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Thursday, 13 August 2015

PAKISTAN: The Bumpy Road To Progress

Pakistan 1947 – 2015
Bumpy Road To Progress,
But The Climb Continues

(M. Javed Naseem)

August 14 commemorates the Independence anniversary of Pakistan. Today, Pakistan is the most advanced Islamic country in the world! Despite the road-blocks, it keeps marching on the road to progress. The road is bumpy and those bumps and blocks are created by international conspiracies, from across the border infiltrations, terror acts and subversive activities of disloyal elements, foreign agents and enemies of Islamic Republic who are trying to make Pakistan a secular or socialist state. But the positive climb continues.
Pakistan is the fortress of Islam. It was created in the name of Allah (‘La ilaha illa-Allah’ being its slogan) and it’s going to stay no matter how much effort the enemies of Islam are putting in to destroy it. It’s progressing at a normal pace. It’s the symbol of the ‘Light of Allah’ and the infidels or unbelievers cannot blow it out.

“Pakistan has the fastest growing
Nuclear program in the world.
By 2020, the Islamic Republic
could have a stockpile of fissile
material that, if weaponized, could
produce as many as 200 nuclear devices,
roughly equivalent to the size of the
United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal.”

Some say that Pakistan is facing political and economic instability due to some security issues and political infighting. But, at the same time, some Western experts see Pakistan’s march on the road to success pretty consistent and unstoppable. Even in the political arena of Europe and America, people with Pakistani origin are advancing.

Pakistanis In British Parliament:

2015 is a remarkable year! A record number of 42 non-white MPs were elected in recent British parliamentary elections, many from white majority areas. That number includes 10 members of Pakistani origin, 10 of Indian origin and 3 of Bangladeshi origin.

Somebody said that it was an eye-opener for PTI Government in KPP for not allowing women to cast their votes in the recent bye-election held in Dir (north Pakistan).

The 10 MPs of Pakistani origin are:
1. Former Pakistani TV actress Tasmeena Shaikh, representing the Scottish National Party.
2. Yasmin Qureshi of the Labour Party from Bolton South East.
3. Labour Party’s Naz Shah, a 41-year-old disability rights campaigner who defeated her left-wing rival popularly nicknamed “Gorgeous George” Galloway from Bradford West. Naz has an incredible life story of her own. She was brought up in poverty, taken to Pakistan to escape domestic abuse and then forcibly married. Shah's mother ended up killing her abusive partner and going to jail after suffering a long time in silence.
4. Imran Hussain was also elected on the Labour Party ticket.
5. Sadiq Khan of the British Labour Party was elected from Tooting.
6-7. Shabana Mehmood and Khalid Mehmood were elected from Manchester.
8-10. Weldone's Conservative candidate Nusrat Ghani (8), Gillingham & Rainham's Conservative candidate Rehman Chishti (9), and Bromsgrove's Conservative candidate Sajid Javed (10) were also elected.

Pakistan Is Progressing!

(Pak-China Economic Corridor: A $46billion mega-project of 3,000km network of highways, railways and pipelines from Gawadar to Kashgar to make Pakistan richer and stronger than ever before, a strategic game-changer. Construction began in 2015)
Pakistan could have
200 nuclear weapons by 2020.

Here's a report broadcast by the German TV/Radio giant Deutsche Welle (The Voice of Germany):
While many states are downsizing their nuclear stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup. Pakistan, located in a region "most at risk of a breakdown," has the fastest-growing nuclear program, as Gregory Koblentz tells DW (Deutsche Welle).

In a report released by the US-based Council on Foreign Relations titled Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age, author Gregory D. Koblentz, an expert on arms control and non-proliferation, identifies South Asia as the region "most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals."

In this context, Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear program in the world. And as Koblentz says in a DW interview, by 2020, the Islamic Republic could have a stockpile of fissile material that, if weaponized, could produce as many as two hundred nuclear devices, roughly equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal.

The only four countries currently expanding their nuclear arsenals are China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Although each nation's buildup is motivated by different reasons, the combination makes Asia the center of a new nuclear arms race.

India and Pakistan's slow-motion arms race picked up speed in 1998 when both countries conducted multiple nuclear tests. The ensuing nuclear and missile buildup by both countries shows no signs of abating. Last month, Pakistan tested two missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads: the 900-kilometer range Shaheen-1A (Hatf-IV) and the 1,500-kilometer range Shaheen 2 (Hatf-VI).

Altogether, Pakistan has deployed or is developing eleven different nuclear delivery systems including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. India is also fielding an increasingly capable array of ballistic and cruise missiles to complement its nuclear-capable aircraft. Both states are also expanding their capacity for producing highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the two key materials needed to produce nuclear weapons.
Since their nuclear tests in 1998, India and Pakistan have fought one low-intensity war (the 1999 Kargil War) and experienced two serious crises spurred by terrorist attacks (allegedly) launched from Pakistan (the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the 2008 Mumbai attack). The geographic proximity of the two countries complicates crisis management since the flight times of ballistic missiles is measured in minutes. Finally, while both states claim to seek only a credible minimum nuclear deterrent, regional dynamics have driven them to pursue an array of nuclear and missile capabilities.

After the 1999 Kargil War, India developed a new doctrine of rapid, limited conventional military operations designed to punish Pakistan but remain below Pakistan's presumed nuclear threshold.
In response, Pakistan has begun deploying tactical nuclear weapons, such as the Nasr (Hatf-IX) short-range ballistic missile, to deter even limited Indian military intervention. Since the conventional military imbalance between India and Pakistan is expected to grow thanks to India's larger economy and higher gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, Pakistan's reliance on nuclear weapons to compensate for its conventional inferiority will likely be an enduring feature of the nuclear balance in South Asia.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan currently has enough fissile material, in the form of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, for about 100-120 nuclear weapons.
However, Pakistan is expanding its capability to produce even more weapons-grade material. By 2020, it could have sufficient weapons-grade uranium and plutonium to manufacture more than 200 nuclear weapons, roughly equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal.

(JF-17 Thunder became the first indigenous combat aircraft produced by Pakistan)
Although Pakistan initially focused on the uranium route to nuclear weapons, in recent years it has focused more on the plutonium pathway. Pakistan currently has three reactors at the Khushab nuclear site, 200 kilometers south of Islamabad, capable of producing enough plutonium for six to seven nuclear weapons a year.
In addition, Pakistan is constructing a fourth reactor at this site and expanding its ability to reprocess the spent fuel from these reactors to obtain additional plutonium. Once all four reactors and associated reprocessing facilities are complete, Pakistan will be able to produce an estimated 10-12 bombs-worth of plutonium a year.
The next crisis between India and Pakistan could be sparked by a cross-border military incursion, a mass-casualty terrorist attack, or a high-profile assassination. The growth of nuclear and missile capabilities on the subcontinent since 1998 has increased the risk that such a crisis could escalate in unforeseen and dangerous ways.
As India and Pakistan deploy new nuclear forces, such as cruise missiles, tactical nuclear weapons, and sea-based nuclear missiles, new challenges to crisis stability, deterrence, and command and control will arise. If India and Pakistan don't change their current trajectory, a nuclear crisis, or even worse, is likely to occur.

(Gregory Koblentz is an Associate Professor in the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs at George Mason University and author of the Council on Foreign Relations report, "Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age.")
(Courtesy: DW Germany)

Pakistan’s Golden Era:
(From: Wikipedia)

Between 27 October 1958 and 25 March 1969 under Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s economic growth averaged 5.82% during his eleven years in office as President. Manufacturing growth in Pakistan during this time was 8.51%, far outpacing any other time in Pakistani history. It was the time when Pakistan first got an automobile industry, a cement industry and few other heavy manufacturing industries. However tax collection was low averaging less than 10% of GDP. The Export Bonus Vouchers Scheme (1959) and tax incentives stimulated new industrial entrepreneurs and exporters. Bonus vouchers facilitated access to foreign exchange for imports of industrial machinery and raw materials.

(President Muhammad Ayub Khan with Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy)
Tax concessions were offered for investment in less-developed areas. These measures had important consequences in bringing industry to Punjab and gave rise to a new class of small industrialists.
Land reform, consolidation of holdings, and stern measures against hoarding were combined with rural credit programs and work programs, higher procurement prices, augmented allocations for agriculture, and, especially, improved seeds were introduced as part of the Green Revolution. However, academics have argued that that while the HYV technology enabled a sharp acceleration in agricultural growth, it was accompanied by social polarization and increased inter personal and inter regional inequality.

(Tarbela Dam, 50km from Islamabad, on the Indus river in Pakistan, is the largest earth filled dam in the world, second largest by structural volume. It was constructed in 1968)
During the same period there was construction of several infrastructure projects (notably Tarbela Dam and Mangla Dam), including canals, dams and power stations, began Pakistan's space program.

(Rehbar was series of sounding rocket launches into the upper atmosphere and the edge of space. Rehbar-I was the first rocket launched by Pakistan's Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), on 7th June 1962. Rehbar-I was a two-staged solid fuel rocket. Various Rehbar sounding rocket models were launched 200 times between 1962 and 1972)
In 1959 the country began the construction of its new capital city – Islamabad. A Greek firm of architects, Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis, designed the master plan of the city based on a grid plan which was triangular in shape with its apex towards the Margalla Hills. The capital was not moved directly from Karachi to Islamabad; it was first shifted temporarily to Rawalpindi in the early sixties and then to Islamabad when the essential development work was completed in 1966.

(Beautiful Islamabad - The capital of Pakistan)

1980s-1999: Era of
Privatization and Stagnation:

According to Sushil Khanna, professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, the Pakistani economy under President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq benefited from a number of special factors, both domestic and external. The completion of the long gestation period Tarbela Dam helped unleash an unprecedented agricultural growth, while fertilizer and cement investments contributed to the industrial growth.

Tremendous boost to economic activity was provided by rising worker remittances, which rose to a peak of US $3 billion in 1982-83. In 1982-83, these remittances were equivalent to 10% of the gross national product of Pakistan. Zia also successfully negotiated with USA for larger external assistance, unprecedented in the history of Pakistan.
(Spread over 1700 acres (about 7square km) Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, is the top university in Pakistan. It was constructed in 1967 and has currently 7,800 students enrolled)
In addition to direct assistance to Pakistan, the United States and allies funneled about US $5–7 billion to the Afghan Mujahedins through Pakistan, providing further boost to the local economy. Similarly, the narcotic trade which gathered momentum in the 1980s strongly supported the service sector of the economy. Under Zia, the economic policies became market oriented. Buoyant remittances and aid eased the foreign exchange constraints on the economy.
As an aftermath of the 1990 general elections, the right-wing conservatives under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif came to power for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif struck the stagflation with full force after forcefully implementing the Privatization and economic liberalization programs. The stagflation was temporarily ended in the country.
(Pakistan rolled out 4G in mobile communication in 2014, aiming to capitalize on over 140 million mobile phones in the country)
After returning to power with heavy margins, Nawaz Sharif made several attempts to end the stagflation in the country. Overall, the conditions had been worsened and a year after being elected, Sharif ordered the nuclear tests in a response to India's nuclear aggression. Despite the Asian financial crises in 1997 and Russian financial crises in 1998, and amid economic sanctions in the wake of nuclear tests, the foreign exchange increased to $1.5 billion, the stock market improved and inflation was contained at 3.5% as opposed to 7% in 1993-96.
(Pakistan developed first motorway in South Asia in 1997. Today it has been expanded to over 1,000km long operational network with another 1,500km planned for next 10 years)
Nawaz Sharif's second government restored the GDP growth to 3.49% in 1997, though inflation remained high at 11.80%. Little progress was made by Sharif in 1998, and his reforms only leveled up the GDP growth to 4.19%, while retaining the inflation and unemployment at 7.8%.

2000s: Economic Liberalization,
Growth and Re-stagnation

Under Shaukat Aziz’z government, the country's national economic growth improved at the rate range by 6.4% to 9.0% a year. All revenue collection targets were met on time for the first time in the history of Pakistan, and allocation for development was increased by about 40%. However, this economical success is attributed largely to debt reduction and securing of the billion dollars worth US aid to Pakistan in return for the support in the US-led war on terror.

Moreover, despite a series of internal and external distresses, economic situation of Pakistan improved significantly and reserves increased to US$10.7bn on 30th June 2004, as compared to US$1.2bn in October 1999. Exchange Rate became stable and predictable; the inflation rate dropped to 3.5% during the last 3 years as against 11–12% in 1990.
(Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, is Pakistan’s largest international and domestic airport. It is a regional aviation hub. In 2013, it handled more than 16million passengers (more than 44,000 daily), and 113,345 aircraft movements were registered)
The administration of Yousaf Raza Gillani oversaw the dramatic high rise in suicide, corruption, national security, high unemployment, and without the sustainable economic policies along with compilation of other factors, the country's economy re-entered in the ‘era of stagflation’ (a virtual period that country had seen in 1990s earlier). The Pakistan economy slowed down dramatically to ~4.09% as compared to 8.96%—9.0% presided under his predecessor, Shaukat Aziz in 2004–08; while the yearly growth rate has come down from a long-term average of 5.0% to ~2.0%, though it did not reached the negative level.

Since 2013:
Privatization and Liberalization

Nawaz Sharif inherited an economy crippled with many challenges including energy shortages, hyperinflation, mild economic growth, high debt and large budget deficit. Shortly after taking power in 2013, Sharif won a $6.6 billion loan from the IMF to avoid a balance-of-payments crisis. Lower oil prices, higher remittances and increased consumer spending are pushing growth toward a seven-year high of 4.3 percent in the fiscal year of FY-2014-15.

(A 1,000MW Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park was constructed in 2015 in Bahawalpur, 100MW operational today. It is the largest in the country, and once fully completed would be the largest in the world)
Pakistan's GDP growth rate for FY-2012-2013 was down to 3.59% with estimates suggesting that it will only reach 3.65% by the end of 2013. However, the government expects to increase it to 5.8% for FY-2014-2015. Business confidence in Pakistan is at a three-year high in May 2014 largely backed by increasing foreign reserves to $10b while it is expected that they will cross $15 billion by mid-2014. Along with that, in May 2014 the IMF claimed that Inflation has dropped to 13 per cent compared to 25% in 2008, foreign reserves are in a better position and the current account deficit has come down to 3 per cent of GDP for 2014. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Corporation changed Pakistan's ranking to stable outlook on the long-term rating.

(Gawadar port project, one of the biggest in Asia, is under construction now)
On 5 May 2015, Standard & Poor’s revised projections for Pakistan's average real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2015 to 2017 to 4.6 per cent from 3.8 per cent and also upped its outlook on Pakistan's long-term 'B'-credit rating to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’. S&P attributes the largely positive projections to diversification in income generation, the government's efforts towards fiscal consolidation, improvement in external financing conditions and performance, and stronger capital inflows and remittances.


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