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‘Strong Decisions Needed For Long-Term Economic Gain’

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Press Release: Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI) on Friday called on the government to put in place strong policies and take difficult decisions for the country’s long-term gain.

The think tank said this while launching its annual report ‘Pakistan Outlook 2021 – Politics, Economy & Security’, which provides an in-depth analysis and forecast of the political, foreign policy, security, and economic trends in the country. The report also takes an exclusive look at energy security.

IPI noted that policymaking in the country has for long been reigned by a reactionary approach that panders to short-term solutions. Such an approach, it cautioned, subdues symptoms while leaving the root causes untouched.

Without an effective policymaking and implementation framework in place, IPI Executive Director Prof. Sajjad Bokhari said, “it would be difficult for the country to unshackle itself from the chains of frequent boom-bust economic cycles and problems like food inflation and circular debt would continue to hinder sustainable growth.”

Policy Analyst and Member of IPI Advisory Board Raza Rumi emphasized on the need for a consensus among the political elites on reforming public owned enterprises, restoring parliamentary oversight over the executive, legal and judicial reform, strengthening federalism, and transferring powers and resources to local governments.

During 2021, he believed the challenges to governance would intensity unless a political settlement is reached among the opposition, the government, and the establishment.

Former Defense Secretary Lt Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik, while deliberating on the emerging security environment in the current year, also stressed on improved governance and restoring the public’s confidence in the government’s ability of deliver.

“Serious measures have to be taken to improve the governance standards in the country so as to bring socio-economic justice to the doorstep of every Pakistani. This is most requirement for the national security,” he maintained.

Gen Malik underscored that the biggest hazard to national security on the internal front is the loss of trust by the populace in the ability of the state to safeguard their interests against foreign and domestic threats, and provide a balanced social structure for one and all.

This may be the year of ‘make or break’ significance, he said.

Former Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, while evaluating the foreign policy challenges, observed that in an unsettled global and regional environment, the outlook for Pakistan in 2021 will remain uncertain.

On the issue of engaging the new Biden administration in the United States, Amb. Bashir was of the opinion that ties with the US are longstanding and new areas of common interests will have to be identified.

Pakistan, the former foreign secretary suggested, will have to spell out its own geo-economic perspective to the Biden Administration and seek avenues for private sector cooperation in all sectors.

Academician Dr Adnan Arshad in his take on COVID-19 said that while pandemic was ill-fated, but its occurrence provides an opportunity to set up a different kind of world where health care can be delivered to all in a cost-effective manner.

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Naya Daur