesses its priorities and uses its limited resources for the betterment of its own nationals rather than stoking terrorism in neighbouring countries.