Pakistan has been facing an economic crisis for a number of years, with rising inflation, a weak currency, and a high debt burden. The situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the economy hard. In response, the government has announced a number of austerity measures, including cuts to public spending and the introduction of new taxes.
However, despite the government’s promises to address the economic crisis, corruption remains a significant problem in Pakistani politics. The recent revelations about the excessive spending on foreign trips and protocol vehicles by cabinet members are just the latest example of this.
According to reports, Rs63.71 million was spent on the foreign visits of 23 members of the federal cabinet during the first nine months of the coalition government. This is a significant amount of money, especially considering the current economic situation in the country.
In addition to corruption, there is also a sense of irresponsibility among many Pakistani politicians when it comes to addressing the economic crisis. Rather than focusing on implementing policies that will help to revive the economy and create jobs, many politicians are more concerned with their own personal interests and agendas.
Interestingly, the information is incomplete as the reply shows the name of Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal to have undertaken a visit to Switzerland from Dec 12 to 14, but his name is missing from the list where expenditures have been mentioned.
Similarly, the answer has no mention of the visits undertaken by Foreign Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari as the party claims that he has been paying for his visits from his own pocket.
According to the list, the ministers and the ministers of state who undertook foreign visits during the first nine months in power are Sherry Rehman, Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Azam Nazeer Tarar, Shazia Marri, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Asad Mehmood, Syed Naveed Qamar, Israr Tareen, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Dr Musaddik Malik, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, Ehsanur Rehman Mazari, Abdul Qadir Patel, Sajid Hussain Turi, Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Aminul Haq, Faisal Sabzwari, former finance minister Miftah Ismail and Special Assistant to the PM Faisal Karim Kundi.
This is evident the excessive spending on foreign trips and protocol vehicles, which is a clear example of politicians prioritizing their own comfort and prestige over the needs of the country. It is also reflected in the lack of progress on key economic issues, such as tax reform, infrastructure development, and investment promotion.
Despite the severity of the economic crisis, there seems to be a lack of urgency among many politicians when it comes to finding solutions. This is a worrying trend, as it suggests that the country’s leaders are not fully committed to addressing the challenges that Pakistan faces.
The impact of corruption and irresponsibility on Pakistan’s economy cannot be overstated. These problems undermine the credibility of the government and erode public trust in the political system. They also lead to a misallocation of resources, as money is siphoned off to fund personal projects and interests rather than being invested in the economy.
This has a number of negative consequences, including reduced investment, slower economic growth, and a widening income gap. It also makes it harder for the government to implement much-needed reforms, as there is a lack of political will to take tough decisions that may be unpopular with certain groups.
In order to address the economic crisis in Pakistan, it is essential that corruption and irresponsibility are tackled head-on. This means holding politicians and officials accountable for their actions, and ensuring that public resources are used in a transparent and responsible manner. It also means promoting a culture of accountability and transparency in all areas of government, and encouraging civil society to play an active role in monitoring the actions of those in power.
The economic crisis in Pakistan is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted response. While there are a number of factors contributing to the problem, corruption and irresponsibility among politicians are major obstacles to progress. By addressing these issues, and promoting a more accountable and transparent political culture, Pakistan can begin to rebuild its economy and create a better future for its citizens.
Coverpage web desk with input from news agencies
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Coverpage’s editorial stance