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At cost of economy

At cost of economy


According to news reporters quoting the central bank of the country, the war on terror has cost the nation $118 billion. The direct and indirect losses are equivalent to one third of the gross domestic product of the country which the economy incurred from 2002 to 2016. The decision to enter the war not only hampered economic growth, but also the social sector development. Meanwhile, Pakistan received only $14 billion under the head of Coalition Support Fund from the United States with an annual release of around $1 billion since 2002. The government has also been fighting home-grown insurgencies since 2004 which has severely damaged the image of the country in the international community. The war has not only brought immeasurable casualties, displacement and destruction, but also hampered economic and industrial activities and drove away foreign investment from the country. The participation in the war on terror on the behest of the United States has damaged the institutional structure and caused instability in every section of the economy. Terrorists are still striking every part of the country, and are sending wrong signals to the world about the soft image of Pakistan.

The officials of the International Monetary Fund have claimed that Islamabad has emerged successful from economic crisis in the wake of the three-year extended facility programme, but experts cast doubt in it. The GDP of the country still hovers around four percent and over 60 percent of the population do not have access to even basic necessities of life and trying survive three dollars a day. The powerful political and business elite still have many options to fish in the trouble waters and exploit the situation to make money. The poor are the losers at the end.

The years of energy crisis, imprudent economic policies and corruption have added insult to injury. The political leadership has no troubleshooting faculty and it is allowing the time to pass until the next general elections. The foreign remittances sent by the expatriate Pakistanis are the only hope to maintain foreign exchange reserves, but most of them are returning to the country due to recession in the Arab nations. The economy recorded 4.7 percent growth in 2015-2016 and inflation was kept as low as 3.8 percent during the fiscal year in question, but the growth is the lowest as compared to the other countries in the region. The new political order across the world, including exit of Britain from the European Union, presidential elections in the United States and rise of Hindu nationalist party to power in India has changed the dynamics of the regional and international affairs. The government will have to make a new strategy not only to boost economy, but also find a constructive role in the international affairs.