Pakistan has been facing growing political and economic instability over the past few months. Inflation has continued to hover around 30 percent, economic growth has plummeted, and the country remains reliant on support from the International Monetary Fund and from bilateral partners such as China and Saudi Arabia to keep its economy afloat. Imran Khan, the country’s most popular politician, remains in jail while his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, has returned to Pakistan after spending years outside the country.
These challenges have been compounded by major geopolitical events, including the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in August 2021, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
To discuss these and a host of other issues facing Pakistan, the Atlantic Council and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies hosted their second annual Pakistan conference on November 1-2. This year’s theme was resilience and reforms, and speakers addressed topics including the future of artificial intelligence, the role of middle powers in today’s volatile geopolitical environment, and ways in which Pakistan’s economy can be reformed so that it generates opportunity for the many, not just for the few. A central tenet of both panel discussions and sidebar conversations was that Pakistani policymakers must pursue reforms in a way that builds resilience across millions of households. To do this, policymakers must...
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