THERE has been unending debate in recent weeks about the various conditions being forced on the country by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the mini-budget as its consequence. There is a notion among many that leaving the IMF programme will be catastrophic for Pakistan.

To make things worse, the national media is also churning out content in favour of the government’s argument and is misleading the nation.

One would do well to remember that in the 1990s, both Pakistan and India were facing financial upheaval. The then government in Pakistan proudly announced a mistaken economic reforms agenda apparently on the advice of some bankers. Today, the malaise has become cancerous.

In contrast, the Indian finance minister at the time, an economist by profession and training, took a bold decision and prepared grounds for quitting the IMF programme midstream without fearing about the consequences.

The Congress later elected him to become the prime minister, and since then India has been marching forward, while we are consistently sliding down in terms of the national economy. It is

time to take corrective measures before it gets too late. The government should take the nation into confidence and devise its own plans to say goodbye to the IMF and all international lenders.

Ali Ashraf Khan

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2022



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