Given our tendency of relying on crutches of loans and aid largesse alike, it does not come as a big surprise to hear Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh say that Pakistan’s total debt has now crossed the lawful limit. Truly, the speed with which we normally take the foreign and domestic loans is ridiculously fast.

A country trapped in excessive debt finds it hard to live with freedom yet the immediate concern is that how the government will be able to run the state when a big chunk of the revenue is meant to be given back to the creditor. And how come would it be able to spend on development and nation building? There is also the factor of overspending; of course most of the money taken from international lending institutions is because of the ruling class’ bent for luxury and wasteful expenditure. Compare that with the ever deteriorating levels of GDP and other indicators of growth, which are falling to new lows. If creative ways to build the battered economy are indeed a rocket science, then at least we must abide by the laws that restrict the borrowing to a certain ceiling, especially when it comes to foreign debt. A failure to pay off this outstanding amount would further restrict freedom in terms of fiscal manoeuvrability; that could also mean turning back again to those quarters like IMF that are quick to take advantage of our appetite for ready cash.