Economic stability and national security

Following two meetings, the National Security Committee has determined that the country’s national security hinges upon economic stability. The ongoing and belated session of the NSC was called following an uptick in terrorist activity in the country, predominantly in KP and Balochistan but also in the capital, that forced the civ-mil leadership to take adequate notice of the deteriorating security situation. While it is a welcome that there is a consensus amongst those in charge of running the country that the economy must be salvaged somehow, there is no easy or quick fix. Ironically, the institution that has of late accepted that relative economic stability is a key prerequisite to maintaining peace and bringing prosperity is the very same that has contributed most to its undoing. Since its inception, the military establishment has either directly or indirectly interfered to derail or restrict any civilian government of the past from formulating and executing a medium to long-term economic plan that would introduce meaningful and helpful reform. As a result, no elected PM has ever served a full term in our history, so much so that Imran Khan, who was brought in by the previous military top brass as part of a ‘ten-year plan’ did not make it past three and a half years, soon after he fell out of favour with Gen Qamar Bajwa owing to various disagreements. What is worse in Imran Khan’s case is the fact that he was handpicked by the establishment as their ‘man for the job’ but that project began to come undone and eventually fail miserably at the first sight of confrontation.

There will be no reprieve in the worsening of macroeconomic indicators, let alone any recovery from where we currently stand, unless a government is elected and allowed to run within the confines of the 1973 constitution, without undue hindrance. While the military insists it is now ‘neutral’ and uninterested in political meddling, there is still a long way to go before the electorate fully believes that to be the case. Political parties too must begin to resist the temptation to ‘get the establishment on-board’ to guarantee electoral success. Our economic woes need time to heal, cared for by an economic team that isn’t working under constant anxiety and pressure that they may be removed from power prematurely, so that they can put in place those longer term measures that will yield dividends over time. One hopes all participants of the NSC understand this to be the reality and only way out.


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