Pakistan is facing its worst economic crisis with a repayment liability of $73 billion by 2025. The country is currently facing multiple challenges such as high inflation, a weakening currency, and a shortage of food. The foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan, its central bank, stand at $4.6 billion, which is barely enough to cover a month’s imports. The Express Tribune, a local newspaper, has stated that the present situation is a creation of its own mismanagement and that “painful decisions have to be made, if Pakistan wants to be seen as a responsible nation in the global community.”
An analyst has said that Pakistan’s focus has always been on “things which have little bearing on the economy.” He added that the problem has been exacerbated by deep-rooted corruption, a state of denial, political uncertainty, and an obsessive focus on Kashmir. The dominance of the military has also weighed in on the country’s economic struggles.
In contrast, Bangladesh has focused on the economy, human development, and rooting out terrorism. A strong leadership has made the difference and the focus has been on employment, education, and overall economic growth. Trade between India and Pakistan has been suspended since 2019, and while Pakistani industrialists have been stressing the need to open up trade with India, its political class has remained unmoved with an obsessive focus on Kashmir.
Pakistan Defence, a platform providing news and analysis related to the country’s defence, strategic affairs, security issues, and military affairs, has noted that “the infelicitous phrase ‘international basket case’ might better apply to Pakistan today than when it was applied to Bangladesh in the 1970s.” Bangladesh has surpassed Pakistan economically and in terms of quality of life.
In conclusion, for Pakistan to reboot its economy, it will have to take “tough” decisions and not just steer through one crisis situation to another. The country needs to focus on human development, economic growth, and reducing dependence on loans and aid, similar to Bangladesh.