The National, the new English-language daily edited by ex-Telegraph boss Martin Newland and (bear in mind) backed by the government of the United Arab Emirates, is turning out to be a pretty interesting read more often than not. Here’s their Isambard Wilkinson on a story that should be getting bigger play in the U.S. media but isn’t: Pakistan is going bankrupt:
Pakistan is clamping down on foreign exchange dealers in a bid to stem the flow of capital leaving the country as it teeters on the verge of bankruptcy.
The government, led by the Pakistan People’s Party, has taken controversial measures to restore international confidence in its economic policies before important meetings next week.
Pakistan needs a rapid injection of US$4billion (Dh14.7bn) to prevent it defaulting on debts by the end of the month.
Pakistanis have taken to the streets of late to protest rising prices and regular blackouts. If Pakistan is forced to go to the IMF hat in hand, the IMF will in turn likely demand austerity measures, including the discontinuance of many agricultural subsidies. This will mean lots and lots of trouble in a nuclear-armed country with a thriving Islamist movement and borders with Afghanistan, India, and China. Bad all the way around.
Here is The National’s Middle East news page. It’s worth checking in on from time to time.