Saudi Arabia hands Pakistan the financial red card
Wide spread and deeply entrenched corruption in the political elite is the basic cause. Reforms suggested by IMF at ‘real’ levels are avoided to serve interests of selected few. Added to this is the fact of zero accountability by those in position of favor or whose graph of popularity is high. Refusal therefore, by Saudi Arab to bailout Pakistan via interest-free loans should not have come as a surprise.
The Saudi Finance Minister at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January stated, “We used to give direct grants and deposits without strings attached and we are changing that. We are working with multilateral institutions to actually say we need to see reforms.” If Pakistani politicians thought this reset excluded Pakistan, they should know better now!
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Pakatan’s strategists have lived in a world making themselves believe that the world owed them. The one-track thinking was that due to its geographical placement & the fact that it is a nuclear country, the world cannot possibly let Pakistan fall. Wrong!
Saudi Arab is resetting relationships with countries in the world. This is a factor Pakistan needs to take into equation. We are reduced to a beep on the Saudi radar. Whereas, the strategists in Pakistan are living in a world order that has steadily diminished to disappear soon.
Reset of relations of Saudi Arabia with Iran is a game-changer. Saudi Arabia in all likelihood will start investing with Iran soon.
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Saudi Arabia’s reset with Turkey started in 2020. Turkey understood that with the regional dynamics undergoing a change, they need to get on a better, stronger footing with Saudi Arabia. They focused on increasing trade, attracting more tourists from Saudi Arabia and getting more direct investment from them.
As per a report by NYT [ Updated March 11, 2023], Saudi Arabia is seeking help at different fronts from Washington. This includes normalizing relations with Israel, subject to some favors from the U.S.
A World Bank 2020 report stated that Pakistan’s potential for garnering energy from solar system is very high. “Utilizing just 0.071 percent of the country’s area for solar power generation would meet Pakistan’s current electricity demand,” the report said. [Mideast Eye 18 March 2023]. This is only one example of what Pakistan should be doing instead of being involved in a suicidal hate mission that it is doing.
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Unfortunately, corruption, protecting vested interests, failure to implement law across the board including holy cows has made Pakistan unattractive for investors.
There are no friends in international arena. There are allies. Both allies & enemies change with time.
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The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @yasmeen_9
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