The already failing economy of Pakistan has suffered more hardships with the arrival of the New Year, 2023. According to Islam Khabar, analysts are now cautioning that the nation could declare bankruptcy. The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has promised to abide by all IMF requirements in order to resume the next review as soon as possible.
On January 24, Sharif declared that the PDM alliance, which is currently in power in Pakistan, is willing to sacrifice its “political career for the sake of the country” by agreeing to the “stringent” requirements set forth by the IMF in order to restart the loan programme.
Reports reveal that over 9,000 containers are stuck at different Pakistani seaports, threatening to disrupt the supply chains of essential goods. Inflation in the country has risen to almost 30 per cent. The country’s funds are running low and food prices are increasing.
According to Islam Khabar, importers are unable to clear containers due to a shortage of dollars, while shipping companies are threatening to suspend Pakistan’s operations over the country’s failure to make timely payments. This will negatively impact both imports and exports.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has only USD 4.4 billion in forex reserves, barely enough for three weeks of imports, while the estimated needs to clear the containers and pending requests for opening more letters of credit is in the range of USD 1.5 billion to USD 2 billion, according to the Islam Khabar report.
Businesses in Pakistan are at risk of closure due to a breakdown of supply chains as domestically manufactured goods rely on imported raw materials. The textile industry in Pakistan is also in a critical position as it is losing credibility and market share among international buyers. Hospitals in the country are running short of medicines, and there may soon be shortages of goods such as wheat, fertilizers, and gasoline.
Prime Minister Sharif has thus asked people to conserve resources such as water, gas, and electricity to assist the government in reducing its import bill, which has risen significantly in recent years. Former Pakistan Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar recently said that Pakistan has become “politically and morally bankrupt”, according to a news report.
“We have become politically and morally bankrupt. Even today, people are not being told the truth, which the country needs,” Khokhar said while addressing the second session of the national dialogue in Quetta.
The previous leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) claimed during the conference that political parties and the people of Pakistan are unable to communicate with one another. He argued that rather than engaging in pointless political debates about the Toshakhana case and the Panama Papers, it is important to address the concerns of ordinary people.
“The Panama Papers and the Toshakhana case were discussed, but where were the concerns of the populace? If one stays in the country, they are heading to the mountains because of how bad things have grown, ” as reported by The News International Newspaper, he stated.