analysis
Fighting the existential battle

What is the real, existential cause for 
concern — the imagined enemy, or a real, functional terror network in the shape of the TTP?
By Raza Rumi
The renewed attacks of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) across the country indicate the exasperation of this anti-state network trying to re-assert its strength in the face of Pakistan Army’s operations as well as the drone strikes by the U.S., which have now turned into a major political plank for most political parties. 
The illegal drone strikes have targeted Al Qaeda leadership as well as the TTP stalwarts, leading to the dispersal of militants’ leadership and the relocation of Al Qaeda, reportedly to several urban centers of Pakistan.

data
Gender disparities
Women must be counted properly in labour 
inspections and other data collection processes
By Aoun Sahi
In Pakistan, labour inspections have traditionally focused on protection of workers working under formal contracts of employment in both public and private sectors. But that makes only 26 percent of the total labour force in Pakistan. One fundamental principle is to include women. 
Whatever the area of inspection for which evidence is being gathered, it must be made sure that women are represented in the data collection process, ideally in proportion to the number of women in the establishment under inspection. 
Any data that is collected, is sex disaggregated. Most simply, when recording the total number of employees, list women and men, at all levels, separately. If the number of complaints lodged is being recorded, for instance, try to register the number of complaints lodged by women and men separately. 

Under one umbrella
Lack of coordination during disasters has always remained a challenge. Around 50 welfare organisations join hands to take it head on
By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed
It was during the floods of 2010 when a group of relief workers reached the badly-affected districts of Charsadda, Nowshera and Swabi. They had brought ration, medicine, clothing, tents and other relief items to be distributed among relief victims. 
Soon after reaching the place, they realised several other relief workers were also on their way. Quite understandably, they were brining similar items along with them. Most of the items ultimately found their way to godowns. The stocks were enough to cater to some specific needs of the affected population many times, but there were other needs like access to medical facilities, shelters for the homeless which were yet to be met. 

revenue
A bad deal
Tax amnesty schemes have caught the attention of the critics for what(ever) they are
By Huzaima Bukhari and 
Dr. Ikramul Haq
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), in a meeting of Board-in-Council held on September 26, 2012, approved two amnesty schemes, namely, ‘Tax Registration’ and ‘Tax Amnesty Scheme’ aimed at facilitating tax evaders and plunderers of national wealth. According to Press reports, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, on October 4, 2012, directed the FBR “to fine-tune the schemes” to allow legalising of untaxed assets, both local and foreign. 
On October 5, 2012, the FBR claimed that the “Prime Minister has approved in principle both the schemes and it has been decided they would be introduced after parliament’s approval.” Later, FBR submitted the proposed schemes to the finance ministry for approval to allow whitening of undeclared/untaxed assets offering the tax evaders yet another chance to get their local and foreign assets legalised by 31 December 2012. 

Demand for agrarian restructuring
Food-secure and decent livelihoods can be attained through land redistribution
By A Ercelan, Karamat Ali and Muhammad Ali Shah
Once too often, clad in sherwani or khakis, fawning provincial elites echo Islamabad’s proclamation: the end of mass poverty in the Indus Basin. Bunkum, rebuffs the last Household Integrated Economic Survey 2010-11 [HIES]. For almost the bottom one-third of rural Sindh population, monthly food expenditure provides less than half of an active adult’s daily requirement even if average nourishment was magically achieved by all. Another one-fourth of population consumed only an additional 600 calories or so.

nutrition
Food for thought
World Food Day on October 16 was a reminder to Pakistan’s policymakers to lend some attention to the issue of food insecurity
By Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri
Almost half of the people in Pakistan are food insecure. This is informed by different studies conducted by various organisations using different datasets and methodologies. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and World Food Program’s report released in 2010 suggests that 48.6 percent population in Pakistan is food insecure. 
Mahboob ul Haq Development Foundation’s Human Development report 2011 says that food was inaccessible for more than one third of Pakistanis. It also reveals that food consumption in terms of Kcal/day is much below other developing countries. National Nutrition Survey commissioned by UNICEF in 2011 mentions that 58 percent population in Pakistan is facing food insecurity and moderate to severe hunger. Global Hunger Index by FAO places Pakistan food insecurity level as alarming. 

The cost of political gains
The rush to spend funds allocated in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) raises a number of questions
By Shujauddin Qureshi
As the country is heading towards elections expected by early next year, the ruling political parties have speeded up their efforts to show some ‘performance’ in order to attract voters. 
On an average, the performance of economic managers of the federal government remained quite dismal as trade deficits have increased to an all time high levels and GDP growth remained low. This is in addition to below-the-target tax collection during the four years of the PPP led coalition government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

analysis
Fighting the existential battle
What is the real, existential cause for 
concern — the imagined enemy, or a real, functional terror network in the shape of the TTP?
By Raza Rumi

The renewed attacks of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) across the country indicate the exasperation of this anti-state network trying to re-assert its strength in the face of Pakistan Army’s operations as well as the drone strikes by the U.S., which have now turned into a major political plank for most political parties.

The illegal drone strikes have targeted Al Qaeda leadership as well as the TTP stalwarts, leading to the dispersal of militants’ leadership and the relocation of Al Qaeda, reportedly to several urban centers of Pakistan.

The ‘popular’ Imran Khan led his march to Waziristan (without being able to set foot in the tribal agency) and created a kind-of media consensus that Pakistan needed to pull out of “America’s war” and make peace with the Taliban or, more fantastically, enable the threatened tribals to take on the Taliban themselves.

This fanciful and simplistic narrative omitted a vital segment of reality: the TTP is pitted not just against the United States’ “imperial designs” — it also considers the state of Pakistan as its enemy. These Kharijites of the 21st century use religious appeal to justify and rationalise extremely violent and barbaric acts, and consider the existence of pluralism within the fold of Islam as an anathema. They consider women’s education to be un-Islamic and consider a constitutional democracy as an infidel imposition on the faithful.

Unlike other insurgent groups in Pakistan, TTP wants to demolish the state of Pakistan and its constitutional basis in line with Al Qaeda ideology. Readers doubtful of this polemic should refer to Al Zawahiri’s famous treatise called “The Morning And The Lamp”, freely available on the Internet. If they are further interested, they could refer to any bookshop where such materials are widely available. This is how we have allowed anti-state doctrines to penetrate our public life.

The most brazen act of targeting a 14-year old girl, Malala Yousafzai, immediately after Khan’s march came as a game-changer. The “public opinion” shaped by Taliban apologists faced the biggest jolt, the biggest after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007. Even the conservative and religious sections of Pakistani society could not help condemn this barbarity, and for a day or two, it appeared as if there was a major consensus emerging in the country that put homegrown terrorist networks such as TTP before the imagined enemies such as India or the United States.

However, this consensus was breached by the usual suspects such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, which termed the Taliban as their brothers, obfuscating the real issue of a girl child not being allowed to go to school. The JI also went ahead and, on various social media platforms, released pictures of Malala and her father meeting the late Richard Holbrooke, thereby suggesting that Malala’s family were CIA agents and “legitimate targets” of the TTP. This came as a shocking reminder to the country on the lack of clarity and deliberate confusion spread by the apologists for brutal groups such as the Taliban.

The second source of public confusion came through none other than once-a-Westernized-liberal-cricketer Imran Khan, who – while condemning the attack on Malala – refused to name the TTP and created a spurious link between the ongoing drone strikes and the attack on Malala.

Imran Khan’s shocking positions may well be cynical political ploys to gain power in the coming years by positioning the issue of Taliban in a traditional “strategic depth” framework that views the Taliban as pro-Pakistan assets capable of establishing a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. No one has commented on this situation better than my friend Feisal Naqvi in his brutally honest article (entitled “Shame on you Mr. Khan”):

“Distinguishing between the TTP and the Afghan Talibs is not the same as saying that drone attacks are justified: that is an entirely different debate… And if you, Mr Khan, cannot understand that logic, then you are unfit to lead this country.”

The third source of confusion and evident cowardice came from the ruling parties and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who shed many a tear on Malala’s plight but refused to name the TTP out of fear as well as political expediency, given that nobody wants to cede any ground to the Taliban-savvy Imran Khan.

The Chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, was brave enough to name the TTP and also reminded everyone that this mindset was responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He, however, gave this statement from a position of comfort and relative insularity, sitting in London and not directly responsible for Pakistan’s governance.

The same could be said of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s exiled leader Altaf Hussain, who perhaps gave the boldest statement in the case of Malala Yousafzai, the butchery of TTP, and the unprecedented rise of extremism and its widespread acceptance, even among the educated segments of Pakistan. Nevertheless, it needs to be recognised that Altaf bhai’s statement was aired in Karachi amidst thousands of people, and the MQM has emerged as a bulwark of resistance against bigotry and extremism.

The MQM realises that its support base, i.e., the middle classes, women, and upwardly-mobile social classes, will not accept TTP’s vision for Pakistan. This is why Altaf Hussain has been repeatedly citing Mr. Jinnah’s August 11 speech. The clearest denunciation of the attack on Malala came in these words:

“Malala Yousufzai is the symbol of knowledge which the Taliban want to suppress. The cowardly attack on Malala and her classmates was the attack on Islam, the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and the humanity.”

More importantly, Mr Hussain asked Pakistanis if they wanted Pakistan to survive and progress, or if they would allow it to be wiped out from the map of the world. To save the country, he added, the entire nation would have to rise against these heartless killers. “We have to decide if we want a Pakistan of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah or we want a Pakistan of the Taliban. You are either with the Taliban or you are against them. There is no third option.”

Altaf Hussain, in his address last week, also challenged the religious scholars who were reticent when condemning the Taliban’s dastardly acts. As he rightly pointed out, the lines were clearly drawn in today’s Pakistan. Referring to the slain Governor of the Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, Mr Hussain reminded that no cleric was ready to lead his funeral prayers. When the killer Mumtaz Qadri was presented in a court, a group of lawyers had showered flower petals on him. For the first time, a politician questioned the Chief Justice’s silence and inaction against his “constituency” – the lawyers – who celebrated Qadri’s ghastly act.

The truth is that the Pakistani state remains hostage to its own ideological confusion, grown out of its policy of adopting extremism as a hedge against India. While this paradigm is currently being shifted by affecting a thaw with the traditional enemy, Pakistani society itself is now a victim of the misplaced emphasis on using proxies to wage a low-intensity yet lethal battle against India.

The abovementioned ideological confusion is further compounded by state incapacity to tackle extremism and guerrilla groups such as the TTP and its affiliates across the country. A critical factor impacting the fight against terrorism is the inability of the Pakistani state to reform its police force. Built around a 19th          century framework, the police is understaffed, undertrained, and lacks a coherent approach to counter terrorism.

A recent study by the Asia Society entitled, “Stabilizing Pakistan Through Police Reform” argues that the agility of criminal networks and terrorist organisations has rendered the Pakistani police force incapable to fulfil its functions. This report also highlights how insufficient and outmoded equipment, lack of merit in recruitment, and overall resource constraint, is a crisis of Pakistani state.

In a similar fashion, prosecution services across the country are unable to keep pace with the sophisticated investigation and preparation of cases for the courts, which adjudicate on instances of terrorism. This is why nearly 95pc of terrorists are acquitted from Pakistani courts. Insecure judges are unwilling to risk their lives as they face powerful groups operating with impunity, and often with tacit support of elements within the intelligence apparatus.

The Lal Masjid case was a national epitome of this syndrome; where a children’s library, illegal occupied, was turned into a terrorist nursery, and despite the military operation under General Musharraf, the ideological confusion permeating media organisations delegitimized its results.

Today, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the executive authorities, and the country’s well-known tycoon, Malik Riaz, have all joined hands to rehabilitate the Lal Masjid, and have gone to the extent of providing land and shelter to the violent activists of the Lal Masjid. When a state capitulates in such a manner, Malalas of Pakistan will continue to remain unsafe and vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

A three-pronged approach is desperately needed. First is to unite on the issue on terrorism and identify the common enemy. The recent division on the North Waziristan operation is dangerous and shows how all parties treat anti-Americanism as an electoral goldmine. Second, the capacity of civilian institutions to fight terror remains an unattended issue. More investments are required on an emergency basis.

Lastly, the Pakistan military will have to reassess its ‘threat perception’. What is the real, existential cause for concern — the imagined enemy, or a real, functional terror network in the shape of the TTP? Let’s hope that Gen Kayani’s August 14 speech and the recent ISPR statement on Malala are indicators of a shifting policy.

The writer is Director, Jinnah Institute, Islamabad. The views expressed are his own. His writings are archived at          www.razarumi.com. Follow him on Twitter: @razarumi

   

 

 

 

 

data
Gender disparities
Women must be counted properly in labour 
inspections and other data collection processes
By Aoun Sahi

In Pakistan, labour inspections have traditionally focused on protection of workers working under formal contracts of employment in both public and private sectors. But that makes only 26 percent of the total labour force in Pakistan. One fundamental principle is to include women.

Whatever the area of inspection for which evidence is being gathered, it must be made sure that women are represented in the data collection process, ideally in proportion to the number of women in the establishment under inspection.

Any data that is collected, is sex disaggregated. Most simply, when recording the total number of employees, list women and men, at all levels, separately. If the number of complaints lodged is being recorded, for instance, try to register the number of complaints lodged by women and men separately.

Such information is crucial in understanding gender dimensions of work and the labour force and can provide important evidence for policy and programme interventions.

According to the Pakistan Employment Trends Report 2011, the male participation rate in labour force increased 0.2 percentage points in 2010-2011 from the previous year. The female participation rate on the other hand has continued to rise since the beginning of the decade, with an increase of 5.0 percentage points in the period 1999-2000 to 2006-2007, and the same trend has been observed with an increase of 3.1 percentage points in 2006-2007 to 2010-2011.

The report also shows that the share of labour vulnerability across all sectors decreased by 2.5 percentage points between 1999-2000 and 2006-2007, and in the case of males by 5.2 percentage points. However, vulnerability across all sectors increases by 1.0 percentage point between 2006-2007 and 2010-2011.

At the same time, vulnerable employment of females increased by 11.6 percentage points since 1999-2000, mainly due to a large number of women, who newly entered the labour market to work primarily as contributing family workers in the agricultural sector, which provides the vast majority of jobs to them.

In 2010-2011, 7 out of 10 women (74.2 percent) worked in agriculture, predominantly in subsistence-level farming under harsh conditions and with little or no economic security.

The proportion of women in the status group of wage and salaried workers decreased in the recent survey years. “Less than a quarter of all women are now in a salaried position, as compared to a third at the beginning of the decade”, reads the report.

It has been noticed that though working conditions for both male and female are not exemplary in Pakistan in general but women in Pakistan, who want to work, often have no other choice than accepting vulnerable working conditions.

Some of the major problems women workers face are unequal payment of wages for equal value of work, harassment; this does not only include psychological or sexual harassment but also abuse of power and bullying, absence of transport facility and day care centre, no provision of maternity leaves and women membership in the trade unions.

Nusrat Bano, a 22-year old, works in a sports manufacturing factory in Sialkot for 10 hours a day and gets Rs5,000 salary. “There are more than 200 women workers in the factory but none of them gets a reasonable salary as compared to male counterparts. None of them has a letter of appointment. They do not have separate washroom and kitchen in the factory, leave alone a day care center.

There is no concept of leave with pay even for a single day while maternity leave is out of question. Pregnancy means removal from job. “We have the facility of pick and drop but there is only one bus for 200 women, so we are packed in bus like animals,” she says that workplace harassment is common in the factory and there is no forum where they can discuss the issues related to women workers of the factory.

“Yes, labour inspectors do come to our factory and talk to trade union representatives about the issues but they all are men who are least interested in issues being faced by women workers”, she says, adding, “ It is important for labour inspectors to talk independently with women as well and look at specific issues that are related to women. “

Another challenge is the cultural barrier women face while talking to men. If women can be in traffic police, why can they not be hired as labour inspectors to come and talk to women folks at a workplace”, she asks.

Ironically, in Punjab province, there are only two women labour inspectors. The Situation in Sindh is even worse where there is only one woman labour inspector while KP has hired its first batch of five women labour inspectors in the last two years. Women also have little or no presence in trade unions, the ILO data shows women make two percent of total membership of trade unions in Pakistan.

Interestingly, in 1998, total representation of women in trade unions was 1.0 percent. Pakistan’s overall score on gender equality is also not good. It stands at 115th position out of 146 countries on global level Gender Inequality Index.

ILO organised a two-day consultation session on October 10-11 under the Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE) programme, an ILO project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) where all five provincial departments of labour demonstrated their commitment to promoting gender equality, through affirmative action for women’s empowerment and decent work for all.

The consultation began with the sharing of findings from gender assessment of the current status of gender mainstreaming in Departments of Labour (DoL). It was noted that gender blind policies, procedures and practices result in inadvertent discrimination against women.

Among priority areas identified to promote gender equality are gender sensitisation training for the department of labour officials, gender responsive budgeting and gender responsive labour inspection.

“The government has already started taking positive steps to address this through recruitment quotas for women and the addition of gender analysis in the government’s monitoring and evaluation framework for projects,” says Hamayum Mazhar Sheikh, Director General, Department of Labour, Punjab.

A Gender Responsive Labour Inspection Toolkit was also launched at the event. “The government of Pakistan has ratified C81 which outlines the functions and scope of labour administration. This toolkit will help labour inspectors perform their functions in line with best practices in Gender Responsive Labour Inspection” says Farida Khan, National Project Coordinator, GE4DE.

Tahir Manzoor Hotiana, focal person Punjab labour department, who takes active part to design toolkit says there are 70 labour laws and over 100 rules. This is the first time a checklist has been developed that has references to all the relevant laws and specific articles. “All these laws are gender neutral while many are gender blind. To amend all these laws according to gender needs would be a lengthy process as it involves parliament. So, after a lot of consultation, we decided to make inspection procedures gender responsive”, he says.

He says there are areas where they have decided to concentrate more. “Like difference in wages, working hours and freedom of association etc.”

According to him, in a factory in Karachi where 90 percent of the total labour force was women the stewards of all four departments were men. “We have been conducting training workshops of officials of labour departments of all provinces. It will take some time to bring the required change”, he says.

Zahida Perveen, chairperson of Women Committee of Pakistan Welfare Federation, says GRLI would be an effective way of reaching out to women who are usually voiceless because of lack of information and representation in workers’ bodies such as trade unions.

In the absence of a formal mechanism, PWF in collaboration with the ILO, had started a training programme to develop women’s leadership capacities. “We have started lobbying for childcare, transport facilities, and committees against sexual harassment and three out of five organisations have included provision of day care facilities and mechanisms for addressing sexual harassment in their charter of demand”, she says, adding that gender responsive labour inspection can ensure more and more women’s participation in labour force.

 

   

Under one umbrella
Lack of coordination during disasters has always remained a challenge. Around 50 welfare organisations join hands to take it head on
By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed

It was during the floods of 2010 when a group of relief workers reached the badly-affected districts of Charsadda, Nowshera and Swabi. They had brought ration, medicine, clothing, tents and other relief items to be distributed among relief victims.

Soon after reaching the place, they realised several other relief workers were also on their way. Quite understandably, they were brining similar items along with them. Most of the items ultimately found their way to godowns. The stocks were enough to cater to some specific needs of the affected population many times, but there were other needs like access to medical facilities, shelters for the homeless which were yet to be met.

The relief workers would stay in those areas for a couple of days and would move on once they realise the affectees were no more visiting the relief camps. The only option they had was to hand over the custody of their stocks to the local authorities. Though it did not happen everywhere, in many cases the stocks were sold in the market by their custodians.

This experience was an eye-opener for the people mentioned in the opening paragraph. Working under the umbrella of Naim-un-Naseer Welfare Trust, they realised the need for bringing all the welfare organisations at a single platform and streamlining their disaster management and social service policies.

“It took a lot of convincing, brainstorming and interaction with the managements of a large number of welfare organisations to get them together at an All Pakistan Welfare Trusts Convention held in Lahore towards the end of 2010,” says Abrar Ahmed Khan, Chairman of Naim-un-Naseer Welfare Trust. Over 70 organisations attended the event which concluded with nine organisations agreeing to the idea and joining the initiative on the spot.

Almost two years down the road, the figure has swelled to above 50 with more willing to join in days to follow. The organisations gathered at a star-studded event at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) earlier this week at the launch of their umbrella organisations-TABA Foundation. These stars came from the real life who had dedicated their lives to the service of mankind.

The word TABA means: “Help each other in good deeds and righteousness,” says Khalid Mehmood Butt, Lead Member, Disaster Management Committee, TABA Foundation, while talking to TNS. He says it will be a forum for everyone regardless of religion, cast and creed as service of humanity is the noblest off agendas in the world.

Khalid adds it is not a fundraising forum and there would be no sharing of funds available with member organisations. The purpose is simply to create an environment where they can share their core activities and expertise only. “Similarly, there are no issues like who controls the affairs..”

Though the initiative is in its initial stage, member organisations have worked together on some projects which shows the potential that exists in this type of collaboration. For example, Kawish Welfare Organisation referred some cases of burn to TABA Foundation which forwarded them to Depilex Smile Again Foundation which excels in treating them.

Similarly, the case of a third-year student at King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Lahore, was brought to the notice of TABA Foundation which referred it to Naim-un-Naseer Trust. The student was finding it hard to continue his education due to financial constraints. The trust took the responsibility as it is in its mandate to pay for educational expenses of deserving students.

In the same way, there is a Khoon-e-Jigar Foundation, based in Peshawar, which can be accessed by any of the members in case they need blood donations on an emergency basis.

“This is exactly the purpose of getting together,” says Khalid adding, all the member organisations have submitted their data to be placed on a common website. This data will be sorted according to the strength, capacities and field of every member’s social development work and will hopefully serve as one-stop solution to the needs of deserving people,” he adds.

A major issue with welfare organisations working at the local level is that despite their meritorious services they cannot organise and get themselves recognised at the national and international levels.

Fortunately, they now have the support of Waseela Foundation,-another member organisation primarily having chartered accountants and financial experts on its board. It equips them with financial reporting skills, etc, which is essential for all organisations using and seeking donations for welfare work. The same organisation has helped TABA foundation prepare its strategic plan and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Waseela Foundation Chairman, Mustafa Ahmed Khan, is a Chartered Accountant and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in a private telecom company. He, along with LUMS faculty members, has also imparted free trainings to representatives of TABA Foundation’s member organisations. The topics have been capacity-building: concept and application in Pakistan scenario for non-profit sector and how they can get recognition as national NGOs and enjoy tax benefits.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Zafar Iqbal Qadir, who was chief guest at the ceremony, said like all other sectors there was an urgent need for public private partnerships in disaster management as well as social sector development in the country. The chairman who also heads Taleem Foundation believes the state cannot reach each and every place immediately and is always in need of support local from communities, NGOs, trusts and welfare organisations who often have prior presence at places hit by disaster.

Timely sharing of information, such as the scale of disaster, need of the affected communities, availability of required goods and services, etc, is a great service. “I am glad to see the progress of this initiative and hope its scope will expand it with every passing day,” he concludes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

revenue
A bad deal
Tax amnesty schemes have caught the attention of the critics for what(ever) they are
By Huzaima Bukhari and 
Dr. Ikramul Haq

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), in a meeting of Board-in-Council held on September 26, 2012, approved two amnesty schemes, namely, ‘Tax Registration’ and ‘Tax Amnesty Scheme’ aimed at facilitating tax evaders and plunderers of national wealth. According to Press reports, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, on October 4, 2012, directed the FBR “to fine-tune the schemes” to allow legalising of untaxed assets, both local and foreign.

On October 5, 2012, the FBR claimed that the “Prime Minister has approved in principle both the schemes and it has been decided they would be introduced after parliament’s approval.” Later, FBR submitted the proposed schemes to the finance ministry for approval to allow whitening of undeclared/untaxed assets offering the tax evaders yet another chance to get their local and foreign assets legalised by 31 December 2012.

Mehtab Haider, [‘FBR plans to tax cuts if amnesty works well’, The News, October 12, 2012] revealed that “the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will target those who do not avail of the proposed tax amnesty schemes and block their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC), freeze their bank accounts and put their names on the Exit Control List (ECL).”

Confirming the developments, the FBR’s Senior Member Inland Revenue Service (IRS), Asrar Raouf, said a new system would be introduced which was going to ensure integration of all major taxes, including direct taxes, sales tax, federal excise duty and customs duty.

Mr. Asrar Raouf is quoted to have said: “The FBR will launch its customs-related initiative for a computerised clearance system by November 2012 while the software for integrating sales tax and income tax under the IRS will be launched by March 2013”. It is encouraging that FBR has ultimately decided to integrate all taxes and used modern tools to bridge bourgeoning tax gap.

Mr. Asrar Raouf is confident that “unlike past schemes, the proposed ones will succeed because of the new systems ensuring swift action against those who do not come forward”. He disclosed that “FBR will reduce tax rates substantially, bring down the rate of sales tax from 16 percent to 10 percent and that of income tax for individual taxpayers from 20 percent to 15 percent if schemes succeed”.

The FBR has already submitted a bill related to amnesty schemes to the government, which may either present the same before the Parliament or promulgate it as Presidential Ordinance. On October 7, 2012, in a report titled ‘Amnesty schemes are a new ‘black money NRO’, Mr. Mehtab Haider wrote: “The government’s efforts to launch lucrative amnesty schemes just weeks before completion of its term has raised many questions, and some quarters even within the tax bureaucracy are describing it as a “financial NRO”.

The present Chairman of FBR, considered to be a loyal appointee of the President, soon after taking charge, enthusiastically pleaded for amnesty schemes claiming to raise Rs. 172 billion and bringing nearly 3.8 million people in the tax net. Experts say these are irrational and illogical targets as historically, all tax amnesty schemes in Pakistan have failed miserably.

The main reason is existence of a permanent tax amnesty scheme in the form of section 111(4) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 which says no question would be asked for any amount of money remitted from abroad through normal banking channels if encashed in Pakistani rupees by a scheduled bank.

Thus, any tax evader can get untaxed money whitened by just paying 1 percent to 2 percent to any money exchange dealer to get remittance arranged in his name. FBR’s spokesman, Mr. Asrar Raouf, however, contends that previous schemes had failed because of higher rates and exclusion of foreign assets but the proposed schemes cater to both and “provide an opportunity to pay a meagre amount of Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 60,000 to whiten money up to Rs 10 million”.

Mr. Asrar Raouf also claimed that since foreign countries were approving laws against absentee account holders, it would become difficult for Pakistanis to keep their billions abroad. “We are thus giving them a chance to legalise this money.” He claimed that “it is wrong to call it an amnesty scheme as it is basically a voluntary tax registration scheme aimed to broaden the tax base”. This is a strange argument which is simply shocking. FBR is admitting its failures and then trying to justify the same on lame excuses.

While the FBR is struggling hard to portray the proposed amnesty schemes as “best practices” (sic), there is widespread criticism from many quarters. The Convener of Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Dr. Hafeez A Pasha, according to a report in The News, “severely criticised the amnesty schemes saying that it could be termed as the NRO of the taxation system”.

The proposed amnesty, he said, would destroy the taxation system because it would send wrong signals to honest taxpayers. “Why should they pay when every four years such schemes are introduced to whiten black money?” he asked. In his opinion, it would result in the same consequences as in 2008 when this scheme disappointed everyone. “Such schemes are not a good policy because they discourage honest taxpayers.”

According to Mr. Adil Gilani of Transparency International Pakistan (TIP), this scheme is meant “to whiten corruption money”. Referring to the letter written by TIP to the Prime Minister, he said that they had sternly opposed amnesty schemes and proposed certain steps that could broaden the tax base as well as bring extra revenues.

According to TIP, many unscrupulous elements availed the 2008 Tax Amnesty Scheme by just paying 2 percent and today they have thriving businesses — giving them further leverage to take billions as loans from the banks, avoiding duties and taxes and then enjoying write-offs using political pressure. TIP in its letter to the Prime Minister stressed the need “to devise a mechanism to collect 19.5 percent GST/Excise Duty and 10pc withholding tax on prepaid cards for cellular phone companies, internet service providers and WLL phone services, prior to their sale in the market, which would result in additional revenue of over Rs. 250 billion”.

For justifying the forthcoming amnesty schemes, the FBR claimed that there were “about 2.3 million elite of the country that do not even have National Tax Numbers (NTNs)”. At present, there are 3.2 million NTN holders in the country of whom only 1.4 million file tax returns or statements.

What about FBR’s modern automated systems and tax reforms during the last many years? What prevented it to tax these people?  Why should national exchequer suffer by getting peanuts from these rich tax cheats due to failure of FBR? Why should they not be penalised for not availing tax amnesty scheme of 2008?

What is the rationale of absolving them from criminal proceedings under special laws related to corrupt practices and money laundering? Perpetual amnesty schemes have shattered the faith of the common man in the entire system. We need a comprehensive asset-seizure legislation providing for confiscation of all un-taxed assets, and having provisions to seek international assistance to bring back looted and/or undeclared wealth parked outside. This is what the rest of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demand for agrarian restructuring
Food-secure and decent livelihoods can be attained through land redistribution
By A Ercelan, Karamat Ali and Muhammad Ali Shah

Once too often, clad in sherwani or khakis, fawning provincial elites echo Islamabad’s proclamation: the end of mass poverty in the Indus Basin. Bunkum, rebuffs the last Household Integrated Economic Survey 2010-11 [HIES]. For almost the bottom one-third of rural Sindh population, monthly food expenditure provides less than half of an active adult’s daily requirement even if average nourishment was magically achieved by all. Another one-fourth of population consumed only an additional 600 calories or so.

Protein deficiency is no better and could be worse, even among fisherfolk. Stuck with low catch level because of overfishing led by industrial and commercial fishing, high export-led prices lead perversely to harvesters being unable to afford consumption of own catch, more nutritious than cheaper chicken. It is of no comfort that UAE, EU and ASEAN consumers are deservingly better off, resulting in larger foreign exchange reserves for the state.

The National Nutrition Survey 2011 warns that “Sindh appeared as the poorest and food deprived province: 72pc households were found to be food insecure … and 17pc were food insecure with severe hunger.” If the countrywide differential of rural-urban is present in Sindh then rural households are “more food insecure.” Tragically, “over the past 20 years there has been little change in the prevalence of malnutrition.”

It is of course regional deprivation, as witnessed in the Global Hunger Index 2012 (International Food Policy Research Institute) which places South Asia as worse than the middle among 80 countries, excepting Sri Lanka.

More or less, millions of young and old in rural Sindh suffer from undernourishment and malnutrition. Included are children placed at risk of becoming mentally deprived adults, a criminal negligence by society. It is reckless self-indulgence of a minority in a Pakistan that generated annual income per capita in excess of $1000 (Economic Survey).

Migration to decent urban employment and residence is not feasible for the existing scale of deprived rural population. Nothing but extensive agrarian restructuring embracing land, water and forests will work, enabling people to take care of themselves better. Communitarian arrangements are essential to replace a predatory state and the inherently uncaring market.

Does rural Sindh have a serious capability problem of income and prices (i.e. assets and returns) that deny affordability of nutritional standards to vast numbers? Indeed, yes. HIES reports average monthly food budget of the bottom 30pc as under Rs 1000 per capita. An additional 25pc of the population indicate incremental food expenditure of merely Rs 300 per capita.

In a cruel echo, the Labour Force Survey 2010-11 [LFS] indicates that many of our citizens go hungry because of indecently paid wage labour. Nearly one-third of male employees in rural Sindh were unable to provide more than Rs 5,000 to support a month’s family subsistence. Scandalously for an Islamic Republic,          similarly exploitative wages were the lot of over twice as many female workers.

Failure to comply with a decent minimum wage without discrimination remains a terrible blot upon Sindh society. The bottom three-fourth of rural Sindh could claim only half as much in agriculture income. Other sources of income did not improve the inequity. There is a ‘black’ economy, yes. However, one cannot but feel that the numbers of impoverished remain sizable despite incomes that escape, and enrich, official notice.

In fact, official income surveys may seriously underestimate destitution in a population made invisible by self-interested blindness.

As matters stand, land remains a crucial asset for distinguishing the hungry from the obese. Vast numbers in Sindh have no land whatsoever. Many others own too little, alongside the very few who have too much; some of the landless manage to rent land but often do so on terms that deny a decent livelihood.

That is what the Agriculture Census 2011 illustrates. For the nearly          11          million acres reported          as          private          land          in Sindh, land ownership was restricted to less than one million households, constituting less than half of all counted as agricultural households (livestock and farm).

Among the vast majority excluded, fewer than 300,000 landless households gained access as tenant farms; the vast majority of their farms were less than 5 acres. Such asymmetry in economic power is surely one reason that most   tenant          families can expect          improverishment at best, destitution at worst.

Will matters soon improve through expanding education? Yes, but not soon enough if inclusion in schooling improves at the current pace and the quality of public schooling declines more rapidly. Consider: three-fourth of tenant households          in the          Census          report primary schooling at best, with half of tenant families having no member with any formal education whatsoever.

Undeniable injustice is the fact that wage employment has not been the escape route for malnourishment in rural Sindh. HIES          also does not suggest that          self-employment          could have been a boon for many. Across the bottom          75 percent,          self employment          in          non-agriculture          contributed less than 5 percent of total income.

The Census indicates that millions are likely to suffer indignity. Oddly, the higher judiciary in Sindh remains largely absent from forceful application          of          even national law, let alone          constitution and international commitments.

With an average farm household of nearly 8 persons, landless tenants provide subsistence to well over          2          million persons          in Sindh. Among landless tenant farms of Sindh, around 80 thousand households were found indebted in the Census. Of these, the vast majority were especially vulnerable to accumulating debt being          small tenant farms of less than          7.5          acres. Reflecting an uncaring state, and market greed, almost all indebted tenants were stuck with creditors described as ‘commission agents, friends, and relatives.’

Debt-vulnerable citizens are also likely among poorly paid ‘permanent’ employees, especially those living on the employer’s land. The          Census estimates Sindh farms to have over 250,000          employees, which would imply well over 2 million persons          in their          families.

Who would deny that the above data reinforce urgent democratic demands for labour and tenancy reforms immediately, and soon thereafter for land redistribution in favour of other landless          and near-landless? A fair basis of redistribution may favour those who are currently occupied in farming but fail to achieve a decent income. If enough land can be wrested from the land-obese then near landless families could also regain their rights to a decent livelihood and, hence, to a life with dignity, for their children if not for themselves.

Our approach to required land begins with that needed to meet a nourishment standard in (daily) calories (as 3000 per adult, used by the Asian Floor Wage Campaign) via average Sindh wheat yield (of 1500 kgs per acre, reported in Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan). A simple alternative is derived from average rural Sindh consumption expenditure (of just over Rs 3000 per month per capita, documented in       HIES), enabling the nourishment standard to be met through average patterns of food and nonfood consumption. Among several reasons for crudity is locational variation in wheat yields. Until disaggregated data is officially available we must use the provincial averages.

Simple arithmetic suggests a range of at least 0.50, and upto 2 acres per adult as land needed for owner farming to achieve a minimal nutritional standard. For a beneficiary family of 4 adults and 4 children where a child needs half as much as an adult, the range would be 3 to 12 acres for this recipient family – or about a third to 1.5 acres per capita. We would like to emphasise the crucial importance of a per person entitlement to protect children as well as women.

Where would the land come from? Obviously, public land is the preferred option. One day soon, we hope, the right to information may achieve full disclosure, even of land granted to the armed forces but diverted to commercial gains.

Let us then look only at private landownership in Sindh. The Census reports less than 5 thousand ownership titles to 150 acres and more with over a million acres. Including less wealthy landowners in the 100-150 acre category adds nearly 5 thousand owners and half a million acres for redistribution targeting.

Suppose, liberally, an average of 10 persons per holding. Rather arbitrarily, let us consider 5 acres per capita as ‘justified’ to remain with such landowning families, or a total of nearly half a million acres. Hence ‘surplus’ could well be over a million acres of cultivable land. This would transform over 2 million landless persons to landowner with around 0.5 acres per capita.

Increasing land size and broadening ownership to other landless households and marginal owners is a wise objective of social justice. This would require land resumption from additional landowners. For example, the 50-100 ownership category can yield a surplus for an additional half a million persons.

More responsive and responsible economy managers would build upon the NREGA scheme in India, offering guaranteed employment at a decent wage for a minimum number of days to all men and women. By securing non-farm income, the land redistribution scheme could then benefit more of the landless with smaller land ownership entitlements.

No land redistribution can achieve its objective unless former landless          receive          state          support        in production. Failure would also result if beneficiaries used land for non-farm enterprise.          A collective arrangement in the form of          land held in a          cooperative   would          be the most effective organisation for realizing sustainability with equity. We may refer to this as satisfying the objective of food sovereignty. This goes beyond the neo-liberal goal of food availability through inequity-ridden          markets which result in exports of food as well as land grabs amidst mass hunger.

Renewal of democratic elections for local bodies will strengthen demands for local responsiveness, minimizing irrelevant distractions of provincial elites.

We see no reasons to appreciate federal and provincial policy for special economic zones and similar land grabs to aid corporate investors. Instead, we renew calls for redistribution of natural assets on the basis of fairness and justice.

Indicative numbers have been shared, not as incontrovertible policy action but primarily to suggest issues for extensive public debate on matters of fundamental rights. Many of our rural citizens do depend directly upon urban employment, but we postpone discussion of linkages with land redistribution. Foreign worker remittances could dilute or even break the link of livelihood to land, and hence make agrarian reforms less than urgent. Such income inflows are likely, however, to remain restricted to a tiny minority of small farms in rural Sindh, where currently less than 3,000 report foreign remittances in the          Census.

That our concerns are universal can be defended by the repeated emphasis laid by international analysts such as the UN(RISD) upon redressing inequality to eradicate mass poverty, rejecting those who would prolong suffering for generations. Another illustration is the Social Protection Recommendation ratified by ILO members this year, whose objectives of secure and decent livelihoods can be rapidly attained through land redistribution. Calls for food sovereignty by international activists such as in Via Campesina and Jubilee South underscore our demand for agrarian restructuring.

The writers work for Peoples Movements through PFF and PILER, and would welcome critical comments at [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

nutrition
Food for thought
World Food Day on October 16 was a reminder to Pakistan’s policymakers to lend some attention to the issue of food insecurity
By Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri

Almost half of the people in Pakistan are food insecure. This is informed by different studies conducted by various organisations using different datasets and methodologies. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and World Food Program’s report released in 2010 suggests that 48.6 percent population in Pakistan is food insecure.

Mahboob ul Haq Development Foundation’s Human Development report 2011 says that food was inaccessible for more than one third of Pakistanis. It also reveals that food consumption in terms of Kcal/day is much below other developing countries. National Nutrition Survey commissioned by UNICEF in 2011 mentions that 58 percent population in Pakistan is facing food insecurity and moderate to severe hunger. Global Hunger Index by FAO places Pakistan food insecurity level as alarming.

Let us take a pause here, and look at poverty statistics. Planning Commission, during Shaukat Aziz government, revealed that 17 percent people of Pakistan were living below the poverty line. This claim was challenged by coalition government’s finance minister Ishaq Dar in 2008, who was of the opinion that 44 percent people in Pakistan were living below poverty line.

Since then, there is no official disclosure of poverty figures in Pakistan. Last year, a report was prepared by the Planning Commission, which on the basis of Pakistan Standard for Social and Living Measurement survey (PSLM), reflected that 12 percent people in Pakistan were living below poverty line.

However, the poverty figure was so unrealistic that the government never officially released that report. Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has spent millions of rupees on poverty score card exercise. They have available data for 27 million households. Unfortunately, instead of strengthening Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and getting this data collected through it, BISP policy makers preferred to collect data through Chartered Accountant firms and National Rural Support Programme.

There is nothing wrong with these organisations, but they were never specialised in collecting data at such a huge scale. Thus, we have no analysis of mini poverty census conducted by BISP and cannot use that data to determine state of poverty in Pakistan either.

Last month, SDPI came up with its multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI), an international measure of acute poverty developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. The MPI uses 10 indicators to measure poverty in three dimensions: education, health, assets and living standards.

The study reveals that among the worst 20 districts in Pakistan with acute poverty incidence, 16 were located in the province of Balochistan and four in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The report also revealed that “Balochistan is the poorest of all provinces with 52 per cent population living below poverty line, followed by Sindh with 33 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 32 per cent and Punjab with 19 per cent”. In absolute numbers, 58.7 million people are living below the poverty line in Pakistan out of the total population of estimated 180 million.

Here it is worth mentioning that MPI study of SDPI did not use the data for SDPI’s food security analysis. However, one thing common in both the reports is state of affairs in Balochistan. According to food insecurity report, 10 districts of Balochistan are included among the 20 worst food insecure districts of Pakistan.

According to MPI, the number of Balochistan district among 20 worst poverty districts of Pakistan has gone up to 16. One can only understand immediate need for finding a political solution for permanent peace in Baloshistan if above mentioned statistics are given serious attention.

Coming back to food insecurity and poverty, we should realise that food insecurity, hunger, and poverty are three distinct phenomena but are interlinked and their cumulative effect is much worse than the effect of original problem. In my opinion, the major triggers for extremism, violence, and lawlessness in society are poverty, hunger, marginalisation, social exclusion, and class conflict.

People targeting public and private property, smashing vehicles, and burning cinemas, banks, and restaurants were not reflecting their religious sentiments. Most of them were challenging the class divide, and in their opinion were taking revenge from those who “have”. It was an opportunity for them to show their anger on the system which has created two classes, a minority that “have” and a majority that “don’t have anything”.

What matters here is the governmental and societal response to tackle these problems which are eroding the very basis of social fabric. First things first, we need to know the exact number of people who are victims of poverty and food insecurity. The government needs not to shy away from facts. It should recognise the existence of problems to come up with a strategy to resolve it. We are using projections based on 1998 Census, have not released the official poverty figure for the last five years, and claim that Pakistan produces bumper wheat crop, it exports rice and a major producer of milk so is not a food insecure country.

The above-mentioned mindset among policymakers sabotaged the  “Zero Hunger Pakistan” programme which was launched in March 2012 by the then Prime Minister. The programme could have been one of the flagship programmes of the PPP government which was designed to take care of hunger and malnutrition among children, breast feeding mothers, and expecting mothers. Despite Premier Gilani’s announcement, the ministry of finance never allocated money for this programme.

This is the mindset which does not allow our decision makers to recognise that poverty score card used by BISP as poverty estimation tool has certain flaws and can be improved. Poverty score card merely captures asset poverty. It is not catered for capturing multi-dimensional poverty that has trapped every third Pakistani today. Rs 1000 per moth given to selected households can be a temporary relief for few (if at all) but cannot address poverty until health, education, clean drinking water, and sanitation services are ensured and livelihood opportunities are created.

For this to happen, uninterrupted supply of energy at affordable prices is a must. Ad-hoc measures, like BISP, even if it is increased to rupees 10,000 per month cannot be a substitute to state’s responsibility of addressing factors which are turning every 2nd Pakistani food insecure and every 3rd Pakistani poor.

Addressing poverty and food insecurity requires a paradigm shift, a shift towards human development and individual security for which governments would have to empower people, hear their voice, and be accountable to them for pursuing the policies which have turned rich more rich, fast eliminating the middle class, and pushing the poor in abject poverty.

 

The writer is executive director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute and can be contacted at [email protected]

 

 

 

The cost of political gains
The rush to spend funds allocated in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) raises a number of questions
By Shujauddin Qureshi

As the country is heading towards elections expected by early next year, the ruling political parties have speeded up their efforts to show some ‘performance’ in order to attract voters.

On an average, the performance of economic managers of the federal government remained quite dismal as trade deficits have increased to an all time high levels and GDP growth remained low. This is in addition to below-the-target tax collection during the four years of the PPP led coalition government.

Despite poor economic performance during the last four- and-a-half year rule and the failure to provide adequate relief to the common man, the ruling political parties have tried to show their performance by inaugurating as many public sector development schemes as possible because the tenure of the present assembly is going to expire in February next year.

Although the government claims reduction in inflation rate to a single digit (8.79 percent in September 2012), it has failed to control the overall prices of consumer items.

Escalating prices of food and petroleum products, which have now hit an all-time high level, have directly affected the people eroding their purchasing power. Similarly, the overall cost of living has also multiplied during the tenure of the present government.

The ruling political parties, finding it hard to justify their economic policies, have resorted to a few development schemes in their constituencies to ensure their vote bank is intact.

Besides completing the on-going projects, the government is also expected to divert funds from other welfare schemes like Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for initiation of new development schemes aimed at earning some political mileage.

For example, the schemes to be carries out in the constituency of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, which were earlier not included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), have been approved in a short time.

To show increased budgetary allocations for pro-poor projects included in the 2012-13 annual budget, the provincial governments have also increased allocations for development projects under their respective Annual Development Plans. Allocations for members of parliament were also increased to make them able to go in their constituencies during an election campaign.

The federal government had made the commitment to provide Rs. 350 billion as its share in the total outlay of the Rs. 873 billion of PSDP for the fiscal year 2012-13. The contribution of the provincial governments was kept at even higher rate at Rs. 513 billion.

Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) was provided Rs. 10 billion for its development projects in the earthquake-hit areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The federal government through its Planning Commission on October 12 released an amount of Rs 64.7 billion from the PSDP to expedite the development schemes. During the first quarter of the current fiscal year ending on September 30th the government had already released Rs 61 billion. This makes the total released funds to Rs. 125 billion.

Some economists estimate that PSDP allocations for the fiscal year would be released during the third quarter as elections are expected to be held in March or April 2013. This urgency to spend PSDP before the elections and without any economic justification would further increase the budget deficit, which was about 8.50 percent last year.

If this trend continues the budget deficit may reach 9 percent, which would be highest in the history and disastrous for the economy, opines Dr. Shahid Hasan Siddiqui, Chairman Research Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance.

He says “the government is already borrowing heavily from the banks, mainly in the private sector, because no foreign assistance is available to fund the growing budget deficit. The government has already made provisions in the budget based on foreign assistance, which is uncertain due to political reasons.”

Currently, the government is also in negotiations with the International Monitory Fund (IMF) to seek assistance to reduce its budget deficit and it is still unclear because the political government would not be in a position to adopt tougher conditionalities of IMF at this juncture.

“The spending on public sector development schemes in this way would not benefit the public much, but it would certainly benefit contractors and politicians, who would earn commissions,” believes Dr. Siddiqui.

The government seems to be in a predicament as little room is left for more spending on public development schemes because of tight financial situation. Dr. Siddiqui fears the government would somehow divert funds from Benazir Income Support Programme to short term development project schemes.

Similar is the case with the provincial governments, which have also beefed up their efforts for spending more on their development schemes under their respective ADPs. Punjab government’s Planning and Development Department has recently released Rs 49.59 billion from its total Annual Development Programme 2012-13 worth Rs. 210 billion.

The Punjab government is facing multi-pronged political challenges from PML-Q, Tahrik-e-Insaf and the PPP. The PML-N in Punjab is facing criticism from the opposition political parties on lavish spending on schemes like the Laptop one and green Tractor.

Launched in July, the tractor scheme aims at giving farmers a one time grant of Rs200,000 on the purchase of a tractor. Under the scheme, a total of 10,000 tractors will be given this year to farmers through computerised balloting.

In the case of Sindh, the provincial government had allocated a development budget of Rs 231 billion for fiscal year 2012-13. This amount was much more than the revised estimate of Rs155.8 billion for the previous fiscal year 2011-12. ADP size for the year was at Rs 181 billion against Rs 133 billion in the last fiscal year.

Sindh is divided into rural and urban areas. Karachi, with almost half of the population of the province is consuming most of the funds and due to political pressure from the Karachi-based MQM, the government had to divert its development funding to Karachi alone.

When MQM gave a three-day ultimatum to the government to accept its demands, including local government system, the provincial government released an amount of Rs. 1 billion under the Karachi Development Package which is Rs. 4 billion for the entire year.

Sindh finds itself amid a political crisis after the introduction of Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012, which is opposed by nationalists as well as some coalition parties like Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), ANP and NPP. The Sindh government has so far released Rs. 15 billion in the first quarter for development schemes.

       

 

 

 

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