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EditorialPM Shehbaz's 'Charter of Economy'

PM Shehbaz’s ‘Charter of Economy’

Prior to PTI chief Imran Khan’s speech at a rally in Lahore on the eve of the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held an olive branch to Khan. In his address to the nation, PM Sharif himself offered Imran Khan to join him at the table to discuss and reach a consensus for the ‘charter of the economy. In his address, the prime minister reiterated the fact that Pakistan is suffering economically for various reasons. He invited Khan to join him in the discussion as without all the stakeholders it will not be possible to draw one up. PM Shehbaz went out of his way to invite his archrival for the betterment of Pakistan. The President had earlier offered the services of his office to bring together the archrivals on the same table. The responsibility now lies on the shoulders of former prime minister Imran Khan to accept this invitation and work towards making Pakistan better economically and politically.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also talked about Pakistan being a free country, making reference to Khan’s rhetoric of freedom. He made a valid point about making Pakistan economically independent which is the only way towards true freedom. There is truth in his statement as the former prime minister is only pitting the citizens against one another as per their party preference. Currently, Pakistan needs solidarity and not more political rhetoric that will only benefit the top few individuals and institutions.

In the past few years, the country has suffered greatly. First, it was the coronavirus pandemic that slowed down economic activity due to a number of lockdowns. Although Pakistan got through fairly well as compared to other countries, the same cannot be said in the economic aspect. Even before the pandemic chronic economic crisis was brewing, the previous government focused on getting the economic growth rate up numerically, but it did not think about the long-term negative impacts that could occur. Currently, Pakistan is living through the effects of those substandard policies. Not only did the artificial increase in growth rate raise inflation rates, but also resulted in high levels of debt, low productivity and poor competitiveness. Consequently, Pakistan has been pushed into widespread poverty and slow development.

As the opposition leader in the previous government, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had offered to sit with the then premier Imran Khan and his team to make the economic charter so that the country’s problems could be solved. However, the previous government was hell-bent on doing things their way even though they were inexperienced and were not taking Pakistan towards any new heights, in contrast, their shoddy policies led Pakistan to where it is today. The current political rivalry and continuous power shows of the ex-prime minister are only further hurting the economy. What needs to be understood is that Pakistan is in dire need of a better functioning economy and that can only happen through cooperation from all stakeholders which includes former PM Imran Khan.

This ‘charter of the economy, which is the brainchild of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, if made with cooperation and understanding can allow Pakistan to prosper and move towards economic independence. It may also allow political tensions to reduce and come to a level which is healthy and does not hurt the country. Economic independence will also allow Pakistan to gain the independence that Imran Khan claims it has lost. Therefore, it is necessary for the former premier to take the olive branch being offered to him and become a part of making Pakistan great.

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