LAHORE - Rupee has already become the weakest currency of the region and is still depreciating every day, stocks are nose-diving and exports not picking up despite all efforts made by the brainy leaders of the ruling coalition. As a result, the country is passing through the worst kind of economic crisis.

The situation requires that, in the larger national interest, the government and opposition parties should make collective efforts to control the meltdown and save the sinking ship.

But, unfortunately, about a dozen major and minor opposition parties, including PML-N, PPP, JUI-F, at an Iftar-dinner hosted by young PPP Chairman – Bilawal – at his Islamabad residence on Sunday, decided to tread a course which will only aggravate the situation and add to people’s miseries. They would launch protests inside and outside the parliament after Eidul Fitr and hold an All Parties Conference (APC) to “chalk out a joint strategy on how to tackle the problems facing Pakistan”.

There are reports that an opposition alliance would be cobbled as a result of the proposed APC and then a movement would be started against the government.

How will the protests/agitation help improve the country’s economy? This strategy will only ruin whatever is left of it and therefore is certainly a recipe for disaster.

Agitation to be a recipe for disaster

Needless to say that top leaders of both the major parties are facing NAB cases, some of which have already been decided and others will be decided in the near future. And since future of these leaders is at stake they will go to any extent to dislodge the PTI-led coalition, no matter what the consequences of their wrong moves for the country. (Maulana Fazlur Rehman, defeated on all seats in the last year’s general elections, has not been able to accept the new reality and wants the ouster of the government sooner than later. He will now host the APC immediately after the month of fasting).

But all leaders must bear in mind that politicians mindful only of their personal interests at this difficult stage would be likened to Nero who was fiddling when Rome was burning.

The one institution that should have spent sleepless nights in the prevailing situation – parliament – has failed to come up to people’s expectations. Parliamentarians on both sides of the political divide could not find a solution to the crisis. Ultimately, their boastful claims that they held so and so number of sessions and enacted so and so number of laws are meaningless and irrelevant for the common mortals.

A physics law says that a person did “no” work if he carried 100 bricks on his head daylong but did not move an inch. His labour would fall in the definition of work only when he moves.

This means when the entire parliament can’t resolve the economic crisis the country is in the clutches of, for people the rest of the business transacted by it is meaningless and irrelevant. Had the parliamentarians on both sides been facing the kind of problems their electors have to face, they would have remained in session till the situation was brought under control.

Even now, the president should immediately call a joint session of the two houses for one-point agenda: Resolution of the economic crisis. It should be treated like a national emergency and treasury and opposition should use their energies to steer the country out of this situation. Renowned economists from across the country should be invited to this session to seek their advice.

Keeping in sight the urgency of the situation, the government should immediately take the steps agreed upon by the participants and the opposition should lend fullest support.

The parliamentarians should not forget that they enjoy a special status – and have special responsibilities. They seek production orders for their appearance in parliament even when they are in jail. They argue that if they were not brought to parliament when the session was going on, their voters would go unrepresented. This is high time for all parliamentarians to rise above their political interests for a greater national cause. They should shelve their agitation plans for the time being and give top priority to save the sinking economy. Their failure to steer the country out of this crisis will make people believe they are going unrepresented in parliament.