PRIME Minister's Adviser on Finance Shaukat Tarin has outlined Pakistan's strategy to come out of the current economic crisis. Speaking at a press conference at Washington, where he had gone to meet the concerned administration officials and international financial institutions' executives, he sounded quite optimistic about the country's ability to weather the storm. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that it is an uphill task, especially as it is not only Pakistan that is passing through a critical phase but also the entire world is under the dark shadow of economic meltdown. One has, therefore, to keep one's fingers crossed. At this stage, Pakistan needs funds to bail it out of the economic mess and a well-thought policy is needed that provides a fillip to growth and also shields the common man to the maximum possible extent from the harsh realities of the situation. It is good to hear Mr Tarin say that there would be no increase in oil and gas prices. In fact, they should be coming down in view of the falling international market. Pakistan is virtually following the IMF recipe by withdrawing subsidies on a range of goods. We are confident Mr Tarin would be contemplating getting the backing of funds from whatever source he can, including if necessary the IMF. His stand that the power and agricultural sectors need to be developed deserves unqualified endorsement; for the whole country is suffering because of the previous government's neglect of them. We hope his discussions with the various financing agencies and US administration would bear fruit and he is able to secure enough funds to raise the much-needed infrastructure. But we must keep in mind that while Washington did help Pakistan improve its economic position through its clout with IFIs following our commitment to cooperate in the War On Terror, it has consistently sidetracked our request for free access to its markets despite the fact that we could not possibly have flooded them even by utilising our fullest capacity; rather, our share in its global imports would continue to have been insignificant. The success of Mr Tarin's idea of focusing on trade with the US in various sectors must be seen in the light of this American policy, unless he is able to win the Administration over to his point of view. Likewise, Washington would like to pressurise Islamabad against the Iranian gas pipeline project, the most feasible and cheapest source available to us, and instead persuade us to take the energy resource from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan. We should not compromise on the Iran gas issue.