Pakistan is in a meltdown mode with the coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif having to douse several fires at the same time. There is a major economic crisis. A political slugfest has continued since former prime minister Imran Khan lost a no-confidence vote last April. Add to this, the repeated terror strikes by a resurgent Pakistan Taliban.
Shehbaz Sharif is floundering while Imran Khan is back doing what he does best – leading protest marches and throwing accusations at all those opposed to him. Yet, he is Pakistan’s most popular leader and is likely to win national elections hands down.
Even as the nation bleeds, political parties continue to blame each other for the nation’s sorry plight. Massive inflation and power cuts have made life difficult for everyone, but as always, the poor are bearing the brunt. There is no attempt to close ranks at a time of such a monumental crisis and work together for the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s bail-out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not yet materialized, much of it, according to local media reports, because of the incompetence of finance minister Ishaq Dar and his team. There have been multiple calls for his resignation.
“We won’t take dictation from IMF,” Dar had said in December while awaiting the arrival of the IMF team to Pakistan. Critics have hit back at the minister saying beggars can’t be choosers. Borrowers have to abide by the terms and conditions laid down by the Fund. The IMF talks are slated to restart virtually on Monday. Dar is hopeful an agreement will be sealed this week. He had said that at the beginning of each week.
Meanwhile, a farce is playing out in Lahore. On Sunday, police arrived in Zaman Park, former prime minister Imran Khan’s residence with a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a sessions court judge in the capital. The warrant is because of Khan’s non-appearance before the court, despite several summonses. Khan was not at his residence. But hours later, he appeared before a huge crowd of supporters spitting fire and brimstone.