LAHORE - The Pakistani rupee literally crashed on Tuesday, dealing a serious blow to the already fragile economy and raising serious doubts about the PTI rulers’ ability to deal with the crisis.

The value of the dollar shot up Rs11.70 in the interbank market, after which Rs138 were needed to buy one dollar. Rupee’s equation with other currencies also changed accordingly.

In case no corrective measures are taken on emergency basis and the rupee is allowed to witness a free fall, it will lead to a much bigger disaster beyond the control of any political party, the one ruling the country at present or others sitting on opposition benches and waiting for their turn.

The government has already taken a decision to get a bailout package from the IMF, for which purpose Finance Minister Asad Umar has already reached Indonesia.

An IMF package certainly means imposition of tougher conditionalities, as a result of which people’s economic problems would multiply.

Unfortunately, the major political parties are not willing to play a role they should be playing in this situation. Opposition parties, for example, will celebrate the failure of the PTI government and try to capitalise on it.

Traditionally, this is the time for them rub the nose of the rulers in dust and let the people know the difference between the periods the PML-N and the PPP were in power and now that a cricketer-turned-politician is in the driving seat. The bigger the PTI’s failure, the greater the opportunity for the two former ruling parties to highlight their capabilities they used to keep the economy under control during their respective tenures.

But the fact is that both these parties also contributed to the depreciation of rupee in their tenures.

When Gen Musharraf resigned as president after about nine years in power, about 60 rupees were equal to one dollar. The exchange rate remained the same with a difference of a few rupees plus or minus.

However, the slide of Pakistani currency went on uncontrolled during the tenures of the PPP and the PML-N.

The day Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister (Aug 18, 2018), Rs 124 were needed to buy a dollar. During the few days before his taking over the parity stood at 128.

This means the PTI had inherited a bad economic situation – for which both the PML-N and the PPP were equally responsible.

At the same time it can be said without an iota of doubt that the PTI failed to take any corrective measures to rein in dollar. A party which has been making tall claims about changing the economic situation after coming to power – and which should have been prepared on day one to deal with the economic challenge - could not do anything.

Now, before the situation slips out of the control of everyone, all political parties should rise above their petty political interests and focus more on the national interests. An emergency joint session of parliament should be convened where leaders of all parties should come up with idea to deal with the economic mess. No other subject should be placed on the agenda of the session.

That a way out of the crisis would benefit the PTI should not be the consideration of other parties. Patriotism demands that country’s interest should be given top priority. As a matter of fact, it is the duty of all legislators to play their role to steer the country out of the economic crisis.

The situation also demands that protest against the arrest of some leader(s) planned for the next few days should be postponed. No individual is more important than the country.

The legality or otherwise of the arrest of any individual may be challenged before courts, which is the proper forum. If courts rule an arrest illegal, such people should be set free without any delay.

The process of accountability should continue in a transparent manner. Everybody should trust the NAB and the former Supreme Court judge heading this institution.