Ishaq Dar on Pakistan’s economy

Former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has emphasized that a small group of speculators bears responsibility for the fluctuations and increases in the value of the US dollar against the Pakistani rupee. He asserted that the government must take action against these individuals. Dar made these remarks during a media interaction.

When questioned about the current condition of the Pakistani rupee and rising electricity bills, Dar stated, “The government needs to confront these speculators who are holding the Pakistani economy hostage. The State should use its authority to counter them. Only a handful of individuals are engaging in speculative activities for their personal gain. The current currency value is a result of speculation; the focus should be on the real effective exchange rate for trade.”

When asked about the performance of the previous PDM government and the economic situation during his tenure, Ishaq Dar commented, “There are no quick fixes. During our leadership from 2013 to 2018 under Nawaz Sharif, we achieved significant progress. Pakistan had a strong stock market, low inflation rates, and was performing well on various fronts. We had attained regional influence and played a crucial role internationally. We were on the path to joining the G20 and had become the 24th largest global economy. Unfortunately, this progress was halted. The damage inflicted during these years cannot be undone in a short time. We need to revive those policies and require time to reverse the adverse effects.”

Dar noted that he took charge of Pakistan’s economy after Imran Khan’s removal when the country was on the brink of default due to PTI government policies. He stated, “Pakistan was on the verge of bankruptcy, and its economy had contracted. The current state of the country can be attributed to ‘Project Imran Khan,’ initiated in 2011 and culminating in his ascent to power in 2018 through alleged electoral irregularities. Pakistan has endured challenging times.”

He explained that there was a perception of Pakistan potentially defaulting, but the PDM government prevented that scenario. “Some domestic and international entities may have wished for Pakistan to default first and then negotiate. However, we did not allow that to happen. We bolstered Pakistan’s reserves, attracted foreign direct investment, and defied the default narrative. We safeguarded Pakistan’s economy and silenced skeptics. We fulfilled all of Pakistan’s sovereign commitments and reduced external debts.”

Dar expressed confidence that if PMLN, under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, were granted a fresh and complete mandate, they could gradually rectify the economy, as they had done previously. He affirmed that the PMLN would vigorously contest the elections, stating, “We have a proven track record of delivering results. We made Pakistan a nuclear power and achieved economic growth. The economic indicators from 2013 to 2017 speak for themselves. We will lead Pakistan towards economic prosperity, but we were ousted due to a conspiracy.”

He emphasized that there is no future for Imran Khan, and his politics of division and chaos should not be tolerated. “A cult should not be permitted in the name of politics. Pakistan’s interests must always come first, and there can be no compromise on that.”

Regarding the increase in electricity prices, Ishaq Dar described it as a multifaceted issue. He explained, “Electricity theft, losses in transmission lines, and unpaid bills all contribute to this problem. It’s a complex matter involving both expenditure and revenue. We must also consider capacity payments, and the devaluation of the rupee is a significant factor in our economic challenges, which in turn affects electricity bills.”

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