About ‘charter of economy’

Author: Daily Times

There’s no stronger argument in favour of an all-party charter of economy than the fact that if one had been agreed already, the previous (PTI) administration would not have been able to sabotage the IMF program and lay financial landmines for its successor by freezing energy prices for purely political gains; which, incidentally, ended up causing the exchequer (read the people) many billions more than it saved. PML-N took its sweet time in taking the tough decisions that were then needed to revive the bailout facility, but it must be credited with finally taking the bull by the horns and making sure there was a tick in every box; to the satisfaction of the donor of last resort.

So, the market has found its feet once again, but not before going through the floor and raising concerns all the way to sovereign default. Part of the government’s reasons to push for the charter, just when PTI continues to rule out any sort of engagement with them till the next election is announced, is to show how it lost precious political capital for a task that just needed to be done. And it wants to make sure that whichever government comes to power plays from the same rule book.

Fair enough. But the problem is the divisive, and divided political landscape. Trying to get Pakistan’s top political parties to talk to each other for the sake of the country is like getting Pakistan and India to the negotiating table for the greater benefit for South Asia.

Both seem equally problematic. Yet this is one problem that the political lot, who are always falling all over themselves in trying to lead this country, will have to work out among themselves. It’s not as if someone is going to arm-twist them into doing what is after all their most basic job.

And if they must talk to each other, even though none of them want to, then what better place to start than the economy? A charter of economy must be signed as soon as possible. *

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