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Falling dollar, rising inflation

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Wisdom on the streets says that when the dollar soars high, inflation rises too, while a fall in the value of the greenback leads to a reduction in prices of necessities.

Tahir Malik Profile Tahir Malik

Perhaps for the very first time, the dollar has fallen by almost Rs. 15 against the Pakistani rupee, however, commodity prices have remained constant. Per unit cost of petroleum products, electricity and gas have not reduced either.

So why did the people not get any relief? A question being asked by everyone yet answered by none.

The truth is that the economy is suffering from a triple lack of planning, teamwork and expertise. Day by day, troubles faced by the country increase with alarming speed. All hopes by common folks to be able to earn and for inflation to fall have been dashed.

The government itself appears baffled and confused. The Finance Minister says GDP will grow by 4% this year. The International Monetary Fund  (IMF) and World Bank have put the figure at 1.5% and 1.3% respectively. Our population will continue to expand by 2.5% per annum. Thus, one way or the other, our GDP will go into negative growth. Experts say Pakistan needs to grow by at least 6% this year, otherwise, more than 3 million people will become unemployed.

The theory about dollar rates affecting inflation appears weak here. The government’s plans and its willingness to execute them is all that matters. Till now neither has the federal government shown us its vision, nor the direction it wishes to take the economy on. As for homework, well, the less said the better.

This sordid tale started with our own local Aristotle, Asad Umar, whose appointment was trumpeted as the gateway to Pakistan’s prosperity. Then we were informed that the IMF-sanctioned Hafeez Sheikh and Raza Baqir (Governor State Bank of Pakistan), have magic wands which will restore us to glory. Now, this responsibility lies with Hammad Azhar while Shaukat Tareen is also on the way to take up some charge or the other. How seriously the PTI-led government planned for the economy is evident from the current game of musical chairs.

Pakistan’s economy was heavily reliant on cotton and textile. Cotton is a boon, a crop that takes minimal water to grow while bringing in precious foreign exchange. Thanks to the untiring negligence of our rulers, we have had the lowest production of cotton in 30 years. Out of 212 total government organizations, 197 are running in loss. The steel mill is Rs. 480 billion in debt while for PIA this figure is close to Rs. 430 billion. The government’s bright idea about generating money is through increasing the price of basic utilities. It is now a real possibility that subsidy worth Rs. 140 billion will be abolished, transferring this amount over to the heavy ones the government is already shouldering.

Meanwhile, imports of sugar, wheat and cotton have increased too. The agriculture sector, once our economy’s mainstay, is now in tatters. In 2018, a bag of DAP fertilizer was retailing for Rs. 2200. By 2020 its price tag had soared to Rs. 3467 and today, it stands at a truly mind-numbing Rs. 5137. With such a rapid rise, how will the prices of food commodities not rise?

The desperate ruling coalition is focused only on procuring more and more loans.

We can now term the dollar-inflation theory an old wives’ tale. Unless the price of utilities and commodities goes down, nothing else will. For the immediate future, inflation remains our fate.

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Pakistan

“Job will be done”: Alleged audio of Zulfi Bukhari, Bushra Bibi gets leaked online  

An alleged audio conversation of Bushra Bibi telling Zulfi Bukhari to sell Imran Khan’s watches has emerged. 

Published by Mehak Javed

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Islamabad: In yet another audio leak, an alleged telephonic conversation featuring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Zulfi Bukhari and Bushra Bibi — wife of former Prime Minister Imran Khan — has emerged online, GNN reported Thursday. 

The new audio leak unearthed a conversation where Imran Khan’s wife asked Zulfi Bukhari to sell the expensive wristwatches owned by her husband.

Both Bushra Bibi and Zulfi Bukhari —after responding to his greeting— can be heard talking about the watches of Imran Khan, which he had received as gifts from foreign leaders. 

Bushra Bibi told Zulfi Bukhari that Imran Khan wanted her to hand those watches to him, so he could sell them. 

“There are some watches of Khan sahib and he asked me to send these to you (Zulfi Bukhari) so you can sell them as they are of no use to him,” said Bushra Bibi in the alleged audio leak.

In response, Zulfi Bukhari nodded to the command and assured Imran Khan’s wife that the ‘job will be done’.

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Pakistan

PM emphasizes to end using corruption for political victimization

The Prime Minister urged all political circles to prepare a clear roadmap to get rid of corruption.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has emphasised the need for doing away with the practice of using corruption as a tool for political victimization.

In his message on International Anti-Corruption Day, being observed today, he regretted that the previous government jailed political opponents on the basis of frivolous corruption allegations.

Terming corruption as a major national issue, the Prime Minister said instead of merely using it for political sloganeering and point scoring, serious efforts should be made for its eradication.

Calling corruption a major impediment to Pakistan’s progress, he said it led to the country’s instability by destroying its economy as well as the administrative structure.

The Prime Minister urged all political circles to prepare a clear roadmap to get rid of corruption.

He said in light of Islamic principles, efforts should be made for strengthening the institutions to do away with the scourge.

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Pakistan

Pakistan ready to play its part for revival of SAARC: PM

He added that the people of SAARC countries are victims of these missed opportunities. 

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday said Pakistan is ready to play its part for the revival of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). 

In a tweet on the SAARC Charter Day being observed on Thursday, the premier said the day is a reminder of vast untapped potential of regional development, connectivity and cooperation among countries of South Asia. 

He further added that the people of SAARC countries are victims of these missed opportunities. 

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