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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 550, 3 February 2023

Joining heads: PM Shehbaz calls for an all-parties conference



PM Shehbaz invites Imran Khan to the APC to discuss challenges plaguing the country

Abigail Miriam Fernandez

On 1 February, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for an All-Parties Conference (APC) in an attempt to bring the leaders of all political parties to deliberate on pressing matters that are currently plaguing the country. The conference is also aimed at finding solutions to curb the daunting economic and political crises. PM Shehbaz Sharif invited leaders from all political parties including Imran Khan. The APC is scheduled for 7 February, following which PM Shehbaz Sharif would take the parliament into confidence on the course of action on challenges being confronted by the country.

The meeting is to be attended by all stakeholders, including Rangers and officers from intelligence institutions. This decision to hold an APC comes as Pakistan is being hit with challenges on three different fronts, namely, the political front, economic front and security front.

Hit on the political front
Pakistan’s political mess is known to all. Even by its own standards, the current political crisis is unlike that of the past, with parliamentary boycotts, en masse resignations, dissolving of parliaments and election fever. The situation took a turn in April 2022 with the fall of the PTI government and things have never been the same for Pakistan. As Pakistan prepare for a general election later this year, it is to be seen whether the political parties reach a consensus and decide to continue in a realpolitik style or give the country a break from power politics.

Hit on the economy
Pakistan’s economic crisis has spiralled out of control rapidly in the last few months. The foreign exchange reserves have gone down to USD 3.09 billion coupled with the depreciation of the rupee. Additionally, the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release money under a stalled bailout programme continues to witness roadblock, leaving Pakistan’s economy in a desperate state.

Hit on the security
To make matters worse, Pakistan’s internal security has taken a hit with the recent uptick in terrorist attacks across the country. Most recently, a suicide bombing at a mosque in the Peshawar Police Lines area claimed the lives of at least 101 people. Additionally, several incidents of violence have taken place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and other areas, targeting police personnel and civilians dead. Particularly, over the last few months, the threat posed by the TTP has increased leaving the state perplexed on ways to tackle the threat of extremism.
PM calls All Parties Conference on Feb 7, invites Imran Khan,” Dawn, 3 February 2023
PM Shehbaz invites Imran Khan to APC to tackle challenges,” The News International, 3 February 2023

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