Foreign Aid Dependency and Political Turmoil have turned Pakistan into a Failing State

By Alex Khan

PAKISTAN is a failing state.

The proud nation, currently a scene of chaos and economic collapse, has been like this since Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from government in result of a no-confidence vote.

It is widely believed that all powerful Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army was behind this move.

The regime change exacerbated the economic crisis of the country. In the last three years, the currency (rupee) has dropped more than 75 per cent in value. In a recent report published by the World Bank, Pakistan is the weakest economy of South Asia. The foreign reserves have dropped as low as $4billion.

To add to this, the ongoing political instability has led to the fleeing of capital from the country.

Two out of four provinces in Pakistan have seen their government dissolved in recent months.

Higher up, the federal government is a weak coalition of PML (N) – the centre-right party founded by Nawaz Sheriff – alongside other political parties.

However, cricketer turned politician Imran Khan sits in opposition as part of the PTI party, and he still commands immense support across the country.

Due to the weakness of the federal government, no major decision has been taken in almost a year. Accordingly, foreign investment has stalled completely.

To stop the outflow of dollars, a complete ban on imports has also been implemented. The valuation of currency against dollar is also being controlled artificially by the government. Despite all this, the Pakistani Rupee is at an all time low.

National media houses are drawing comparison of the current situation of the country with nearby Sri Lanka.

Pakistan has been banking on foreign aid for long.

US aid was a regular feature during the war in Afghanistan – Pakistan’s western neighbour.

Thereafter, aid from Saudi Arabia and China have been a temporary saviour for the worsening economy. However, in view of the current political instability, no country is fully ready to continually lend substantial support.

Recent floods in provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan have further worsened the situation. Pakistan has already highlighted the losses suffered during the tragedy at various platforms and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also appealed to the world community for economic aid of Pakistan.

The security situation of the country also remains critical. In the Afghanistan-bordering province of KPK, the Pakistani Army has fought terrorist insurgencies for almost two decades.

Since last year a ceasefire pact was declared with the Taliban. However, the ceasefire has also been abolished by Taliban – and once again, terrorist activities are on rise. In the other Afghanistan-bordering province of Baluchistan, the activities of Baloch insurgents are also on ascent. The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor project in the province is also at standstill due to deteriorating security situation.

Currently, Pakistan is at brink of defaulting in all sorts of ways.

The masses have tied their hopes of improvement of political and economic situation with the next elections. Imran Khan and his PTI party are aspiring to win the next elections and are demanding early polls in view of their current popularity.

However, their opposition PML(N) and PPP wants to delay the elections to next year in view of their current unpopularity.

Nevertheless, this delay in elections will push the country into further political and economic chaos.

Alex Khan is an analyst of South Asian affairs and a keen observer of political and economic situation of South Asia. He has also served as an observer at the United Nations.

Featured Image: Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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