On Monday, during a seminar on “Emerging Markets” held in Islamabad, the Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde, made some interesting remarks regarding Pakistan’s economy. Painting an optimistic picture, she said that Pakistan’s economy was no longer in a state of crisis. Economic growth had increased while fiscal deficit and inflation had shown a gradual decline. According to her, Pakistan had achieved macroeconomic stability under the current PML-N government.

However, the optimism was soon countered by her concerns regarding the existing corruption and lack of transparency within the economy. Noting that Pakistan ranks 117 out of 168 countries in regards to perceived corruption, she stated that such inadequacies within the economy deters foreign investment. Pakistan, being an emerging market, needs to take notions of transparency and accountability very seriously. If these economic concerns are not addressed, falling investment and exports can further damage the country’s economy.

What we can gather from these remarks is that although Pakistan’s economy seems to have improved on paper, there are a couple of crucial factors that still hamper economic growth; namely, corruption, transparency, and accountability. Time and again the issue of corruption has come to haunt PML-N and it is not just a national issue, but an international humiliation if the IMF chief is highlighting it.

Panama Leaks, political appointments, issues of red tape, are all genuine criticisms against the current government, and this time not from an opposition party but an economic expert. The PTI’s demands for resignation from Prime Minister Nawaz in regards to his involvement in corruption has led to the plan on locking down Islamabad. If the PM and his family are free of any fault and illegality, why not release details on the money trail and prove their innocence? Transparency, and an end to the PTI’s complaints in one fell swoop. That the PML-N has not been able to generate this transparency, only makes the nation more certain that there are things to hide. Then perhaps it is only fair that opposition parties are mounting pressure on PML-N in any way that they can. The issue of corruption and accountability can no longer be ignored.