A spectre is haunting Pakistan, its government and its citizens: that of the upcoming International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal. Going to the IMF remains an extremely unpopular move due to the harsh economic conditions that accompany any bailout. Every government, tenure after tenure, promises that Pakistan will not have to resort to going to the IMF; yet like the blistering heat of a Lahore summer, it has proved impossible to avoid.

This time around, there is more panic than usual surrounding the IMF deal. Despite the fact that negotiations are still going on, and the government has already secured financial packages from other countries, thus reducing our dependence on the Fund, there is still a lot of worry and depression among the citizens who know that they will be the ones most likely to incur the tough after-effects of any deal. The reason for the heightened anxiety around the deal is that everyday economic conditions have already deteriorated to a large extent for many citizens, with middle and lower-class consumers suffering the most. With the incessant increase in gas, electricity and medicine prices, it appears that citizens do not have hope that the government will shelter them from the further inflation that is expected to arise out of the bailout package.

We recognise that going to the IMF was necessary, and the country will have to suffer through the stringent conditions of the package. Yet if the government hopes to still inspire trust from the people, it needs to address the many rumours that are coming of the conditions of the package and communicate to the people on what to expect from the deal. Enough with the platitudes and vague reassurances- if there is a strong likelihood of further inflation and currency devaluation, the government needs to be straightforward with the people, so we can at least prepare for the worst.