Deepening crises.

How bad will things get? What happens next? It is the question everyone is asking in the country following the assassination attempt on Imran Khan in Wazirabad last week as the former prime minister was leading his protest march on Islamabad to force early elections in the country. He and his party quickly blamed the shooting on an alleged conspiracy between the government and the military.

Sporadic protests broke out across the country as he and his party demanded the resignation of the prime minister, interior minister and a military officer currently posted in a senior position in ISI. Imran Khan, who was shot in his legs, appeared on television from his hospital room the next evening to instruct his party to continue their protest till the resignation demand was met.

He also promised to return to the streets once he is recovered to lead the march to the federal capital. It looks like Pakistan has been ushered into yet another stage of instability with an increased likelihood of political violence after the attempted assassination of Imran Khan.

The PTI's anti-government protests and attempt on its founder's life come at a time when the economy is facing one of the worst balance of payment crises in its history, exacerbated by devastating floods that have caused losses of $40 billion.

Any intensification in political instability or violent protests will make sure that Pakistan's economy does not recover quickly

Recently, the International Monetary Fund has asked Pakistan to impose new taxes of Rs600bn to achieve the tax-to-GDP ratio target of 9.5 per cent. Pakistan's tax collection is falling short of the target due to a slowing economy and shrinking imports as Pakistan manages to cut the trade deficit by nearly 27pc in the July-October period of FY23 by blocking imports. The trade deficit shrank to $11.5bn solely because of the steep fall in imports.

Pakistan is no stranger to political violence and has survived its share of assassinations and attempts on the life of its serving and former prime ministers. But political and economic analysts feel the nation's economy blighted by super floods, deepening external sector troubles and runaway monthly inflation of over 26.50pc has little strength left in it to survive further escalation of political instability and violence this time around.

Investors were spooked, and share prices dropped the day after the shooting of Imran Khan, showing how the markets would react if political instability...

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