ISLAMABAD (AP) — The winner of Pakistan's historic national election, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, faces a host of problems, including faltering economic growth, worsening energy shortages and continued attacks by militants.
FALTERING ECONOMIC GROWTH: The economy has grown at less than 4 percent a year under the most recent government, which was led by the Pakistan People's Party and governed for five years. That is much lower than the rates during the previous administration, which at times hovered near 7 percent. Under the most recent government, inflation spiked, reaching an annualized rate of around 25 percent in some months. However, the inflation rate has fallen and averaged around 11 percent last year.
ENERGY SHORTAGES: Electricity shortages nearly doubled under the PPP compared with the previous administration. Some places in Pakistan suffer blackouts for up to 18 hours a day during summer months. The country also has experienced increased shortages of natural gas, which were felt acutely during the winter because many people rely on natural gas to heat their homes as well as cook. Spending on energy subsidies and failing public enterprises has helped sap the government's funds, which are much lower than they should be because of ineffective tax collection. The combination of these factors means the government will likely have to seek yet another unpopular bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
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