According to a World Bank report on South Asia’s Economic Opportunity, Pakistan has roughly incurred short-term losses equivalent to 2.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product due to sit-ins launched by Imran Khan, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Tahirul Qadri, chief of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek. However, the bank says that Pakistan achieved GDP growth of 4.1 percent during 2013-14 which is the highest in seven years of economic and political uncertainty in the country. According to the report, the government has achieved strong fiscal consolidation despite challenges and has contained fiscal deficit and ensured economic recovery by after years of recession.
The bank appreciates significant inflow of remittances sent by Pakistani expatriates which have strengthened the foreign exchange reserves and bolstered the national economy. The bank sees availability of energy as prerequisite for the services and manufacturing sectors which would also improve the confidence of investors in the government policies. However, a frequent raise in electricity tariff, reduction in power subsidies and increase in load shedding has severely hampered the industrial growth.
Pakistan is situated on major trade routes of the world which link it to South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East. It can reap the benefits of its strategic location by extending cooperation to various countries in the region.The only thing the government has to do is to make peace with political opponents in the country, introduce economic reforms to attract local as well as foreign investment and try its best to curb terrorism. The recent border skirmishes with India are not in the interest of the two countries which are already fighting on various fronts such poverty, unemployment and law and order.
The proposed economic corridor will enable Chinato export its goods from Gwadar port, electricity agreements with Central Asian countries, and increase in the volume of trade with India can ensure prosperity in the region.
The recent political chaos has severely damaged the confidence of the local businessmen and foreign investors and it is the time for political stakeholders to shun their differences and join hands for the development of the country.