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Policy dialogue: Beyond austerity

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Awami Workers Party in collaboration with Senior Journalists Forum is holding a public dialogue to offer a national alternative approach to Pakistan’s economic crisis next week


Herald Report

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.

In this backdrop, and in reference to the IMF negotiations where there has been no mention of plausible alternatives beyond a couple of technical ‘quick-fix’ suggestions, the Awami Workers Party is hosting a policy dialogue on proposed alternative approaches to the current economic crisis in Pakistan.

The panel discussion will feature renowned economist and academic Syed Akbar Zaidi, veteran journalist M. Ziauddin, Dr Asim Sajjad Akhtar, President, AWP, Punjab chapter, and journalist/anchorperson Amber Shamsi on Tuesday, (28 May) at 4:30pm, at the National Press Club, Islamabad. Ammar Rasheed will moderate the event to explore possibilities of resistance and parameters of an alternative economic strategy in an era of neoliberalism.

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