FOR recovering alcoholics, the "cold turkey" technique is the best remedy to kick the habit. In other addictions, like heroin, for instance, the junkie has to be weaned away in a slow progression. But not for alcohol; just a drop can destroy a year's worth of abstinence. Do we just say no, then, to a report released by the US-based Citibank recently, that has urged Pakistan to seek IMF assistance to avoid default on its foreign debt? Are IMF loans more dangerous for the faith than the best spirit that can be distilled? The report cites Pakistan's rising political instability, falling forex reserves and the weakening Pakistani rupee as the factors that are raising the chance of default. Like most economic variables, these too, are cruelly interlinked. For instance, the falling forex reserves do have a bearing on the value of the rupee. And the falling value of the rupee leads to an increase in the quantum (in rupees) of our total foreign debt; a single rupee that the dollar gains in value raises our foreign debt by about Rs 47 billion. The rupee has fallen by more than 18 percent in the last four months. The earlier argument about the rupee being overvalued and unnaturally kept buoyant by the central bank does not hold sway any more; 18 percent outstrips even the more liberal estimates of the said overvaluation. Political instability affects all markets that are subject to speculation, not just the one for foreign exchange. The Karachi Stock Exchange, for instance, has lost about 50 percent of its total market capitalization. In just four months, it has gone down to $37.6 billion from the recent high of $75.3 billion. Having once been bitten by the international donor agencies, however, we should be twice shy about the whole prospect of approaching them again. Not only is it an expensive proposition, since their rather creative accounting methods leave us more and more in debt, but there is a lot of sovereignty we would have to sacrifice as well. A recovering alcoholic would know more.