For days I had been thinking to ask my readers if the new government looks like an imported thing. Whenever I sit with friends, sooner or later, our discussion turns to ‘imported government’. On Twitter, the trend ‘has set a world record of retweets, and comments. The Billo boy rock star, Abrarul Haq, has composed a song on ‘Imported sarkar, na manzoor, na manzoor’. The mainstream media is discussing ’round-the-clock’ the challenges and achievements of the new government, called an imported one.
In the post-no-confidence motion days, Imran Khan has been saying that he was deprived of power by the United States and not by his local opponents. Due to America’s reluctance to be with us in the time of crisis, the Pakistani public at large and observers are also reluctant to reject the story of imported government outright.
Well, for a moment, we accept the story that Imran Khan is selling about the coalition government being imported, having the blessing of the US.
If that is the case then why is the US not providing warm support to the coalition government? Right after the formation of the government, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but he came back without any cheque. The mistake the government made is it did not explain the real situation to the public about talks with the IMF. Instead, Miftah gave the impression that he was armed with convincing conversation skills to borrow money without much struggle.
The IMF was very harsh with us since the time of Shaukat Tarin. It forced the Shaukat Tarin administration to approve the infamous “mini budget” to withdraw tax concessions given to various businessmen. The rates of electricity, petrol and gas were to be gradually increased. In addition, the law guaranteeing the sovereignty of the State Bank of Pakistan was enforced by both the houses of our parliament only to please the IMF bosses. Those were the days when a ‘desi’ government was in power.
The ‘imported government’ has yet to receive a warm gesture from those who are behind the ‘international conspiracy’.
The financial crisis has brought the Shehbaz government to a point that if it takes the necessary steps, it will face an unbearable storm of inflation and recession, and if it does not, the government will be left with insufficient foreign reserves. The situation gives Imran Khan an uncanny advantage in his anti-government movement. He, however, is yet to give a single plausible reason which convinces me that the coalition government is an imported government.
Let the world know that the IMF is ultimately a bank, and its attitude towards debtors is as aggressive and ruthless as that of moneylenders. But, its officials come with a smiling face when the White House is soft towards the loan-seeking country. Every decision of the IMF is based on the American signal. The Shehbaz government must explain to the people that the attitude of the US is not friendly and compassionate to it. In the same vein, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were not so welcoming to address the Shehbaz government’s economic woes. The last time the US and its allies were very friendly towards Pakistan was in the early 2000s when the Musharraf government was ruling Pakistan. Those were the days when the US needed Pakistan’s support to fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Now when there is no American interest attached to Pakistan in Afghanistan, America is not interested in investing in Pakistani government set-ups.
Tell these simple facts to the public and this will help the government diminish the tag of “imported government”, which is being tolerated so far.