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Coalition’s fate in own hands

50 2 9

IN removing part of the unfunded fuel subsidy the PTI gave in February this year as it felt the heat ahead of the March no-confidence move, the coalition government seems to have earned itself a reprieve against the backdrop of news reports that its end could be as close as a week away.

It was not just these media reports: some cabinet members were saying the same. The reason? Two factors were at play. The first: a large chunk of the PML-N, including their leader Nawaz Sharif, were reluctant to be left stranded with the economic baggage of the PTI with just a year and a half in which to clear the mess.

Even more significantly, as Imran Khan’s pressure tactics seemed to be forcing a change in the resolve of the military establishment, and the latter was starting to think aloud in terms of an election sooner than scheduled next year, the PML-N’s view was cemented that it couldn’t roll out painful economic measures and then go to the electorate, with no time at all to placate the masses.

The extra urgency about the need for a ‘fight or flight’ response was obviously dictated by the plummeting forex reserves, which currently represent under two months of imports with every other access to dollars blocked by the suspension of the IMF programme.

Despite the government signalling that it is in for the long haul, scepticism abounds about its long-term prospects.

And it was clear that IMF was not willing to rethink its firm stance........

© Dawn

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