A panel discussion in Karachi titled, “IMF and the economic future of Pakistan” at The Second Flood (T2F) café on Sunday featured the former Finance Minister Asad Umer alongside economists. The conversation was centred around the agreed upon $6 billion bailout plan between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Pakistan government and was indicative of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s overall failure to live up to its self-proclaimed adeptness at fixing the country’s problems.

The panel discussion revealed nothing that economic experts have not already talked about at length when discussing the financial troubles of the country ever since the PTI government came into power. Delaying the loan from the IMF without a clue of what do instead and then proceeding to approach the international lending body without developing a means to bring the economy out of crisis has been the ruling party’s most glaring failure since taking office. The next four years might be spent in attempting to salvage the country’s stuttering growth while combating against the rising prices, when PTI could have instead made lasting improvements if only it matched its well-intentioned ambitions with a realistic plan to go about achieving them. The fact that the current government shares the least blame for the current economic predicament is of no consequence; one year in and PTI has all but reaffirmed that the party’s economic prowess does not surpass its predecessors’.

The fact remains that Asad Umer’s position as Finance Minister was guaranteed long before PTI came into government. Even if Mr Umer was not aware of the nitty gritty numbers that revealed the dire condition of Pakistan’s economy, political speeches before the election implied that PTI had an answer to the country’s economic problems which the former Minister had seemingly identified long before he took office. Why then was the abject failure of the ruling party in governing the economy so clear in the first ten months since being voted into power?

Everything step that PTI and Asad Umer took since taking charge was reactionary and revealed a general unpreparedness on part of the government to deal with the issues that they had predicted they would face in office. For the PTI to bring the ‘change’ that was promised, an economic plan that looked towards implementing a long-term growth trajectory was needed, and instead what the country got was a reshuffle when PTI’s top economic man was seen to be out of ideas.

Travelling to friendly nations for loans and eventually settling for the IMF bailout has only revealed that the country’s newest party only has old ideas to offer up as a means of improvement. Old ideas however, have only given the country 22 IMF bailout packages since independence; what plans does PTI have to ensure that this is the last time Pakistan will have to approach the lending body?