In 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan promised a Naya Pakistan that would not face any economic woes or problems. Three years later, Pakistan’s economy is in peak crisis mode, the Rupee is at its weakest, and inflation has hit the roof. Pakistan’s inflation rate hit 9% at one point this week, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The rupee also traded at record lows against the dollar.
While the Prime Minister’s advisors speak of ‘good inflation and bad inflation’, the opposition parties have understood the mood of the public and have been staging anti-government demonstrations in different cities across the country to protest against inflation. The PDM launched its 15-day nationwide protest from Rawalpindi against the continuous rise in the prices of petroleum products and edibles. The PPP staged protests in Karachi’s Malir district against what city Administrator Murtaza Wahab called “increasing inflation perpetrated due to the incompetence of the PTI government”.
Pakistan’s top officials are also trying to revive a $6 billion loan package with the International Monetary Fund. The country needs the money, but economists are worried the IMF’s conditions will trigger price hikes burdening Pakistani consumers. “In May 2019, Pakistan reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after months of difficult negotiations on a $6-billion (€5.34 billion) bailout package. In January 2020, it the program was put on hold after Prime Minister Imran Khan did not follow IMF recommendations to increase electricity prices and impose additional taxes. In March 2021, the IMF released a $500 million tranche, but talks in June to release further funds were inconclusive.”
According to an investigative report by DW “As Pakistan’s economic problems turn into a political liability for Prime Minister Khan, analysts said they are noticing tanking public approval ratings for the government. Recent surveys indicate more than 90% of the public dislike this government over its poor economic performance.”