At the end of government’s tenure, it is apt for me to take stock of the last sixteen months since the coalition government assumed office through the constitutional process of no-confidence and share my perspective with the nation. The political parties that formed the government have different political manifestos and agendas. Despite being political rivals, we chose to come together on a national agenda shared and owned by all of us. The last sixteen months saw how decision-making by consensus became the norm. I consider it a major step forward in our democratic evolution.
‘We have revived trust with our brotherly nations’
Among the crises that challenged me personally, giving me many sleepless nights was saving the country from the threat of default in particular and stabilizing the economy in general. I would never have forgiven myself had such a scenario (God forbid) come to pass during my time in office. We have yet to fully grasp consequences defaulting on its international obligations. Secondly, restoring Pakistan’s prestige, honor and credibility as a reliable partner, and friend in the comity of nations was another challenge that we dealt with collectively. Thanks to our collective efforts, Pakistan has largely repaired the damage and emerged as a responsible member of the international community.
We have revived our trust with our brotherly countries, including China, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE, etc. CPEC has not only been put back on track but the second phase is also underway. The most devastating floods in our history posed significant challenges to our struggling economy in terms of losses in man and material. As part of its climate diplomacy, the government undertook a massive international effort to project Pakistan as a victim of climate change. We also mobilized gigantic rescue, relief and rehabilitation through our own resources. As Chair of G-77 plus China, Pakistan led a global effort to demand climate justice.
Our leading role also galvanized international response and led to the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP27. Millions of dollars of international aid was spent most transparently. SIFC established under a collaborative approach has prioritized five key areas of national economy, namely agriculture, information technology, mine and minerals, defense production and energy. This institutional arrangement that has representation of all stakeholders, offers one-window facility to fetch foreign investment to unlock the potential in the select areas. SIFC is an economic revival plan that has been carefully thought through and is being implemented under the-whole-of-the-government approach.
‘Economic disturbance to be end by focusing on structural reforms’
What has kept me under tremendous stress during these sixteen months is the heavy cost a combination of factors such as the conditionalities of the IMF program, skyrocketing commodity prices in the global markets and geopolitical upheavals has placed on the poor people of Pakistan. While the government has tried to lessen their burden, I feel their pain and anguish. Coupled with extreme polarization in society and emerging security threats, the odds couldn’t be heavier for any government. Time has come for Pakistan to end the ‘boom and bust’ cycle of the economy by focusing on structural reforms.
I am convinced that no quick-fixes will work anymore. If the people elect the Pakistan Muslim League-N, we will make sure that Pakistan follows the people-led growth model, one where their welfare is the be-all and end-all of public policy. Our economic revolution will be rooted in harnessing the youth potential by providing them cutting-edge tech education leading to massive job creation; and promoting modern agro industry. Work, work and work alone shows us the way forward.