Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Pakistan: An Unprecedented Economic Challenge

Muhammad Tariq Waseem, Former Chief Economist, Punjab Industrial Development Board
Muhammad Tariq Waseem is a former Chief Economist of Punjab Industrial Development Board. 

There is not a single instance, example or precedent in the economic history of the world that a country like Pakistan goes on to become a progressive, prosperous and developed country in a reasonable period of few decades which faces multiple kinds of problems, issues, obstacles and challenges - some inherent, some inbuilt, some acquired and some God-sent.

Different political, economic, social, religious and geographical grounds make Pakistan a unique and unrivalled case and make it very unlikely to travel on the fast lane of the development motorway in the foreseeable future as elaborated below, point-wise, not necessarily in order of their importance or sequence, through different angles, observations, reasons, analysis, statistical data and national and international surveys:

1. Pakistan has been in a continuous state of confrontation with a very powerful and enemy neighbour, India, for decades. India has a population which is 6 times of Pakistan and around 1 billion more than Pakistan. India is considered to be 5th most powerful country in the world, 2nd in the case of population, 4th in terms of defence capability and 7th in respect of economic strength, and will be 3rd largest economy of the world by 2014. Its annual GDP growth rate is about 2-3 times higher than Pakistan. As a result of conflict with a mighty neighbour, our defence budget eats substantial share of our limited resources. India can afford confrontation with a smaller, less powerful neighbour without adversely affecting its development speed whereas Pakistan cannot and should not to the maximum extent till the time we are strong, prosperous and developed enough that this confrontation does not harm our economic growth rate. To have enmity with more powerful neighbour, with or without solid reasons, has in any case adverse consequences.

2. War torn, poor, savage, uncivilised, wild and illiterate neighbour, Afghanistan, continues to spill over it problems to Pakistan such as free inflow of arms, terrorism, about 2 million Afghan refugees and the Afghanis visa free entry into Pakistan, who attack Pakistan border posts and kidnap Pakistanis for ransom and return to Afghanistan, etc. There is no country in the world facing so many problems from such a neighbour. In nutshell, Afghanistan appears to be a worse neighbour than India.

3. Easy availability of weapons and ammunitions, even on small rent, in the country promotes terrorism with frequent breakdowns of law and order, bombing, killing, etc. thus repelling foreign and domestic investment in the country.

4. We have a very low level of natural resources like gas and oil and in case of gold, copper and coal reserves. These are significant but remain unexplored for different reasons. However, it should not be expected that the Reko Dig reserves will suddenly make Pakistan Dubai or Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. If we are able to exploit them and reserves estimates are accurate, they will add an estimated income of only about Rs. 5000 per capita per year at present prices and population size for a period of 25 years. However, these reserves must be exploited to the maximum without delay.

5. Democratic form of Government with freedom of speech and action in a market driven economy, poor, populous, rapidly rising and semi-educated population and low level of natural resources does not generally easily and quickly contribute to speed up the development process.

6. Independence movement in the gas-rich province, Baluchistan, strains our limited resources to control it. We are consuming our meagre resources where we should not.

7. Lack of harmony and state of warlike conditions amongst various sects and sections of the society, regions and provinces, etc. constitute major obstructions for smooth progress. We are spending our limited income where we must avoid. You can easily imagine the state of economy of a labourer who develops enmity with someone, right or wrong, and consumes his scarce resources on litigation and bribing the police, etc.

8. We have an unmanageable, porous, lawless and ungovernable geographical landscape on a part of the country, Afghanistan – Pakistan border. It is very unlikely that any other country in the world will be having a border with such a violent and medieval neighbour.

9. Largely semi and uneducated religious leadership, who is hardly aware of the grim economic and political, both national and international complexities, poses another stumbling block in our development pace.

10. Pakistan is the 4th largest importer of defence related equipment in the world – a highly discreditable position for a country with one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world.

11. About one third population of the Country or about 60 million living below poverty level shows that poverty elimination is going to be a huge challenge for a long time to come. We have islands of prosperity in the sea of poverty.

12. Annual increase in poverty ridden population estimated at about one million indicates that the poverty alleviation will continue to be a gigantic task.

13. According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index which measures the nature and intensity of the poverty at the individual level in education, health and standard of living in the world, Pakistan has been placed at 69th out of 103 poor countries of the world which are home to 78% of the World’s people.

14. Pakistan ranks amongst the top most countries in terms of death sentences (276) as against 1000s in China, 366 in Iraq, 269 Egypt and 105 in USA. The crime rate is still quite high for reasons of impatience, easy and cheap availability of killing weapons, illiteracy, inequalities, poverty, hunger, unemployment, etc.

15. With 2.55% of the world’s population, Pakistan has a higher share of 3.86% of all poor people in the world. It has 4th largest poor population in the world which indicates the magnitude of the poverty elimination problem. We are still in the grip of vicious cycle of poverty despite 64 years of independent life.

16. We are in grip of vicious cycle of breakdown of law and order which results in lower investment, lower growth rate, high corruption, fast inflation, increasing poverty and lawlessness.

17. Roughly about 75% of the households in Pakistan have neither a motor car nor motor cycle, which means about 135 million people are either poor or population living below poverty line. The prosperity we see on the roads, in the hotels, DHA, Gulberg, etc. is all superficial and comprises of a microscopic minority of the country’s population. The problems of the majority population of Pakistan are simple food, electricity, employment and housing with little or no inflation. It will be no ordinary achievement to provide three basic needs “Roti, Kapra Aur Makan” with new additions of electricity and gas in a distant future.

18. Pakistan is not a born geographically strategic state. The old superpower, Russia, attacked Afghanistan to reach warm waters of the Arabian Sea with the result the freedom fighters such as Osama Bin Ladin came to Afghanistan. Later these fighters stayed in Afghanistan and managed to stage bombing of New York resulting in making Pakistan geographical location of strategic value for the Americans in its war in Afghanistan – a landlocked country. In this war on terror, the ratio of casualties of USA and Pakistan is about 1 to 10. So it is sheer bad luck for Pakistan to get involved in a war unnecessarily and becomes a country of strategic importance for the US and other western countries which, in nutshell, has added to its poverty, miseries, dependency, destruction, insecurity, lawlessness, tension, anarchy, inefficient use of her resources, economic stagnancy, steep fall in private investment, etc. 

19. The country is under pressure from all sides, both internal and external. The unity of the nation is a must to meet these threats which is missing. Political and religious parties are fiercely fighting one another and so make the task of fighting poverty and terrorism extremely difficult. We have frequent breakdown of law and order, mysterious disappearance of people, extra judicial killings and murder of journalists, etc.

20. According to the Ministry of Population and Welfare, out of total 177 million population about 110 million population are poor or 6 out of 10 Pakistanis earn Rs. 170 or less a day, an onerous responsibility for any government to pull them out of the poverty.

21. The World Giving Index ranks 153 countries according to how charitable their population is which has been developed by the Charities Aid Foundation. Pakistan gets a very low position at 142nd with only 20% population giving charity contrary to general impression that Pakistan being a Muslim country and Zakat, a compulsory Islamic requirement, we are a very generous nation as against Australia and New Zealand on the top. It is obviously true when an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis is poor or living below poverty line.

22. We have managed to have only 1.5 million tax payers in the country in about 64 years out of 29-30 million households or nearly about 6%. A majority of them belongs to the salaried class whereas we have about 7.6 million motor car and motor cycle owners who belong to the high and middle income groups who could have been in the tax net. So about 78% or 4 out of 5 are not paying any income tax. If only the motor car owners are to considered to be worth to be tax payers, they are 3.0 million, a difference of 1.50 million. However, even if we manage to bring half of them into the tax net i.e., 0.7 million, it will still not be a panacea of our budget deficit as it is too huge as this is going to add about Rs. 150 billion on the assumption of about Rs. 20000/new tax payer per annum to the national exchequer.

23. No. of persons per room of about 3 indicates the poor housing conditions in the country. Overcoming current housing shortage is a long-term huge assignment for any Government. 

24. UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report 2011 says that one out of 3 children in Pakistan is not going to school with about 25% of all illiterates in the world residing in Pakistan as compared with its share in the world population of only about 2.55%.

25. The literacy rate in Pakistan is 57% which is doubted to be not correct and requires huge diversion of our limited resources toward full literacy, which does not appear to be possible at present.

26. Gross per capita income as low as $ 2609 of Pakistan at 121st position out of 168 countries in the world indicates that we have to travel a long distance to be anywhere near the developed world.

27. Our high level of corruption at 36th top position out of 154 countries shows our gross moral bankruptcy. According to another Index, called Corruption Perception Index which relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt). It includes police corruption, business corruption, political corruption, etc. Pakistan attains 145th position out of 159 countries. There is no poor country in the world which has managed to eliminate or drastically reduce corruption. In fact, the top 50 corruption clean countries are reasonably prosperous and developed countries. Most of the countries which are amongst the top corrupt countries are largely poor. Corruption is a part and parcel of the poor economies. Most of the middle income countries also have medium level of corruption. If the dream of making Pakistan corruption free is to be realised, it will have to be economically developed first. There is a strong correlation between corruption and poverty which go together. Let us start drastically reducing poverty and develop Pakistan and corruption will accordingly go on declining.

28. Despite the fact that the Pakistan has the world’s largest irrigation system, our water dependency to a large extent on an enemy neighbour, India, poses yet another threat to our agricultural future. India releases its surplus river waters in order to avoid floods in its areas and keeps water when it is short and also when Pakistan desperately needs it. India also goes on building water dams in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty and thus denies Pakistan of its legitimate water share. There is hardly any serious realisation in Pakistan that it is an issue of enormously crippling implications for our economy. We are too much engaged in other issues and non-issues having little or no time for such matters.

29. Natural calamities like earthquakes and floods which have caused destruction of billions of dollars in Pakistan are also unprecedented which place tremendous burden on our limited resources. The UN ESCAP Report 2011 estimates losses of natural occurrences of $2.4 million during 1990-95, $59 million during 1996-2000, $ 1.1 billion from 2001-2005 and $1.8 billion during 2006-10 which show rising trend of cost of natural disasters thus seriously denting the national economy.

30. We have more than extraordinary and unusual share in world natural disasters during the past decade in terms of material losses which should have been ideally in proportion to its 2.5% share in world population, being 1 out of 193 countries, i.e., 0.5% or 0.63% share in total world GDP, or in relation to its per capita income and investment – both public and private. We are disproportionately unfortunate in this respect for reasons best known to the Almighty Allah.

31. Flood devastation in 2010 affected about 20 million people and less than 1.6 million houses were damaged, two million hectares of standing crops destroyed, 300,000 cattle lost and 25000 KM of roads destroyed and cost Rs. 850 billion which is almost twice our development budget of 2010-11. The development budget is estimated at Rs. 730 billion in 2011-12 as against actual about Rs. 466 billion in 2010-11. This is a colossal sum for a country like Pakistan.

32. The recent floods in 2011 in Sind and elsewhere have affected nearly 9 million people and the cost of rehabilitation of the flood affected people and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in different parts of the country range between $ 4-5 billion.

33. With only 6% of total population possessing cars or one car per 90 persons as compared with one car for two persons in UK shows that we have to go a long way to be a prosperous nation.

34. High population growth rate with an annual increase of about 3.5 million which is equivalent to the total population of Kuwait or UAE or Libya or Ireland poses a tremendous and baffling handicap in our development pursuit.

35. Tax evasion culture as tax revenues contribute only 10% of GDP, which is one of the lowest in the world, as against 18% India and 44% in Netherlands, is yet evidence of our very high degree of moral degradation. Even some of our top political elite of the country does not even have National Tax No. or even if they pay, the amount is in peanuts vis-à-vis their living standards. Our Members of Parliament should have been role models for promotion of tax culture in the country. As we have failed to develop tax culture or force people to pay their taxes during the last 64 years, will it be possible in future? No solution or answer appears to be in sight to this billion dollar question.

36. Defence spending is estimated at Rs. 442 billion in 2010-11 which is little less than the development expenditure funds of Rs. 466 billion which indicates that the country’s rapid economic growth is really not possible.

37. Its strategic location with such neighbours as India and Afghanistan has placed Pakistan into an extremely serious situation. Pakistan should have been located somewhere in Europe, America or Australian continent, Far East or in the oil rich area. Only our neighbourhood of China is, however, a positive point in our geographical luck but we have failed to get maximum benefits from this fact.

38. Neighbours should have been sources of strength and security and in our case, unfortunately, they are unfortunate obstacles and nuisance. We can change our friends but unluckily we can’t change our neighbours. 

39. An international Prosperity Index places Pakistan at 109th position out of 110 nations which means we are striking low in the prosperity race.

40. Our past history confirms that the change in Governments hardly contributes to improve the life of a majority of our population because it is a mammoth job.

41. No state in the world is facing multiple kinds of deficits: Fiscal, Governance, Peace, Trade, Trust, Moral, Water, Electricity, Gas, Oil, CNG, Intelligence, Security and Honesty, etc. With these deficits, the magnitude of development task becomes stupendous.

42. The economy desperately requires domestic peace for progress which is so critically lacking as it is one of the top most dangerous nations in the World.

43. Our past one or two decades’ history shows that new stumbling blocks have been added in our development route rather than old ones should have gone. Our economic growth flight is dangerously bumpy – both expected and unexpected – and it is not likely to reach its destination or will be late by a period of decades.

44. Pakistan’s economy is like a domestic maid who fails to upgrade her life and her future remains poor despite the fact that she is sincere and works hard. She is born poor, lives poor and dies poor.

45. By saying if corruption could be eliminated in the society or if we manage to get sincere, honest and competent political leadership or if we could exploit our natural resources, the future of the country will be changed is an over simplification. These are mighty “Ifs’ and are most unlikely to take place as our past history does not deny.

46. Even the revolution cannot change our fate. It is an ambiguous word and slogan. There are no details of components of revolution required to turn around the economy. Revolutions don’t produce results without local and foreign exchange resources, domestic peace and leaders of exceptional merit and quality. Supposing it means the Government will be run by the poor but they happen to be as corrupt as the rich as the experience in Pakistan shows.

47. If the recent trends are any guide, even load shedding of water should not be completely ruled out in the near future. These are hard and terrible realities with consequently extremely disastrous effect on our agriculture and industrial production leading to seriously miserable and unmanageable life and the filthy rich will not remain safe and will run away to foreign countries.

48. A true revolution will require at least 500-1000 persons of extraordinary ability and honesty. It is seriously doubtful that we shall manage to find them and put them together in whole of Pakistan. The recent revolution in Egypt is a similar example of failure.

49. In case of law and order problem, no one is facing it of such magnitude as Pakistan is confronting or has faced during its development journey which is so vital for investment - a crucial condition for economic progress.

50. Our failure to build Kalabagh Dam establishes that our fate is being sealed when all over the world hydroelectric dams are being built. We are producing high cost electricity instead of cheaper source of water dam.

51. The policies of Iran, another neighbour, which happens to be oil rich are not conducive or helpful for us to get any substantial benefit for our economy.

52. No currently developed or fast developing economies have undergone development with Jihadis, suicide bombers, terrorists, target killers, burning of buses, tyres, cars and buildings and free and cheap availability of deadly arms. The country needs elimination of “afra-tafri” or chaos which is causing extremely disastrous effect on agricultural and industrial production on top priority basis.

53. A gun trotting, lawless, crime-ridden, chaotic and corrupt society should not expect to eliminate various economic and social evils in a short period in any case and so prospects for economic breakthrough are a matter of distant future.

54. It is highly amazing that the Bank of Punjab top management accepted over valuation of 105 properties worth Rs. 5.8 crore only for Rs. 1300 crore – 224 times higher than the market cost. With this quality of our elite management, economic future in the country should not be expected to be bright. Such a big daylight bank robbery vis-à-vis bank’s financial resources cannot happen in any other country of the world except through sheer deceit, deception, inhumanity, callousness and heartlessness of the top Bank managers.

55. In a country where our top most lawyers agree to defend a proven Bank of Punjab criminal of billions of Rupees for sake of money shows our moral decline. A true patriot under no circumstances and temptation would defend such a robber of public money and no code of morality or any profession could allow this. Let all of us realise that we are too poor to defend such inhuman robbers at any price/fee whatsoever.

56. Pakistan is surrounded by a large number of unparalleled anti-development hurdles – both economic and non-economic – simultaneously which no developed nation or emerging developed economies have ever confronted during their progress history. We are adding additional hurdles in our economic roadmap and insurgency is the latest addition which has already killed about 30000 persons and 3500 soldiers including elite forces commandos during the last few years.

57. We must have lost billions of Rupees in GDP over one man issue of Raymond Davis. We had far more urgent issues to solve. In no other country of the world, so large demonstrations would take place for the sake of keeping one person. It was a colossal waste of national energy and time. We have many other issues of far greater significance to concentrate and solve them.

58. In the Global Peace Index Ranking, Pakistan’s position is one of the lowest at 145th amongst 149 nations. It will be a gigantic assignment to bring it amongst top 10-20 nations.

59. Daily strikes, protests and violence over minor issues all over the country are causing huge losses to the national economy. The frequent highway and road blockades must be resulting, on monthly basis in foreign exchange, losses through petrol wastage of millions of dollars besides billions of man-hours.

60. It appears that there is neither any business nor any occupation for a majority of the country’s population who is ready to come to road over issues which are not our real and basic issues confronting the country. The country does not require shutdowns and strikes on almost daily basis. They are further damaging a crippling economy.

61. Pakistan’s population estimated at about 180 million is more than half of the size of the entire Arab population. It is the world’s 6th most populous country with 2.55% share and in the year 2050, it is projected to become 5th most populous country in the world with population of about 276 million. There is desperate need to reduce population growth rate otherwise our economic future will not be bright.

62. Ease of Doing Business Index developed by the World Bank which reflects simpler regulations and protections for business ranks Pakistan at 85th position out of 183 countries. This shows that it is not easy to start business in Pakistan and without private sector investment, there is no possibility of economic prosperity in Pakistan.

63. The statements of assets declared by our parliamentarians are sadly amazing. Many of them deserve to be paid Zakat and “Khairat” for survival. In other cases, the assets of many MPs have suddenly jumped significantly after being elected.

64. Striking income equalities, growing unemployment and galloping inflation have contributed to rapid growth of 3 Cs in the country: Crime, Corruption & Chaos and 5 Ts: Tension, Troche, Tribulation, Terrorism, and Turmoil. Pakistan has, however, to avoid another 2 Cs: Conflict and Confrontation, internally and externally.

65. In Pakistan, 38.3 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 50.7 million improved sanitation. The task of providing clean water and sanitation to all is obviously huge.

66. According to a 2006 World Bank Report, Pakistan will soon become a water scarce country. Amongst the top 25 most populous countries, Pakistan has been listed amongst the three most water limited nations. It is an issue of great importance and requires priority attention.

67. According to a United Nations ESCAP Report 2011, Pakistan has been placed amongst “water hotspots” of Asia-Pacific region which is facing major threats of increasing water scarcity, high water utilisation, deteriorating water quality and climate change risk.

68. Pakistan is the 36th largest nation in the World in terms of area with the 2nd largest Muslim population after Indonesia. It is the 27th largest economy in the terms of purchase power but it has the 7th largest standing armed forces in the world. It should be clear from the data that the Pakistan’s defence spending is not in proportion to its economy size.

69. The Global Hunger Index 2009 has ranked Pakistan amongst the countries with alarming hunger problem. The Global Hunger Index (GHI), which has been developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute, ranks countries on a 100 point scale – 0 being the best score (“no hunger”) and 100 being the worst. In GHI-2010, Congo at 41 was ranked the worst. In 2010, Pakistan at 19 was classified as “serious hunger”. Values between 20 and 30 were categorised as “alarming” and 30 and above “extremely alarming”.

70. The Index of Potential Unrest (IPU) is an attempt by The Atlantic to predict unrest in a country. This Index is based on 8 variables: human capital, life satisfaction, GDP, labour market, Internet access, freedom, tolerance and honesty in elections. The IPU rates Pakistan as ‘high potential for unrest’ and groups Pakistan with Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. In fact this rating is not accurate. The country is already in grip of grave chaos and tremendous unrest.

71. So far as the health system is concerned, Pakistan stands at 122nd place out of 191 countries. Even Jamaica, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt and Sri Lanka are way ahead of us.

72. In respect of foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan is ranked at 59th position with $16-17 billion as against $ 2622 billion of China, $1116 billion Japan, $301 billion India, $231 billion Singapore, $ 107 billion Libya and Denmark $ 83 billion which shows our precarious position.

73. Another index titled “Greenest Countries – Most Liveable Places – 2008” places Pakistan at 115th position out of 141 countries, which shows that Pakistan hardly enjoys position of a country worth living.

74. The Environmental Performance Index 2008, which measures performance with respect to environmental friendly goals, ranks Pakistan at 124th position out of 148 countries with Yemen, Niger, Sudan, and Rwanda behind us.

75. As regards murder rates, Pakistan is one of the top countries with 62.7 per 0.1 million population with Myanmar, Sudan, Egypt and Japan amongst the lowest murder crime rate countries (2000-2004). The latest data, if available, should show Pakistan as the No. 1 in the world.

76. In terms of National IQ Score, Pakistan does not get a high position and is placed at 23rd with total 43 rankings.

77. The Global Gender Gap Index Rankings 2008 which measures female participation, wage quality, income levels, etc. puts Pakistan at 127th position out of 130countries which will indicate the huge gender gap.

78. In respect of the world’s most prestigious prize, the Noble Prize, Pakistan has so far won only one in its 64 years’ history as against 305 USA, 106 UK, 79 France and India 4 which indicate Pakistan is nowhere.

79. Pakistan is ranked at 116th out of 159 countries in case of electricity consumption per capita (2004 data) – a major indicator of a country’s development status with 564 Kwh as against Norway 26657 and Canada 18408.

80. In 2008-09, Pakistan was placed at 104th position out of 134 countries in Global Competitive Index which is a comprehensive assessment of countries competitiveness on the basis of various factors.

81. In case of patent applications filed by Pakistan, its No is 93rd out of 193 countries in the world with only 19 applications which throws light at our slow rate of technological growth as against 500034 by Japan, 369073 USA and 203257 China.

82. The common view about Pakistan that it is a heavily taxed country which is repudiated by the available data of 68 countries survey called “Tax Burden”. The data shows that Pakistan is one of the tax friendly countries ranking at 57th position out of 68 countries with France, China and Belgium amongst the top and so is confirmed by a low tax – GDP ratio in Pakistan which needs to be raised substantially if the dream of self-reliance is to be achieved.

83. The London Economist Intelligence Unit has developed an index called Innovation Output which is measured by the sum of patents granted by worlds’ three major patent in Europe, Japan and USA. Pakistan has been ranked at 77th position out of 80 countries for which the data were calculated.

84. An index called “Logistics Performance Index” has been developed which measures trade performance logistics such as border clearance and quality of domestic transportation and customs brokerage services. In this case, Pakistan stands at 110th position out of 155 countries.

85. The “Forbes” Magazine conducted a survey to rank the World’s Happiest Countries. Surprisingly Pakistan is at 58th position out of 166 countries leaving behind India and some developed countries. The respondents were asked to reflect overall satisfaction with their lives and how they felt the previous day. The possible reason of comparatively high ranking is Islamic teaching to remain content and happy in all bad and good conditions.

86. The Globalisation Index measures the extent to which the 60 largest countries in terms of GDP are connected to the rest of the world. Pakistan gets 50th position amongst the 60 countries. Surprisingly, Russia and India are behind us in this case.

87. Data on scientists and engineers engaged in research and development per million population places Pakistan at 83rd position out of 86 countries reflecting so low level of research efforts in Pakistan.

88. In the Higher Education Sector, despite that Pakistan has made substantial progress, it is still far behind other countries. For instance, access to higher education in Pakistan is 5.1% as against India 12.2%. Pakistan has 132 universities with enrolment of 1.1 million as against India 504 universities with enrolment of 15 million. India produces 8900 PhDs annually as against Pakistan which produces 700 & China 50000.

89. Human Development Index has been developed by the UNDP. According to UNDP Human Development Report, Pakistan’s ranking comes to 136th with India at 128th and Norway 1st. it measures life expectancy at birth, adult literacy and educational achievements etc.

90. The Technology Achievement Index is calculated from creation of technology diffusions, diffusion of recent and old innovations and human skills. In this Index, our country has been placed at 61st position out of 67 countries.

91. The Economic Freedom Index places Pakistan at 100th out of 156 countries with Hong Kong, Singapore & Luxembourg on the top.

92. In terms of Foreign Direct Investment, USA, UK and Hong Kong topped with $2093 billion, $1343 billion and $1184 billion respectively in 2010. Pakistan is placed at 62nd position. FDI in Pakistan is only $1.57 billion 2010-11 and the difference between Pakistan and other countries will be mind boggling on per capita basis.

93. As far as internet users are concerned, Pakistan position is 138th out of 212 countries with 106 users per 1000 population as against 922, 905 and 821 in Greenland, Netherlands and Norway respectively. However, the latest data says that Pakistan has been ranked 4th in the world with the highest Broadband growth.

94. Price of petrol in Pakistan is determined by the international oil prices along with few additional taxes. Hence its prices are nearly remaining the same as in other countries in the world with much higher per capita income who are more developed and prosperous than us. Our economy does not have the capacity to keep the petrol prices in accordance with our per capita income or absorb the impact of rise in international prices by providing subsidy.

95. Rise in prices of petrol and electricity is inevitable and unavoidable to recover its actual cost from the public as far as possible because the national exchequer has no capacity to meet their subsidy cost which shows our economy is extremely delicate. Despite raise in their prices from time to time, the total subsidies still amounted to Rs. 166 billion in 2010-11.

96. Not a single poor developing country in our conditions in the recent decades has become aid free although its dependence may have reduced. Our economy has been in ICU for quite some time and when the patient is in ICU, emergency attention and care is required round the clock with plenty of cash resources in hand which are needed to provide at the cost of other pressing requirements. So the top priority is to bring the patient out of the ICU.

97. A drastic cut in luxuries and ostentatious lifestyle enjoyed by the political and bureaucratic elite of Pakistan along with the austerity measures could possibly bring a maximum saving of not more than Rs. 1000 crore per year which is a negligible sum or about 1.00% as compared with Government of Pakistan’s gap between its earnings and spending of near about Rs. 90000 to 100000 crore. There should be no doubt that there is extravagance and waste in our system of governance and even its total elimination which is, however, not possible will have immediate little impact because of gigantic gap between our income and expenditure.

98. There are about 2.5 million cases pending in the Pakistan courts. In Sind, by the end of June, 2011, 13712 civil cases, 7180 civil appeals, 6066 constitutional petitions and 4266 criminal cases were pending in the Sind High Court, or a total of 31764 cases are to be dealt with by only 18 Judges. In other words, a Judge has to decide on average 1765 pending cases. If a judge decides on average one case in a day, he is expected to decide the presently pending cases in about 6 to 7 years without taking into account new additional cases during this period. Where the Justice system is dead slow, wonders in other sectors of the country should not be expected.

99. We are passing through a phase of 25 Ds: Dismal, Delicate, Dacoits, Denial, Despondency, Disgusting, Dangerous, Derogatory, Disappointing, Disbelief, Distrust, Degradation, Defamation, Difficult, Disturbing, Distressing, Depressing, Destructive, Discouraging, Deplorable, Disastrous, Dejection, Declining, Deprivation and Dependency. Economic future as a result in such a scenario is another “D” i.e., Dark. Only an exceptional stroke of good luck could bring the country out of the morass as our country also seriously lacks three important “Ts”: Transparency, Truth and Trust and two Hs: Honesty and Hard Work.

100. Change in regimes in a resource-poor country through popular uprising or democratic vote hardly changes the economic status of a majority of the country’s population with or without better governance and reduced corruption because the magnitude of the problems is too big. Popular uprising at the maximum could change governments only.

101. Although Pakistan & India got independence in the same year and then Bangladesh got separated from us in 1971, our Pak Rupee is weaker than the Indian Rupee by 88% and Bangladesh Taka by 16%, yet another indicator of poor state of our economic management for decades.

102. Pakistan’s economic losses in the war against terror are estimated at about $68 billion or Rs. 5037 billion whereas compensation gains through foreign grants are about one fourth. With so huge difference between losses and gains, the task of economic growth has surely become a mission impossible. Investment to GDP ratio has declined from 22.5% in 2006-07 to 13.4% in 2010-11.

103. According to an Ad in the Wall Street Journal, a major US newspaper, issued by the Govt. of Pakistan, “Since 2001, a nation of 180 million has been fighting for the future of world’s 7 billion. Since September 11, 2001, 21,672 Pakistanis have lost their lives or have been seriously injured in the ongoing fight against terrorism…. The Pakistan Army also has lost 2,795 soldiers while 8,671 soldiers have been injured. There have been 3,486 bomb blasts and 283 major attacks in the country. More than 3.5 million have been displaced while the country has lost $68 billion due to terrorism. The Pakistani nation is making sacrifices that statistics cannot reflect. Pakistan remains engaged in the war for world peace, with 200,000 troops deployed at the frontline and 90,000 soldiers fighting on the Afghan border.” As against Pakistan’s huge losses, the American losses are insignificant – 2997 persons were killed which included 8 persons of Pakistan’s origin, 5 Israelis, 6 Bangladeshis, 41 Indians and 6 Japanese.

104. The US has one 9/11 in decades while Pakistan has a large number of 9/11s of greater or lesser magnitude from time to time in the last few years.

105. There is no instance in the world’s history that a country gets totally unnecessarily involved in a so costly long war for which it has nothing to do and nothing to gain. The 9/11 New York bombing has no Pakistani player. So another misfortune for Pakistan and only God knows why. Pakistan has been involved in fighting a War on Terror without any solid reason. It is an irony of fate that an American Congressman calls Pakistan 3 Ds; Disloyal, Deceptive and Danger.

106. The strong criticism against Pakistan Government for its failure to detect the Americans’ Abbotabad Operation is not fair because there is no match of technological standards of the two countries. The Americans are far too superior to Pakistan in technology. The Technology Index developed by the World Economic Forum denotes the country’s technology readiness. In this Index, the United States is the World’s No. 1 country as against Pakistan is ranked way behind at 84th position out of 101 countries. It is clear who will win if there is a race between a cycle and a Mercedes car.

107. The Failed States Index has been developed which identifies a failed state with such characteristics as having weak central government, non-provision of public services, widespread corruption and crime etc. Out of 177 countries, Pakistan is among the top 20 countries at 10th No. with Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Congo on the top with characteristics of failing states.

108. Democracy with an uneducated society and backward underdeveloped economy can’t deliver goods quickly and in accordance with the needs of the economy and the people. If we have to run this country like a West European democracy, then the wish of becoming a fast moving economic nation is very difficult to realise.

109. We have prepared a rare lethal cocktail of huge unemployment, inflation, crime, corruption, strikes, terrorism and tax evasion which make the task of progress and prosperity extremely difficult and long and it has not been prepared in any other country of the world.

110. Let us not further worse on our economic condition to a point of no return by refusing foreign or American assistance. The present is simply the most inappropriate time for various reasons to refuse foreign assistance. Rhetoric and populist statements cannot pay the bill and fill up the growing budget deficit. Self-reliance is a very noble objective but it is a long term and needs extraordinarily careful and strategic planning and implementation.

111. It is often commonly remarked in Pakistan about Pakistan: What a country! Only the Almighty is running it! These remarks show that there is something seriously wrong with Pakistan which makes the task of rapid growth a nearly impossible proposition.

112. It may be an intelligence failure for Pakistan to locate Osama Bin Ladin while he was residing in an Abbotabad colony for years. But how you can locate him with limited resources at the disposal of intelligence agencies? It is simply impossible to search or track about 25 million housing structures - large, medium, small and muddy - spread over an area of 796096 KM2 all over the country. Overall financial and physical constraints impose various serious kinds of hurdles for such intelligence breakthrough.

113. Examples of Iran, Libya and North Korea are neither relevant nor comparable with Pakistan as their political, economic, social and other environments are entirely different from Pakistan. Pakistan is in political, economic, military and security quagmire at the same time at present and none of the above-referred countries has ever been in our situation.

114. Pakistan is an altogether different story. The current international environments are different from the other developed and emerging economies, our economic issues are not the same, standards of the bureaucracy are different, the justice system is not comparable and role of religious leadership is significant, etc. with the result, our problems, which are multiplying at a rapid pace, can possibly be tackled only by a superhuman leadership.

115. Pakistan does not possess a clean image worldwide regarding its anti-terrorism policy for unknown reasons. Such an impression needs to be removed out. A foreign investor will think twice before deciding to invest in Pakistan.

116. According to the nuclear scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, “Never before in the 63 years history, have there been such incompetent, incapable and hypocritical rulers.” It may be a sweeping and subjective statement. We, however, cannot forget that this government has come through a democratic process of free and fair elections. What is then the alternate way of having government formation for good governance? This poses yet another bewildering puzzle which is required to be solved for rapid economic growth.

117. We have individual success stories from rags to riches in Pakistan through sustained hard work (and of course luck) but these are exceptions and in microscopic minority. If the country has to achieve success and survive with honour and dignity, the whole population will be required to work hard and have to be productive which do not seem to be possible at present for a large variety of factors.

118. Probably in no other country in the world, you will see “Breaking News” which are in fact “Heart Breaking News” on the TV Channels after every half hour of the day as we happen to see the whole day on the Pakistani Channels. This indicates that the country is in grip of serious turmoil and the chances of economic success are real bleak.

119. There are different secrets behind each of the recent countries’ success stories which cannot be simply replicated in Pakistan. There will be a different set of tough and hard policies to follow for Pakistan with regard to so large variety of issues to place Pakistan on the success story road in order to reach the victory stand because of our low level of natural resources, unfortunate geographical location, huge population size, frequent terror attack, constant external threats, low moral standards, indiscriminate target killing, high level of corruption and tax evasion, dead slow system of justice etc.

120. Without self-reliance, no nation should expect to have true self-respect and sovereignty. Self-reliance is a prerequisite to ensure self-respect and sovereignty. Let us for the present forget that Pakistan can be run as an independent nation in true sense till the economy does not have to rely on foreign assistance.

121. The Government in Pakistan is the 2nd largest employer in the world which is not proportionate to its share in world population or world GDP which results in excessive expenditure and taxation to bear the salary bill.

122. The book “Taliban Shuffle” by Kim Barker reveals a lot that Pakistan does not possess a leadership who could match the challenge. Pakistan requires exemplary, visionary, inspiring and motivating leadership as against rhetoric, deceptive and selfish.

123. We cannot get rid of US or foreign aid and IMF loans and if we just suddenly decline to accept it, our economy will collapse and go deep down the drain with the petrol rising to Rs. 150/ litar, load shedding reaching 12-16 hours in urban areas, dollar rate crossing Rs. 150/$, Petrol, CNG holidays 3-5 days a week domestic consumers to remain without gas for hours on daily basis, inflation rate sky rocketing, foreign exchange reserves plunging to all time low and massive job layoffs. Already it so happens that we have neither gas nor electricity in our homes at times. Such a decision is not going to affect a few hundred families or so but around 27 million households.

124. It is only a complete lack of professional knowledge when it is said that Pakistan will survive without foreign aid and loans by eating grass or only bread and pulses or keeping hungry. We have not only to survive today but also have to achieve sustained economic growth rate in future which is not possible without adequate level of resources & investment. We are dependent upon critical imports such as defence-related item, petroleum, oil for power plants, foreign machinery, etc. which all require foreign exchange, whereas its low level availability will result in their serious shortages and consequences. For instance, Pakistan currently imports petrol and furnace oil etc. worth about $12-14 billion per annum. A country which is already living from hand to mouth will dangerously aggravate not only its present but also its future and will further weaken its capability to meet the internal and external threats.

125. Ours is a “dung tapao” economy (is run on day-to-day basis) critically dependent on foreign assistance and bank borrowing for development irrespective of the form and quality of governance. No economic wonders should be expected from such an economy whether we are a part of the Afghan war or not.

126. Declining foreign assistance / loan is a horrible option for the present and is viable only when the country’s trade and fiscal deficits have been overcome. Pakistan is far behind in achieving these goals. No country in the world with Pakistan’s economic scenario has so far ever decided to do without foreign aid / loan. Life is already expected to be very tough for most Pakistanis in the coming years with foreign aid and without foreign aid, it would be still further worse. A similar example is that of a daily wage earner with 6-member family who resigns from the job with nil bank balance and loans to pay and does not know how to make both ends meet next day with creditors knocking at his doors for loan repayment. In this case, he is not in position to build any new facilities or undertake construction of his new home. His simple survival has become a very difficult job.

127. Pakistan has historically been a slow motion economy, with GDP growth slightly higher than population growth rate, on average or on the whole, since Independence with foreign assistance / loan and without foreign aid, its growth rate is not difficult to imagine and could be negative. In an already dead slow developing economy, postponing work on new development projects is almost suicidal.

128. Our country is largely resource poor and will have to depend upon foreign assistance as it does not have critical inputs of development such as oil, gas, etc. while a few available natural resources remain exploited for different reasons. Pakistan is a sad, sorry, and sympathy case and it is another misfortune that US does not fully appreciate it. The US and other developed countries should look at us only with this angle.

129. Foreign assistance / loan, home remittances of $12 billion and export of $ 24billion have helped build our foreign exchange reserves and somewhat stabilised our Rupee vis-à-vis other currencies. Reduction in either of these sources will place Pakistan in a very difficult condition and no risk whatsoever can be taken. The matter is of an immense priority.

130. Cutting non-development expenditure is an important objective but imposing additional taxation or banning new recruitment to meet the gap of foreign assistance is not advisable as foreign assistance also brings in new technology, ideas, expertise, education scholarships, etc.

131. The future of a country should not be difficult to forecast when both the common man as well as the top rich class is engaged in thefts of all kinds such as income tax, custom duty, property tax, electricity, gas and water, etc. without any regard and sympathy for the country.

132. Dependence of foreign aid / loan is growing which indicates a grim state of the economy. Pakistan’s per capita debt is one of the highest in the World at $322 as against India $187 and Bangladesh $141. Pakistan foreign debt has grown to $59.5 billion which has jumped by $3.6 billion in one year 2010-11 showing how our economy is running.

133. There will be catastrophic consequences, both political and economic, of foreign aid / loan refusal as Pakistan could immediately become a foreign loan defaulter as she has to pay back about $58 billion to foreign countries / agencies.

134. If we have to become self-reliant and say goodbye to foreign aid / loans, it can’t be achieved in a short period of time. The solution is to manage sustained GDP growth rate of about 6-8% per annum for a period of about 20-25 years which presently seems nearly impossible if our past history is any guide. Foreign aid is a must and unavoidable at present not for prosperity but for mere survival on day to day basis and to achieve some growth rate.

135. Pakistan is a born unlucky country as it has inherited serious diseases, problems or defects at the time of its birth which have only worsened with the passage of time and so the required treatment is a major surgery.

136. People have grown old in Pakistan listening from their childhood that Pakistan is passing through a critical phase of its history and today we again hear the same that Pakistan is in grip of grim crisis never before its history. So our past and present remain unchanged.

137. High sounding empty and sentimental slogan of saving country’s sovereignty has no practical value because this cannot be realised. No realistic blueprint has been proposed regarding alternate sources of Rupee and foreign exchange funding and how the economic sovereignty of the country will be attained. A minor reduction in non-development budget is an eyewash and insufficient to meet the requirements. Foreign assistance is a national / Federal Government subject and the Provincial Government has a very limited role.

138. Issues facing Pakistan are highly complex, inter linked, inter-connected and inter-dependent upon one another covering wide spectrum of the economy, hardly ever confronted by any other nation in the world so far and so require highly imaginative and out of box strategies for their resolution.

139. The country is in so serious crisis from all sides of all kinds that it was high time for India to attack Pakistan to settle the Kashmir issue once for all and it has not happened as we are a nuclear state, the only silver lining on the horizon.

140. Pakistan has seen no increase in gas production during the past many years but has the undesirable distinction to top the list of countries in the world having the maximum number of vehicles on CNG with 2.5 million vehicles (about 22% of the total), yet another indicator of our energy mismanagement. CNG vehicles should have been allowed in a country if there is substantial gas surplus, such as Iran.

141. External receipts were Rs. 387 billion in 2010-11 as against Rs. 440 billion estimate for 2011-12 which means if there is no external assistance, Pakistan development budget will reduce by 56%, a very serious matter. We have been moving all along so far not towards self-reliance but moving away from self-reliance.

142. Pakistanis are generally a restless, law breaking, intolerant and impatient people (look at their fast driving skills and traffic signals violations on the roads) but they are certainly bold and courageous. Life continues as usual despite daily target killings, bomb blasts, suicide attacks, parochial killing, etc. in some areas of cities. Alarm bells are ringing and the panic button switched on in Pakistan long ago. Such courageous and fearless approach of the people may have been good in case of war but in the peace time, it is of little help in its development.

143. On account of 9/11 attack, the US attack on Afghanistan has cost it $411 billion so far. According to another estimate in American weekly magazine “Time”, the total cost, direct and indirect of keeping the US safe is $3228 billion. Had this money been spent on developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they would have almost become Dubai.

144. There can be no two opinions that we must break the begging bowl but before it is broken, it must be filled up by us from our own resources and otherwise, we shall be facing a very precarious future. A nearly collapsed economy cannot meet such ideals and we must wait and fill up the bowel through our generated income before deciding to break the bowel. For the present, we should accept the reality that the beggars cannot be choosers.

145. “Rokhi Sokhi Khain Gain” i.e., whatever is available, we shall eat it, shall help you to pass your daily life but it does not in any way build your future. We should not forget that a one-third of the country’s population is already living on simple food. A similar example is that of a daily wage earner who somehow survives with rotten and dry bread but has either a little or no money to educate his children and provide them the required health care, housing and other essential facilities so vital for their future growth. There is no economic wisdom to further darken our future by postponing development projects as a result of aid rejection.

146. Achieving economic sovereignty by cutting down development budget is not a sound decision making. Cutting development budget means construction of new schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, etc. will be accordingly delayed or postponed to future years whereas the country desperately requires them without delay. A fragile economy cannot any more withstand additional shocks.

147. We are a country which faces serious shortage of one item or the other all the time – one day sugar, the next day Atta and the next day natural gas or CNG or petrol with electricity load shedding almost a permanent feature and you cannot forecast which is going to be the next one in this list. It would be difficult to trace out a country in a similar state in the whole world.

148. The state of affairs has gone so bad that the people have no choice but to spend or waste their time waiting for electricity to return after load shedding, for CNG after 3 working days off, for petrol at the petrol pumps, for natural gas for domestic cooking, at the railway station for trains coming or departing late and at the airports for PIA flights which are not on schedule or being suspended etc.

149. Come what may, there is no magic wand to resolve economic issues of the country overnight and place it on the development highway instantly or in a matter of a few years whereas presently it is walking on a broken pedestrian path of a city road. It is a long and hard struggle in case even of high quality of the leadership otherwise endless.

150. Tax evasion in Pakistan is estimated at 79% which shows the tax gap between the potential and actual tax collection. It is a huge level of tax dodging as well as decline in growth rate of the economy which has further brought down the Tax-GDP ratio to 9.1% in 2010-11. On the basis of the Tax-GDP ratio, Pakistan ranks 156th position out of 180 countries according to the Heritage Foundation. When the elite of the country is evading and avoiding tax payment, the self-reliance is an elusive target.

151. Pakistan has the highest rate of deforestation of 2.1% per annum in Asia, another alarming information despite the fact that Pakistan is the proud world record holder of planting 500,000 trees in one day

152. The country has a huge 3.2 million Jobless youth which is contributing not only to crime growth rate in the country but also place enormous burden on the national resources for their nil contribution to the national output.

153. A Pakistani day-to-day life is full of fear, insecurity, tension and anxiety. Most people are getting poorer each day with declining quality of life. It is yet another irony of our fate that the world and the US do not have a correct perspective and sympathetic view of our condition. Instead of demanding “do more”, they should do more for us as we are in pitiable conditions. Both the Al-Qaeda and Taliban of Pakistan have failed to do any damage to USA and are releasing all their venom on a poor helpless Pakistan after 9/11. The US is beyond their reach anyway. At a cost of one or two suicide bombers, they inflict damage worth millions of Rupees to our national assets.

154. The country has failed to harness the enormous water released by floods. Of all the countries in the world that are fiercely threatened by the climate change, Pakistan is going to be one of the most important one, yet another sign of serious challenges ahead.

155. Simple lifestyle of the political elite sets example for rest of the nation to follow and in the long term will result in increasing national sovereignty and reduce our dependence on bank borrowing and external grants / loans. The present Uruguayan President owns a 1987 Volkswagen car, does not have a bank account, does not reside in the palatial Presidential Palace and donates a major part of his monthly salary to charities. The former Prime Minister and the present Prime Minister of India, Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh are known best examples of simple living. Ahmadinejad, Iranian President, does not draw salary, brings his own breakfast, his office is an ordinary room, refuses to use the Presidential aircraft and travels in an ordinary flight and his hotel room is simple when away from Tehran on official tour. Comparison with the Pakistan political elite in this case is not possible.

156. Pakistan’s agricultural crops per hectare yields are far behind those of the developing countries, e.g., in 2005, wheat yield per hectare in Pakistan was 2586 Kgs as against 7465 Kgs in Germany and 6983 Kgs in France. In case of maize, Pakistan’s yield was 2848 Kgs as against 9266 Kgs in USA, 8245 Kgs in France and 9348 Kgs in Italy. For rice, the output for China was 6266 Kgs, 9538 Kgs in Egypt and 7440 Kgs in USA as against 2991 Kgs for Pakistan. Roughly, per hectare yields of different crops in the agriculturally advanced / developed countries are about 2-3 times higher than Pakistan.

157. Another difference between Pakistan and the recently fast developing countries is in respect of natural disasters which visit Pakistan more frequently and cause destructions in Pakistan more seriously vis-à-vis its GDP and other resources.

158. If we have to increase the crop yields to reach somewhere near the advanced countries, it is absolutely necessary to ensure timely and adequate availability of water, fertilisers, pesticides and better seeds along with use of modern farming techniques for which our farmers require very high amount of funds which are not available with them and cannot be made available to them through bank loans and other sources.

159. Israel is an example often quoted to be in a similar condition in Pakistan but that has developed rapidly. It is ignored that Pakistan produces a population equivalent to Israel’s present population in just a little over of two years’ period. Its per capita foreign assistance is far more than Pakistan and it gets significant level of defence protection from the United States. Israel is the largest recipient of direct military assistance from the USA. Since 1987, the US has provided an annual average of $1.8 billion in military assistance to Israel. In economic aid, in term of per capita US grant, Israel has ranked first.

160. No country in the world has so hostile neighbours as Pakistan has which has adversely affected its development efforts. For instance, out of 193 countries in Europe, Australia, Oceania, Asia and Africa, only 10 countries or only about 5% of the total 193 countries in the world have hostility of minor nature such as China & Taiwan, and South Korea & North Korea and of serious nature in case of neighbours Pakistan & India, Israel and Palestine, and Libya, Iran & Taliban of Afghanistan with a superpower, thousands of miles away, while 183 countries have almost no hostility or conflicts with each other and are enjoying blessings of peace

161. All the countries which have developed fast in the recent decades did not have to confront highly intensive multiple kinds of political, social, economic, religious and moral issues etc. at the same time as Pakistan is facing. The recent economic success stories with some differences are China, UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Chile, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela (oil rich) and Singapore and none of these countries confronted all these kinds of problems at the same time and if at all, only a very few of these from time to time

162. Pakistan exports of about $24 billion appears to be so insignificant as compared with other countries such as China with $1506 billion, German $1337 billion, Japan $765 billion, South Korea $466 billion, Singapore $351 billion, Hong Kong $ 382 billion and Ireland $115 billion.

163. Even if we manage to put together a team of economic wizards, political genius, intelligence brains, social reformers and security specialists with proven track record from different success stories such as from UAE, South Korea, Brazil, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India and China, it is unlikely that they would accept this complex assignment of rehabilitating, reforming and restoration of our economy because of strong fear of failure. If they accept, formulation of successful, result oriented, practicable and realistic policies keeping in view Pakistan’s political, social, economic, moral and bureaucratic systems would be an uphill task and they are very unlikely to deliver goals. Although sector-wise appropriate and good policies could be framed by the Pakistan specialists, the problem lies in their successful execution.

164. Only the example of South Korea is a little bit similar to Pakistan because it has a dispute with its neighbour, North Korea, and it has allocated its substantial resources towards military but there are much strong dissimilarities. Pakistan has fought three wars with India. It does not have a savage and lawless neighbour like Afghanistan. There is no porous border between South Korea and its other neighbours. There is no independence movement in any region in South Korea. South Koreans speak one language as against Pakistan which is a multilingual society.

165. South Korea is a gun free culture, there is no Bara Market and no conflict exists amongst different classes of the society such as we have amongst different sects of Islam, provinces or regions. A Korean is not allowed to keep a gun in his house except for hunting purpose. When you want to hunt, you have to go to the police station, check you gun out, hunt and return it the police station when you have finished. So there can be no comparison with Pakistan with gun culture difference so immense. It is a peaceful society with the crime and tax evasion rate amongst the lowest in the world. In Pakistan even an Islamic Madrassa has been found to be putting students in chains.

166. Due to South Koreans splendid achievements, North Koreans defect to South Korea for better future.

167. Another South Korean secret of its amazing economic performance is its high education standards. The South Korean kids study very hard day and night which explains their world beating test scores. They study so hard that the Govt. has to employ people to trace children who are studying after 10 PM. The students have become addictive to private tuition academies after school hours. Even raids are conducted to contain the country’s culture of educational masochism. At both national and local levels, the Govt. is changing school testing and university admission policies to reduce student tension. After a year of 14 hour days, the students hope to get admission in the top 3 universities. A typical academic schedule begins at 8 AM and ends between 10 pm to 1 AM depending upon the student choice. According to a South Korean student, “All we do is study, except when we sleep.” Pakistan is nowhere near the South Koreans in this respect.
168. In 1949, the South Korean population was 20 million which grew to only 49 million in 2010. It has 0.71% of the world’s total population growing at a very slow rate of 0.23% per annum and inflation hovering around 2.5% to 4.7%. In comparison, Pakistan’s population is 3.5 times more than South Korea with population growth rate 8-9 times higher and inflation rate about 4 times higher. South Korea initially promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption, unlike Pakistan.

169. In about 61 years, the Korean population has increased by 29 million whereas Pakistan produces this number in about 8-9 years. With so rapid growth of population, Pakistan’s comparison with South Korea becomes unrelated.
170. Secrets of success of South Korea are high priority to education, strong and capable political leadership, work ethics, missionary zeal to work with diligent labour, spirit to work with enthusiasm, unity and solidarity of the people particularly in the time of need and emergency and impatient and hurried approach for compressed industrialisation and super speed information technology. Their peace attributes or policies cannot be injected in Pakistan for one reason or the other. Our economy is not in a position to attach high priority to education or our people can neither become workaholic nor forge strong unity.

171. Iran is often quoted as a worthy example for emulation for Pakistan for resisting the American pressures. Iran’s example is neither relevant nor applicable nor appropriate for Pakistan to follow. Despite having 3rd largest oil reserves, and 8th biggest oil exporting country of the world, total exports of about $80 billion and a population of about 72 million. Iran’s ranking on per capita PPP basis is 59th out of 166 countries, in Technology Achievement Index at 46th out of 68 countries and Quality of Life Index at 114th out of 150 countries. It has sadly failed to take full advantage of its natural gifts.

172. There can be no comparison whatsoever between an oil importing and gas deficient Pakistan and oil and gas surplus / exporting country Iran. Iran has a foreign trade surplus of about $30 billion as against Pakistan’s deficit of about $15 billion. An oil deficient country can’t follow the policies of the oil rich Iran. Iran can afford confrontation with the Americans or the Western world because it does not depend on their aid and loans and its foreign exchange reserves are large enough to meet its long term requirements but this confrontation is also already affecting its growth. Political or physical confrontation with a more powerful country or countries damage economic prospects of a country. It is extremely vital for any country, if it has to grow rapidly, to avoid internal and external conflicts as far as possible initially and later may opt for confrontation after it has developed enough.
173. Based on average 6.58 members per family / household, the total No. of households is estimated at 26.90 million in Pakistan. If each current tax payer is counted as a household, then the total tax paying households are about 1.5 million, which means only about 6% people are paying income tax in Pakistan. Pakistan’s condition is similar to that of a bus which has broken down on the road and is being physically pushed by 6 persons towards its destination who are bearing burden of the other 94 passengers who are sitting idle in the bus. So this bus is unlikely to reach its destination which is miles away.

174. People are becoming psychic because of existing horrible state of life in Pakistan. According to a survey, about 80% of residents of South and North Waziristan Agencies have been affected mentally while 60% people of Peshawar are nearing to become psychological patients.

175. What is worse that is happening in Pakistan is that the weather too has become hostile and more  unpredictable because of climate change and so oscillates between two extremes – drought and floods. Both are very difficult to manage for a cash-starved country.
176. According to a recent survey, 40% respondents do not save anything from their income while 34% claim that they save 10% or less which show economic deprivation of our people.

177. Pakistan has the highest number of refugees in the world, about 1.9 million out of 43.7 million refugees, i.e., 4.34% of total. Iran and Syria follow Pakistan with 1.1 million and 1.00 million respectively. So Pakistan has got yet another unfair share in respect of world calamities as it has to provide shelter to a large number of refugees despite the fact that both the economic opportunities and housing facilities are extremely limited here. Pakistan has 710 refugees per GDP $ as compared with 17 refugees for each GDP per capita in Germany. These refugees are placing not only extraordinary burden on our national economy but also contributing in growth of crime which other refugee hosting countries are not facing, yet another kind of unique difficulties being faced by us. Introduction of Kalashnikov culture is their gift to Pakistan. Besides, the quality of refugees in Pakistan is very poor who are illiterate, uncivilised and brutal.

178. Massive bank loan write-offs are another major scandal that has hit our fragile economy which has not happened on such a large scale in any other country in the world.

179. Our elite has transferred their assets and wealth as well as built huge bank balances in foreign countries, which adversely affects our economy because the available funds are not invested in the country to produce goods and services and create employment opportunities. Although the estimates of such transfer differ, yet its share in proportion to GDP should be amongst the highest in the world.

180. Presently, the country is short of unity, love, affection, harmony and security. We lack peace and justice. We have adulteration in food, medicines and mineral water. Construction works in government funded projects or privately managed housing schemes use substandard quality inputs and they are not of standard specifications. So it will be an honest statement that we are living in dishonest society.

181. Power losses are nearly 20%, i.e., one out of five units produced is either lost or stolen during transmission / distribution which is a huge sum for WAPDA which is already facing financial crunch. Pakistan’s position is amongst the top 20 countries, that is, 70th in respect of total number of units lost during power transmission / distribution according to 2004 data despite the fact that its ranking in total power production in the world is low. The estimated losses come to Rs. 71389 crore at average rate of Rs. 8/KWH in 2010.

182. Mobile phones are seen everywhere in Pakistan and it is considered to be an indicator of growing prosperity. Data available shows Pakistan’s position is very low in the world, that is, 123rd out of 215 countries with 510 phones for 1000 population as against 1709 for 1000 population in UAE, the top country.

183. There is something seriously wrong with the democratic system of governance and its election mechanism as far as Pakistan is concerned. Is it not amazing that the same parties win by elections or other elections despite allegations of corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement along with rising problems of the common man such as load shedding, inflation, unemployment and security, etc.?

184. One strongly held view is that with about 70% of the country’s population living in rural areas and consequently their high share in the National / Provincial Assemblies to determine majority, largely illiterate and living below or near poverty line, the contestants manage to win the elections by spending more lavishly than their opponents especially on “Pulao ki Degain” (big dishes of chicken with rice) for their voters for a few weeks before the election date, backed by Bradries and Thana influence irrespective of their party affiliations or the performance of their government or their own capability, competency, or character. If this assessment is largely accurate, then this country requires some other form of democracy to bring honest and dedicated leadership.

185. In computer language, our country has been hit by virus and has become corrupt and will require reinstallation of windows in order to make this country fast forward moving nation, and the window installation takes considerable time.

186. In order to develop rapidly, it is of permanent important that our cost of production of industrial and agriculture goods, especially exportable items, remains low or competitive which is extremely difficult because of high cost of electric power due to our reliance on oil-based power generation, fast deprivation of the Pak Rupee, largely inefficient labor force, and high cost of local raw material, etc.

187. Another index called Composite Index of National Capability represents demographic, economic and military strength. Pakistan surprisingly scores very high at 12th out of 193 countries because of her high population level and defence strength.

188. The Child Development Index is an index combining performance measures specific to children – education, health and nutrition – to work out a score from 0 which is the best to 100 which is the worst. Pakistan gets 48.46 score with position at 119th out of 143 countries.

189. According to the Satisfaction with Life Index which measures subjective wellbeing with health, wealth and access to basic education, Pakistan earns one of the lowest positions at 166th out of 178 countries with Denmark, Switzerland and Austria as the top 3 nations.

190. Pakistan is a multilingual country with more than 60 languages being spoken which is not helpful for national integration and unity.

191. 80% of the world’s soccer balls are produced in Pakistan but Pakistan’s world ranking in football stands at 170th position for the simple reason that the game is largely dominated by rich countries.

192. A widely held public opinion of Pakistani political elite, whether ruling or in the opposition, which does not appear to be very wrong is that its only objectives are to either remain in power or get power somehow and make money as quickly as possible and as much as it can. If there is conflict between national and personal interests, the latter one will be preferred and as a result, however, if there is some development takes place in the country, it is only a by-product.

193. There is in fact no match between the quantum and severity of variety of problems and issues being faced by our country and competency, stature, caliber and sincerity of top political, business and bureaucratic class to tackle them. The gap between these two is not bridgeable.

194. A nation’s geographical location is not of its own choice, just as the birth of a person. If you are born in a poor country, your fate is more likely to be already determined to remain poor. Similar is the case and fate of Pakistan which is born poor with a hostile geography and limited resources.

195. If we have to save Sindh from floods, it is a must to build dams as 31 MAF of water are going downstream Kotri every year against requirement of 8.6 MAF. It is estimated that the price of 1MAF is US$ 2 billion which means roughly about $50 – 60 billion worth water is being wasted or thrown into the sea every year. But again we have the same problems that we are failing to make full utilisation of whatever domestic resource is available – a major failure on the part of our political leadership – both past and present.

196. The recent floods have caused immense damage to our economy. According to the National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have affected 6.616 million acres of land, 8.188 million people and 1.926 million farm areas, damaged 1.496 million houses and killed 78457 cattle. In order to accommodate the affected population estimated at 625293, 2938 relief camps were set up.

197. When the country is surrounded by enemies – inside and outside – all out determined to weaken Pakistan, along with political leadership fiercely fighting each other, the role of Pakistan Army becomes inevitable and crucial in order to keep the country intact and acts as the last word on issues of critical significance. As a consequence, it is said that Pakistan is not a country with Army but Pakistan is an Army with a country.

198. A common man’s life has become extremely difficult in Pakistan and that is why it is often said that if you wish to survive in Pakistan, you must have two Ps: Power & Prosperity or two Cs: Cash & Connections.

199. It is both gloomy and strange that two of Pakistan’s neighbours – China and India – are on the fast growth track whereas Pakistan is off the track. Bringing Pakistan on the fast road track seems to be a wishful thinking as at now because of innumerable tough barriers it is facing.

200. As compared with the dismal picture of Pakistan, the African Continent has started developing rapidly. Africa’s GDP grew @ 4.9% a year from 2000 to 2009, more than twice the rate in the previous two decades. Due to surge in growth, the Africans best and brightest youth are leaving the West and returning home, something entirely reverse in case of Pakistan.

201. Pakistan share in world GDP on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis is 0.63% in 2009, according to IMF, as against its share in world’s population of about 2.55% and at current prices is forecasted to be 0.64% in 2015 showing significant gap between our population and GDP share in the world.

202. Another evidence of intolerant society is that Pakistan has the dubious distinction of topping in the number of killing of journalists in the world in the last few years.

203. Pakistan is probably the only country in the world in which private jails exist even in 21st Century. A website search on the subject has failed to find the existence of such inhuman privately managed jails anywhere in the world, yet another regrettable distinction for Pakistan. This shows the quality of our law and order enforcement system.

204. The overall political, economic and social climate is such that it will not be wrong to state that Pakistan is being run by 4 As: Allah, America, Army and Anarchy.

205. According to Asian Development Bank Report titled “Asia 2050 – Realising the Asian Century” the per capita income of India is projected to grow to $41700 in 2050 as against $ 7900 for Pakistan, i.e., about 5.28 times higher. Such a scenario could have catastrophic consequences for Pakistan and it will be difficult for Pakistan to maintain its independence and integrity. It is an alarming scenario. To match India, Pakistan has no choice but to enhance its growth rate @ 8-10% per annum for next 40 years which at present seems an impossible proposition.

206. Pakistan is likely to be the only country in the world which has been going through one crisis to another incessantly from time to time such as; drone attacks, target killing, targeting bus passengers, burning oil tankers, suicide attacks on GHQ and Naval Base, Raymond Davis, Osama Bin Ladin Operation, frequent flood destructions, boys’ lynching, Ranger’s killing, Haqqani’s Network, cross border attacks, bombing of schools, kidnapping of children and elite, corruption horror stories, murder of Journalist Saleem Shehzad, Dr. Zulifqar Mirza’s outbursts against MQM, sectarian killing, money extortions, Memo-gate, President’s illness and NATO’s attack etc. Had the US been in our place, the Americans would have gone into coma.

207. A Pakistani is presently going through a nightmarish life as he fears or could face any moment assassination, kidnapping for ransom or bargaining, death by suicide bombing, target killing, random or indiscriminating killing, bomb blasts, honour murders, dowry killing, hand grenade throwing, ethnic and political opponents killing, cross border attacks, remote control bombing and drone attacks, gang rape, blasphemy accusation, floods, extortions, mobile, jewellery or cash snatching, road robbery, car theft, etc. and there is definitely no other nation in the world which will be facing such multiple kinds of fears and threats and these have severe impact on our economic growth potential. In Lahore, the crime rate has gone up by about 16% in one year, 2011. It will require a research study to identify any other source of killing of innocent people which is not under execution in Pakistan at present except through sea piracy, earthquake and floods.

208. Due to frequent natural disasters, the international and domestic response and donations for the assistance of the effected population have significantly declined as we have seen during the 2011 floods.

209. Arrival of Dengue is another natural calamity which has probably not attacked any other country of the world on such a large scale despite many of them are having summer and rainy seasons, filthy streets, dirty water ponds, etc. and is eating our already scarce resources. It is nothing short of another misfortune for the country.

210. Pakistan has been ranked 3rd on the basis of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women according to a global survey of Thomas Reuters Foundation. These include acid attacks, child and forced marriage and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse.

211. Another survey reveals that Pakistan is amongst the top states in respect of dowry murders, honour killings and early marriages. Even the daughters / sisters are denied share in inheritance although the Government has passed a new law to punish those people violating this Islamic injunction.

212. It will not be again easy to find a country in the whole world whose major public sector corporations are in so critical financial crisis along with their serious inefficient system and crumbling infrastructure / assets as Pakistan has in the case of Pakistan Railways, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills, WAPDA, etc. whose losses run into several billions of Rupees every year with the Govt. having no option but to bail them out. Rs. 1000 billion have been given by the Govt. to the state enterprises – PEPCO, LESCO, Railways, Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Pakistan Steel and PIA to keep them operational during the period 2007-2011 and they are still not out of woods.

213. Pakistan is probably the only nation of the world whose political leaders allow surplus river waters to go into the sea rather than utilising it for desperately needed irrigation and power generation systems through hydroelectric dams although every country has higher and lower riparian areas.

214. Most common opinion held by Pakistanis is that Pakistan has tremendous and enormous potential and talent to grow as it has a large land area, 4 seasons, 180 million population, beautiful tourist places, sea side, river waters, coal, copper, gold, etc. and other natural resources is not really valid. Pakistan is not a natural resource rich country vis-à-vis its population size along with a large No. of severe problems by and large and whatever it has, these can’t be fully exploited because of various obstacles, constraints and reasons which can’t be easily surmountable as the past history shows. Most developing and poor countries in the world have also got a lot of potential and resources but they have remained poor for centuries and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. A poor man’s child is also brilliant but his potential remains unexplored because of lack of funds to exploit the potential.

215. The size, dimension, degree, intensity and range of the problem facing Pakistan are too complicated, complex, diverse and demanding to be tackled by ordinary means or minds.

216. Anti-American sermons, slogans, rhetoric, steps or stance can only worsen our condition. See the decline in Pak Rupee vs US$ soon after we decided to take some tough measures against the Americans. The decline has extremely dire and far reaching implications for our economy. Defence of the Pak Rupee is no less important than the defence of the borders.

217. Hurting the American interests should not be the focus of our foreign policy. Our primary concern and objective should only be to avoid depreciation of the Pak Rupee which although does not affect the top elite of Pakistan because they have the absorption capacity to meet rise in prices.

218. Some politicians are of the view that Pakistan can get rid of the American aid by bringing back the Pakistanis’ wealth accumulated in foreign countries. It is simply impossible to force people to bring their assets / funds to Pakistan. No such precedent exists in the history of the world. Moreover, our fiscal and foreign exchange deficits are too gigantic to be plugged by such transfers, even if made possible.

219. During the last 8 years, 2002-10, the Americans have provided nearly $19 billion aid or Rs. 150000 crore or that is on average of $2.25 billion or Rs. 18000 crore which is a huge sum for Pakistan. About 75% of this aid has gone for military purposes which is as crucially required as for economic development. So the American assistance has been received for military or economy to meet our requirements otherwise additional resource generation would have been required to meet the gap.

220. Only about 10-15 countries out of some 200 countries have gone on to become emergent, fast developing, near developed or advanced or prosperous during the last 40-50 years for different reasons, while an overwhelming majority of nations is strolling on the footpath of the development highway.

221. Pakistan cannot be disintegrated or any of its provinces can’t get separation because such successful independence movement requires not only strong external political support but also funding and some kind of armed invasion through a ground assault by a neighbouring enemy country. In case of Baluchistan, it has no common border with India while Iran has close relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan is too weak a country to undertake such an adventure with Pakistan. There is no such movement in other three provinces of Pakistan.

222. Pakistan will, however, survive as an independent state simply because no country in the world could be interested in taking it over as it is an unmanageable, turbulent, restless, intolerant and extremist society besides we have a strong army with nuclear arms to keep its independence and common religion, a binding force against foreign countries and the era of making colonies is long gone.

So, in view of the above hard, grim, alarming, painful, critical, intricate and undeniable realities which are simultaneously in existence, even an honest, incorruptible, sincere and capable political leadership ALONE, elected through democratic system of Government and with fair and free general elections process, however, could only make a marginal difference in the life of a majority of population of the country in a foreseeable future and the dream of its
becoming a welfare, progressive and vibrant state will remain a dream.

The following miracles are, however, successfully required to occur in Pakistan simultaneously to change her fate:

(I) We have an extremely sincere, spotless, dynamic patriotic, selfless, committed, competent, energetic, dedicated, strong and incorruptible political leadership,
(II) We get permanent domestic peace, and make Pakistan a gun free country
(III) We manage to discover and quickly exploit known and unexpected vast natural resources,
(IV) A political leadership who sets personal examples of complete austerity, sacrifices and simple living and shuns ostentatious life style for the whole nation to follow,
(V) Pakistanis holding their assets and wealth in foreign countries bring them back to Pakistan,
(VI) As Pakistan is a poor economy, it must lead a poor life initially to save, produce and invest for at least a decade in order to eliminate fiscal and trade deficits and thus ensure rapid growth in future,
(VII) Disputes with India are settled,
(VIII) A serious and determined campaign is successfully launched to ensure elimination of crime and corruption, etc. without any discrimination whatsoever,
(IX) Moral reawakening of the political, business and bureaucratic elite is also a basic requirement to be met so that they pay their tax dues honestly,
(X) Pakistan will have to become a nation of workaholics like Japan, and
(XI) The Almighty imposes a ban on frequent visits of natural disasters / calamities to Pakistan for at least a period of next 50 years.

As a result of above, other problems like low morality level, lack of investment, fiscal and trade deficit, tax evasion, unemployment, etc. will be tackled. There is no easy ride in a country facing turmoil and upheavals of different varieties. Our minimum immediate goal, under all circumstances and whatever the cost may be, is to avoid turning Pakistan into a pariah state and banana republic.
The world’s history confirms that so many miracles hardly occur and no reason exists to expect and reach conclusion that Pakistan could be an exception. So the solution to Pakistan’s problems appears to be largely beyond human competence and ingenuity at least at present.

No wonder, Pakistan’s today is worse than yesterday but better than tomorrow. However, we as a nation must not lose hope of better days in future and continue to explore ways and means to achieve economic breakthrough as soon as possible.

To sum up, the only basic purpose of this book is not to propagate despondency and despair about our future but to make people aware that the country is facing economic problems of enormous dimensions and we all should realise it and start taking selfless measures to place it on the road of progress and prosperity.

No comments:

Post a Comment