A year of political unrest has left Pakistan’s economy in a critical situation, with millions living in poverty and the country on the brink of default. The recent arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has exacerbated the situation, with deadly protests and the detention of political leaders likely to deepen the economic downturn. Since Khan’s arrest, more than 3,500 of his supporters have been arrested.
The military, which has historically held significant power in Pakistan, is facing unique criticism. The conflict has also caused the judiciary to split as it struggles to mediate conflicts. The current Prime Minister, Shebaz Sharif, has defied a Supreme Court order, and Pakistan’s economic growth is expected to be minimal in the next few years.
Despite the economic challenges, Pakistan’s military denies political interference and claims neutrality. Experts fear that a military takeover remains a possibility. Although the government and military have expressed openness to negotiate, Khan’s supporters believe he is being forced out of politics before the elections later this year.
Without the support of the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan is struggling to remain financially stable. The country survives on short-term loans from allies, including China and Saudi Arabia, but needs billions more in emergency loans. Pakistan is considering emergency measures to prevent elections, and some worry a military takeover would be the only solution.
As the economic situation worsens, individuals like Malik Abdul Kareem, who runs small businesses in Islamabad, fear for their future. With business down by 60%, he is considering moving to Australia. As poverty rates rise and the middle-class struggles, many are left wondering how Pakistan will recover from this crisis.