Pakistan’s grave economic situation is a worrying sign for the entire nation specifically the sky-high debt. In the wake of this situation, senators from the opposition have now demanded the resignation of Ishaq Dar, the Finance Minister of Pakistan. The demand for the resignation came after Chief of Army Staff Qamar Naved Bajwa, in a meeting with the business community of Karachi, said that the economy of Pakistan is in on the verge of a possible collapse.
The statement by the Army Chief was surprising as the military rarely speaks about the economic issues faced by the country. Senator Nasreen Jalil of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said Dar himself is fighting out a corruption case and thus the Finance Ministry has come to a halt. She said that if economic indicators deteriorate, the onus thereof shall lie on Ishaq Dar.
Dar is currently facing corruption charges in which he is said to have increased his assets beyond his source of income. Dar’s asset increased by 91% from 2008-09 from Rs. 9.11 million to an exorbitant Rs. 831.70 million.
During his tenure as the Finance Minister of Pakistan, overall debt and liabilities have increased from Rs. 16 trillion in 2013 to Rs. 25 trillion in 2017, representing an increase of about 57%. Prior to the start of Dar’s tenure as Finance Minister of Pakistan, every Pakistani owed approximately Rs. 91,000 in 2013, but after 4 years in the office, this number has increased to Rs. 120, 381.
Increase in debt is not foreseen as a problem internally in Pakistan, even the World Bank warned of the increasing external debt of the country. The bank in its South Asia Economic Focus (SAEF) report said that Pakistan needs at least $31 billion to keep its economy afloat. In August, World Bank warned that Pakistan may soon become ineligible to receive financial assistance from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) due to rapid decrease in the foreign reserves of the country.
Analysts and politicians have been demanding the need of a new Finance Minister who can address the current debt condition of the country and let the exchange rate determine its own position so that it is not overvalued.