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Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan to begin unemployment march


Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan to begin unemployment march

AFP Photo
Photo: AFP Photo

Sirajul Haq—chief of Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami party—called an unemployment march in Islamabad today.

With the COVID-19 induced lockdowns, Pakistan’s economy devolved as businesses were forced to close, subsequently increasing the unemployment rate to 15%, the highest in the country’s history. Likewise, the government excluded the informal economy—in which three of every four people lost their livelihoods last year—from their projection of 3.9% GDP growth for 2021.

Protesters are demanding wage increases in line with inflation and the promised 10 million jobs, yet today’s march is unlikely to have the desired effect as the government has been reluctant to make concessions arguing that wages have already increased by 120%. Expect Pakistan’s unemployment rate to continue to worsen in the short-term as in the recently presented budget, the government failed to reduce non-development expenditure. Likewise, Islamabad’s ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund could be put on hold since discussions could not find consensus on fiscal spending plans and social spending to continue the disbursement of the $6 billion bailout program, which began in 2019. Islamabad’s inability to conclude those discussions could have far-reaching consequences, especially for the energy sector, as loans would bring investment projects that would switch to renewable energy.

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