Pakistani Politics Facilitates Economic Stagnation


Pakistan faces many political problems, including rampant corruption, bad governance, allegations of human rights abuses, and interference by international financial institutions in the country’s internal affairs. These problems have contributed to the economic depression the country is currently facing.

In August 2021, Uzair Younus, author of a special report, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the South Asian Economy,” published by the U.S. Institute for Peace, argued that the Pakistani political class has been criticized by the Khan government since its defeat. To resolve the intractable economic crisis (pdf):

“Furthermore, the resumption of the IMF’s stabilization program is likely to force the government to pursue deficit reduction policies that could create economic headwinds and further hurt Pakistani households,” he said. writing.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from power on April 10 when parliament rejected a no-confidence motion.

On November 3, Khan was injured in his lower leg when gunmen attacked a convoy during an anti-government demonstration in Wazirabad, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

File photo: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 19, 2020. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

Khan’s convoy was on its way to the capital to call for a dissolution general election. His aide claimed the attack was an assassination attempt by a rival.

Pakistan’s current government is an alliance of 14 political parties known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement, led by Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif. He faces multiple corruption charges and recently lost the local elections held in Punjab.

Sharif’s government’s credibility took a serious hit when its efforts to maintain power in the state were thwarted by the Supreme Court, which ordered the election of Imran Khan’s ally Chowdhury Pervais Elahi as prime minister. damaged.

The political turmoil is further fueled by allegations admitted by Pakistan’s Electoral Commission (ECP) that Imran Khan and his political party Teherik-e-Insaf (PTI) have violated campaign finance rules. That could disqualify him from sitting as a member of parliament and prevent him from seeking a second term as prime minister.

historical instability

Even a cursory review of Pakistan’s 75-year history reveals that the country has always been politically unstable. Since independence in 1947, Pakistani governments have rarely completed their term of office.

Politics is a dangerous and life threatening occupation in Pakistan. For example, on December 27, 2007, his 15-year-old suicide bomber assassinated his Benazir Bhutto. He then served as Prime Minister until 1977.

Benazir’s father was executed on April 4, 1979 by the government of General Zia Ul Haq. This execution is still widely regarded today as an example of judicial murder.

It seems reasonable to conclude that political uncertainty and instability in Pakistan are affecting the country’s economic development. reached 12.1%.

According to the Pakistan Development Economics Institute, the unemployment rate among graduates rose from 4.9% in 2007-08 to 16.5% in 2018-19. Higher education opportunities are expanding in Pakistan, but the skills of university graduates do not match employers’ expectations.

The October 2022 World Bank Development Update for Pakistan forecasts that the economy will grow by only 2% due to high inflation (pdf). Moreover, the recent devastating floods are also expected to cause widespread economic disruption.

monsoon season in sewang
A displaced man cools off from the heat on a flooded highway after rainfall and flooding during the monsoon season on September 16, 2022 in Sefwan, Pakistan. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)

economic impact

Preliminary estimates suggest that the country’s poverty rate could rise by 2.5 to 4 percentage points, pushing 9 million people into poverty. The situation could not be alleviated without governments taking decisive action to help the poor.

Pakistan also faces challenges stemming from a large current account deficit, high public debt, and declining exports due to a slowing global economy (pdf).

The unstable political situation has severely affected Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves. According to the National Bank of Pakistan’s forex report, in September 2021 he had total reserves of $19.2 billion, and in October 2022 he was reduced to $8.9 billion (pdf).

Declining foreign exchange reserves are putting pressure on the Pakistani Rupee (PKR), making it difficult to maintain a reliable exchange rate. One USD is currently worth 222 PKR.

Pakistan is also struggling to secure loans from friendly countries and pass on existing debt.

Political parties in Pakistan have blamed each other for the crisis and accused their opponents of corruption. It can exacerbate and perpetuate economic stagnation.

Thus, political problems, combined with the global economic downturn, have contributed significantly to Pakistan’s economic stagnation and prevented it from adopting the structural reforms necessary to save the country from economic ruin.

Adopting and implementing genuine reforms will require the cooperation of political parties and the determined efforts of politicians to meet the needs of the Pakistani people.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Kashan Pirzada


Kashan Pirzada is an Associate Professor of Accountancy at Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz School of Accountancy (TISSA). He was an Associate His Fellow of the Asian Institute of Corporate Governance (ARICG) and a Senior Fellow of the University of Malaya. In 2020, he received the University of Utara Malaysia Outstanding Service Award.

Gabriel Moens


Gabriël A. Moens AM is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Queensland and has served as Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor of Murdoch University. In 2003, Moens was awarded the Australian Centennial Medal by the Prime Minister for his contributions to education. He has taught extensively in Australia, Asia, Europe and America. Moens recently published two novels, A Twisted Choice (2020) and The Coincidence (2021).