With Shahbaz Sharif elected as prime minister on April 11– two days after the ouster of Imran Khan through the no-confidence vote–those who had become fed-up with lofty promises and political rhetoric might be relieved at the fact that they would no longer have to hear his hollow pledges of creating a Naya and corruption-free Pakistan based on the model of Riyasat e Madina. But they should not be excited at his departure because this does not mean that their problems will be resolved immediately. They should ask how the new premier will salvage the situation. No doubt it is encouraging that with the downfall of the PTI government, the devaluation of the rupee against the dollar has come to a halt; but there is doubt that the coalition government has formidable challenges ahead. So let’s see what are those challenges that the government need to tackle. To begin with, the biggest and most urgent issue is runaway inflation. Throughout three-and-a-half years of the PTI government, the prices of basic commodities have gone through the roof, though it is partly because of international price hikes. They have doubled or in some cases tripled, which has made it hard for people of lower classes to make both ends meet. For instance, a 1-litre sachet of particular cooking oil which cost 170 in 2018 now costs 430 rupees, about a 150 per cent increase in four years. So what magic wand will a new PM use to reverse this situation? More worrying, however, is that the salaries of employees and wages of labourers have failed to keep pace with the rampant inflation. Although the federal government led by Imran Khan had raised the salaries of its employees to bridge the gap, the employees of provincial governments did not get any raises other than the usual increase of 10 to 15 per cent in annual budgets. So the recent announcement of Shahbaz Sharif for the ten per cent rise in the salaries and pensions of employees having salary up to one lac is heartening. But will these populist announcements be enough to mitigate the financial burden on people? Let’s wait. More worrying, the salaries of employees and wages of labourers have failed to keep pace with the rampant inflation. The situation is more pathetic for physical workers and daily wage earners who are still unable to get the approved minimum wages of 20 to 25 thousand per month. This time the new prime minister has set their wages at 25 thousand. So again let’s see how the younger Sharif is going to get it implemented? The new pm may be able to contain the currency devaluation and inflation but the list of problems does not end here. To begin with, the economy is going through a rough patch. The IMF has withheld the tranche of 1 billion dollars, which it was to give to the PTI government in March. This will lead to issues with the balance of payments. The international lender had withheld the tranche saying it would hold talks with the new government. So let’s see what deal the government is going to strike with it. Will it negotiate and reach an agreement, which is in favour of the people? The exports of the country are very low in comparison with the imports. What’s more, the gap between them is widening by the day which is adding to the trade deficit. Also, Foreign direct Investment is drying out. So what strategy would pm Shahbaz adopt to increase exports, decrease imports, and attract FDI? Moreover, climate change and its implications are also looming large in Pakistan. As a result of it, global warming has become a considerable threat that Pakistan has yet to deal with. It is manifesting in the shape of frequent heatwaves and changing weather patterns such as flash flooding and droughts. What policy changes will the new government make to tackle climate change? The water crisis is not behind. It also warrants immediate action. As per reports, the per capita availability of water is plunging to new depths. Against over 5000 cubic meters per capita in 1951, it is now below 1000. The previous government, upholding the traditions, did not take any effective measures. As a result, we are facing a water crisis. This will manifest itself in the Khareef season and will affect inter-provincial harmony. So now when a new government has assumed power, it is relevant to ask how will it deal with the water crisis? Last but not least, the new government faces foreign policy challenges, as well as the country’s relations with the Western world, are strained. Let’s see how the new government formulates new foreign policy. To sum up, after considering all these things, it would be naive for people to feel pleased with the success of the no-confidence motion. No doubt it is a historic event in the history of Pakistan as Imran Khan is the first pm to be ousted through it, but his removal does not mean that issues facing the country have been resolved. They are unaddressed so far and will persist unless the new government adopts wise and informed policies. So let’s be optimistic and see if it becomes successful in dealing with all these issues. The writer is a freelance columnist based in Larkana.