According to Dr Ashfaq Khan, a prominent economist ofPakistan, Budget 2012-13 - meant to be an election year budget - is already dead. The fiscal targets set for the FBR, 3G licences; recoveries from EuroBond and Etisalat were illusionary and will not be met. It also appears that the government’s presumed control over subsidies has already run berserk and could amount to an overspending of over Rs 300 billion. Combined, these slippages amount to over 8 percent of the GDP against a projected 3 percent. The IMF does not agree and taking risk factors into account, they assess a massive 11 percent deficit; in other words, an economic disaster in whichPakistanhas neither a backup plan nor a backup capability.

Whatever hedging was available in the form of domestic borrowing is already exhausted through state borrowing, starving the private sector of the much needed induction of funds. Coalition Support Funds from theUSAin the name of war on terror now undergo scrutiny in which a sizable portion is cut back and delayed. The only option left will be to continue printing paper money leading to devaluation and inflation. The rupee will devalue to over 100 to a US dollar by the end of this year.

Meetings between Pakistani officials and the IMF inDubaiandIslamabadwill most certainly discuss this looming and unpreventable crisis. Ultimately, the international financial institutions will come toPakistan’s rescue in which containment, to some extent, will be possible at a high political cost, sovereignty and instability.

Disastrous consequences of economic mismanagement inPakistanstare down the throat of every Pakistani. The worst affected will be the people ofPakistanin which low income classes will have to bear the brunt in its full fury.  Human resource indices that are already amongst the lowest in the world are likely to plummet to critical proportions, giving rise to poverty, unemployment, crime and intolerance.

At the government level,Pakistanwill lose much of its leverage in foreign policy; something the Kerry-Lugar Bill and Memogate failed to do. To survive on borrowed time, the government will continue to outsource its decision making, plummetingPakistaninto even deeper crises. By the end of its term, the government would have delivered on promises to its benefactors and moderators of the NRO.

WhyPakistanhas to see this day is no more a riddle or conspiracy theory. The entire exercise in weakeningPakistandeliberately has been exposed with the culprits caught red handed repeatedly. To cover up these misdeeds, the enactment of 18th Amendment played a primary role in shifting the centres of power and ensuring that institutions fail. This is the game plan in which Parliament proved ineffective in exercising checks, balances and accountability. It is tragic that the hitherto most prosperousprovinceofPakistanhas ended up with the lowest growth rates and human development indices. HadPunjabwanted and strived, it could have emerged as a shinning role model in these times of socio-economic depression. Unfortunately, this province will face the most treacherous process of dissection and devolution at the hands of butchers.

As I wrote in ‘The Last Waltz’, there is something very wicked in these timings. Events prove that as the time for new elections draws near, instability and anarchy will increase. Add to this instability, the crises being generated in Balochistan and the report of the UN Commission on Missing Persons,Pakistanhas a situation at hand that the government is incapable of handling; rather, as recent performance indicates, it will strive to deepen.

Balochistan has seen the largest influx of corrupt and self-centred rulers in its history. Most of them are involved in corruption and some in crimes like kidnappings, extortion, ransom and patronising criminal gangs. It is also the province in which a fierce and ugly intelligence and counter intelligence war is being fought in the absence of special laws that Parliament is reluctant to enact. In the face of corruption and lack of governmental will, hostile intelligence agencies are training and patronising a handful of separatists whose leaders live in the comforts of Western metropolises.

The UN Commission’s intervention at a time when the issue was already in the Supreme Court has implications much beyond the lip service of human rights. Sometimes I wonder why the Supreme Court failed to take notice of this visit as contempt of its jurisdiction. The report is blunt, to the extent, of reporting outlawry inPakistanby the armed forces, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Despite having being granted visas in a surreptitious manner, the report goes on to infer that Balochistan in particular and Pakistan in general lacks ‘rule of law’ and that functionaries operate beyond the law’s reach within a space of an operational extra-judicial mechanism. At an opportune time, this report will be used againstPakistanto shape an environment, to the extent, of bringing international resolutions and sanctions onPakistanover the Baloch issue.

Barring a handful, the coming winters will be tough for every Pakistani. State institutions will go from bad to worse. Manufactured energy shortages will reach proportions beyond redemption depriving people their bare minimum. With no fuel, gas and electricity, the majority of the population will resort to alternative methods at a huge environmental cost. More industries will close shifts and lay off labour. Sharp vertical pockets of poverty will rise giving way to lawlessness and breakdown. With the state and political parties unable to deliver, space will be ceded to non-state actors and extremist already poised to seize the situation.

Given the present environments,Pakistanis left with very little time and space to redeem itself before a complete breakdown takes effect. In fact, the time to hold peaceful protests and rallies is quickly passing its opportune point. If the recent lawlessness in reaction to a blasphemous film is an indicator, forces of anarchy are already poised to seize an opportunity to swarm the streets to incite violence, intolerance and anarchy. If constitutionalism does not hold a way out of these crises, it is a matter of time before some other force takes over the situation.

I dread the day when “democracy as the best revenge” would be its ultimate toll!

 The writer is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist.