In a recent episode of the Geo News program “Naya Pakistan with Shahzeb Khanzada,” a panel of senior journalists and analysts discussed a range of pressing political and economic issues in Pakistan. Here are some key points from their conversation:
Nawaz Sharif’s Return: The panelists discussed the return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan and his engagement with the establishment. Adil Shahzeb, a senior journalist and analyst, mentioned that Nawaz Sharif might not have wanted his dealings with the establishment to sour, especially before winning elections. Muhammad Malik, another senior journalist, raised the question of whether Nawaz Sharif himself is in a position of negotiation, implying that he may not have had much choice in the matter.
Agricultural Income Tax: Shabbar Zaidi, former Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), emphasized that the matter of agricultural income tax primarily falls under the jurisdiction of provincial governments. He highlighted that Sindh, for example, does not even have a dedicated department for agricultural income tax. The discussion revolved around the need for Pakistan to reform its taxation system, particularly in the agriculture sector.Economic Challenges: The panelists discussed Pakistan’s economic challenges, including its reliance on foreign loans and the need for structural reforms. They acknowledged that Pakistan has been facing economic difficulties, and some believed that emergency programs might be required to address the rising poverty and inflation rates. The conversation highlighted the importance of addressing issues like subsidies and currency management.
Role of the Establishment: The discussion also touched upon the relationship between political leaders and the military establishment in Pakistan. Adil Shahzeb mentioned that Nawaz Sharif’s recent statements and actions have caused a stir in the political landscape, but the establishment’s role remains influential. The panelists emphasized the need for political leaders to navigate this complex relationship effectively.
Revival of PML-N: Adil Shahzeb argued that the revival of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is necessary for Pakistan’s political landscape. He suggested that Nawaz Sharif’s confrontational stance may be due to his desire to bring PML-N back into the political mainstream. The panelists also acknowledged that political developments in Pakistan are multi-faceted, with various actors influencing the political scene.
Reforms for Poverty Alleviation: The discussion concluded with a focus on addressing poverty in Pakistan. The panelists stressed the importance of devising effective strategies, such as providing subsidized essential food items, to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the population.
The panel discussion shed light on several significant political and economic challenges facing Pakistan. It touched upon the dynamics between political leaders and the establishment, the need for agricultural income tax reforms, and the broader economic issues that require attention. The conversation underscored the complexity of Pakistan’s political landscape and the importance of effective governance and policy reforms to address the country’s challenges.