Pakistan and increasing political tensions
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The ousted former leader of Pakistan, Imran Khan, is threatening to up the ante against the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Hence, Khan demanded that elections be announced within six days or face further pressure from his supporters in Islamabad.
Voice of America reports, “Khan was ousted following a parliamentary no-confidence vote last month, toppling his nearly four-year coalition government headed by his PTI party. Sharif replaced him and formed a new multiparty unity government.”
The government of Pakistan condemned Khan and his supporters for having “evil intentions.” Thus, the Sharif administration fears that political turmoil will further derail the fragile economy.
According to The Dawn news agency, the leader of Pakistan said the country “would be run according to the Constitution and not according to the desires of an individual.”
Economic convulsions will enter the political vacuum to a higher degree if political paralysis holds too long. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Sharif government still have to paper over the cracks before the IMF decides on providing a $6 billion emergency bailout.
Sharif said, “The previous government is deliberately concealing facts. I want to remind them that you entered into a deal with IMF, not us. You accepted their harsh terms, not us. You pushed the country into an economic mess, not us.”
The IMF said, “The team emphasized the urgency of concrete policy actions, including in the context of removing fuel and energy subsidies and the FY2023 budget, to achieve program objectives.”
However, the government of Pakistan is worried that the removal of fuel and energy subsidies will lead to internal discontent. Hence, the IMF needs to consider the mass complexity of the problem – otherwise, the supporters of Khan will utilize economic discontent. Therefore, the government of Pakistan and the IMF need to reach an agreement based on making compromises.
Pakistan also faces external geopolitical pressures. This notably concerns America and China – along with the United Kingdom, seeking to punch over its weight. India is also monitoring the situation. Therefore, with ethnic tensions persisting in Balochistan and sectarian undertones in parts of the country – along with economic convulsions – the last thing Pakistan needs is political tensions being stoked up
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