Beyond Austerity: An Alternative Approach to Pakistan’s Economic Crisis

In reference to recent IMF negotiations where there has been no mention of plausible alternatives beyond a couple of technical ‘quick-fix’ suggestions, AWP Islamabad-Rawalpindi invites the public to a policy dialogue titled Beyond Austerity: Alternative Approach to Pakistan’s Economic Crisis on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 4:30 pm at the National Press Club, Islamabad

The panel discussion will feature economist Syed Akbar Zaidi, political economist and AWP Punjab president Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, veteran journalist Mohammed Ziauddin, and journalist Amber Rahim Shamsi. The discussion will be moderated by researcher and AWP organiser Ammar Rashid to explore possibilities of resistance and present the parameters of an alternative economic strategy to austerity and neoliberalism.

Pakistan is set to begin its 13th International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme since the late 1980s, purportedly to curb twin deficits and structurally adjust the economy to ‘promote long term growth, amid widespread austerity, rapid inflation, and declining growth, as a last resort by PTI claiming for it to be the last time the country will seek IMF’s assistance, a claim we have heard many times before from PPP and PML-N.

However, we need to better understand the structural basis of Pakistan’s repeated return to the IMF.

  • Have previous programs laid a platform for sustained employment and economic growth or are these only temporary sources of financial ‘relief’?
  • With the three main political parties and military united mainstream consensus on economic and financial management, what does an alternative people focused economic policy look like?
  • What are the possible ways in which it could be achieved?

In a situation where the fate of millions of working-class people is being decided by a handful of neoliberal economists, a holistic, contextualized and realistic set of policy options urgently needs to become part of public debate. While immediate measures available to the current government need to be discussed, it is equally imperative to begin re-thinking medium & long-term economic policies.

We will also be presenting an outline of an AWP position paper on the Pakistani economy & policy alternatives to austerity & neoliberalism, which will be the basis of the dialogue. Click here to read the paper.

This event is being held in collaboration with the National Press Club’s seminar committee and the Senior Journalists’ Forum.

This event is free and open to the public. Iftar will be served after the event.