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Pakistan newly elected PM Sharif to face same old problems during his regime: Report

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Islamabad [Pakistan], April 22 (ANI): Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will now inherit the same old problems, including the economic crisis, which were there during the former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan regime, said a media report.

Writing in an opinion piece in The Hill, Husain Haqqani, director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, said that the new government, headed by Shahbaz Sharif, three-time chief minister of Punjab province, now faces the difficult task of undoing the consequences of Khan’s bombast and incompetence.

According to the report, Imran Khan was elected in 2018 as a “new broom sweeps clean” celebrity, and ended up dividing Pakistanis, mismanaging the economy and undermining Pakistan’s relationships abroad.

Even in his last days, his claims of being the victim of a foreign conspiracy have injected venom into the veins of an already troubled polity, the report said.

Days before the vote on no-confidence against his government, former Prime Minister Imran Khan alleged that the resolution against him was part of a “foreign conspiracy”.

Haqqani, in his report, said that Imran Khan is doing what he does best: rabblerousing. Khan is blaming the United States for conspiring to oust him from office, while naming Pakistan’s judiciary and military as co-conspirators.

The army’s chief of staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has repeatedly indicated that better relations with the US are in Pakistan’s interest. But Khan is unlikely to step back from his false claims and will probably continue to fire up his base, hoping to ride an anti-American wave to success in the next elections, the report said.

The US remains Pakistan’s largest export market, while Europe and the United Kingdom are significant investors and trading partners.

Khan has a hardcore cult-like following that believes anyone who doesn’t agree with their leader is a traitor to Pakistan and Islam. Khan is also hoping that there are people in the military, especially in the middle ranks, who can be swayed by the sentiment that “Pakistan is under foreign attack” by other means, Haqqani said.

Talking about Khan’s Moscow visit on the day Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Haqqani said, Russia’s trip made no foreign policy or economic sense and was undertaken against the advice of Pakistan’s military and foreign office. Pakistan’s trade with Russia is a meager USD 200 million, and Russian President Vladimir Putin was no longer in a position to deliver on promises of future oil supplies, investment or trade.

Haqqani further said that under Khan, Pakistan’s economy dived into a tailspin, with per-capita GDP declining for the first time in years. Inflation reached double digits. The rupee plunged in value. The stock market never recovered to pre-2017 levels. Khan’s own finance minister, Shaukat Tarin, admitted that their government had no economic plan, the report said.

This makes the task of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan more difficult, the report added. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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