Pakistan’s ‘Nazuk Mor’ – A Real-Life Example for Harvard Business School Students

Harvard Business School, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, has chosen to focus on Pakistan’s economic challenges in a case study titled “Pakistan at 75: When Will the ‘Nazuk Mor’ End?”. The case study is part of Professor Alberto Cavallo’s course, “The Business, Government, and the International Economy” for the Spring 2024 semester. This decision underscores the global significance of Pakistan’s economic situation and the lessons it offers to future leaders and managers.

The term ‘Nazuk Mor’, which translates to ‘critical period’, is often used in political discourse to describe Pakistan’s persistent problems with political instability, constant boom-and-bust economic cycles, and high inflation. Despite its 77-year journey since independence in 1947, the country continues to grapple with these issues even in 2024.

The case study highlights the economic hardships faced by the common man in Pakistan, including back-breaking inflation, steep utility bills, heavy taxes, and increasing external debt. Surprisingly, amidst this economic crisis, the assets of the powerful elite class and leaders continue to swell abroad.

In February 2024, following general elections marred by allegations of “massive rigging”, a government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz emerged. The biggest challenge for the PML-N-led government is to recover the country’s economy. In response to the looming default, the newly elected government approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.

Last month, Pakistan and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement on the second and last review of the $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). If approved by the global lender’s board, this will release about $1.1 billion to the struggling South Asian nation.

The case study at Harvard Business School, which secured the 11th spot in the Financial Times’ world rankings 2024, serves as a real-life example for students. It is followed by discussions on how to resolve the issues facing the entity. This method of teaching using case studies is common in business schools.

In recent developments, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has invited international stakeholders to become partners in Pakistan’s journey towards economic development. He was speaking at a seminar in Washington on 'Opportunities and Challenges for the Pakistani Economy through 2024 and Beyond’. This indicates the government’s commitment to improving the economic situation.

Furthermore, Pakistan has initiated discussions with the IMF over a new multi-billion dollar loan agreement to support its economic reform program. The final $1.1 billion tranche of the current deal is likely to be approved later this month.

The case study at Harvard Business School provides an opportunity for students to understand and discuss the complex economic challenges faced by Pakistan. It also underscores the importance of sound economic policies and reforms in navigating through such ‘Nazuk Mor’. The world will be watching closely as Pakistan navigates its way through these challenges.

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