The new government in Pakistan was not under any illusion of the enormity of the tasks ahead when it assumed power after Prime Minister Imran Khan and Company were shown the door. And the number one daunting challenge was on the economic front, where the country was already tottering on the brink of collapse, only to be reinforced with “more of the same” as the days rolled by. The foreign exchange reserves of Pakistan are now pegged at slightly over US$ 9.7 billion. According to a media report, the reserves mark a drop of nearly 50 percent from last August and “enough to pay for less than two months of imports.” And the Pakistani Rupee has breached the 200 mark against the American dollar.
Against the pressure from the International Monetary Fund with which Islamabad is negotiating a US$ 3 billion bailout package, the Shariff government has had to raise the prices of petrol, diesel and light diesel twice in one week, knowing full well that the hikes will have an impact on inflation. According to the Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, the previous government of Khan is to be blamed. “I have to reach an agreement with the IMF. Shaukat Tarin (former finance minister) and Imran Khan had tied our hands by signing agreements with the IMF and then violated it … We cannot deviate much from earlier agreements … I would not impose taxes in June, but subsidy would be withdrawn,” Ismail has been quoted.