A deadly trap
The coming years are very tough for the economy as
foreign debt is expected to increase further
By Shujauddin Qureshi
has taken seriously the accumulation of foreign debt as it has formed a
committee to probe the foreign debt situation since 1985 when the first
assembly was elected after General Ziaul Haq’s martial law. There are
various factors as to why the country kept sinking into the deep waters of
foreign debt. How can it come out of it seems to be a difficult question
at the moment.
Apparently, at the
moment, with the transfer of the blocked US $ 1.1 billion from the US
under Coalition Support Fund, the government of Pakistan has heaved a sigh
of relief for now as the growing budget deficit and dwindling foreign
exchange reserves have already posed a great threat to economy and to its
political survival in the days to come. This is the government’s last
fiscal year ahead of fresh elections due in 2013.
According to the State
Bank of Pakistan statistics the country’s foreign external debt and
liabilities were US$ 45.8 billion by March 31, 2008, which have soared to
US$ 60.3 billion by March 31, 2012.
exchange reserves had hit a record high at $18.31 billion in July last
year when in June 2011 the World Bank released $191.9 million and Asian
Development Bank sanctioned a loan of $196.8 million for Pakistan but due
to abrupt suspension of IMF loan the foreign exchange reserves could not
sustain the new high levels for longer durations.
The worrisome economic
indicators with growing trade deficit, relentless energy crisis and
declining currency exchange rate have dimmed the chances of the government
to claim some successes on economic front during its five year term or
give a promise to the nation for the next term.
Pakistan’s economy has
witnessed difficult times during the tenure of PPP-led coalition
government, especially due to burgeoning energy crisis, heavy losses due
to 2010 floods, followed by stoppage of foreign aid because of the growing
tension between Pakistan and the US after attack on Salala Checkpost by
the US led NATO forces in which about two dozen Pakistani soldiers were
As a result of the
friction, the US stopped all financial support, including holding back of
all the due installments under the Coalition Support Fund, Kerry Lugar
Bill and official military assistance. The fiscal year 2011 also witnessed
difficulties after the monsoon rains and floods due to breaches in Left
Bank Outfall drain many areas of Sindh.
The cancellation of US
financial assistance for which the government had allocated provision in
the budget in anticipation of release of funds under Coalition Support
Fund and assistance under Kerry Lugar bill added to the problems. Since
the amount was held back, it disturbed all the economic targets of 2011-12
These fresh remittances
from the Bretton Woods institutions could not help much improve the
foreign exchange reserves situation as the reserves started dwindling
mainly because of the abrupt conclusion of the IMF’s Standby Arrangement
(SBA) programme in September 2011.
Pakistan failed to draw
the last two tranches of $US 3.4 billion from IMF because of
non-fulfillment of the main conditions tagged with the loans including
imposition of Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST). Most of ruling as well as
opposition political parties in the parliament had opposed the RGST, which
ultimately caused the disconnection of IMF.
Although the government
is seriously considering to again request IMF for a fresh assistance but
the fear of tougher conditionalities of IMF has barred the government from
taking a risk due to ensuing general elections.
government may be waiting for a caretaker government to take a tougher
decision,” remarked Dr. Shahid Hasan Siddiqui, a senior economist and
Chairman of Research Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance. “Pakistan
will have to intensify military action against terrorist groups otherwise
getting US assistance is almost impossible,” he added.
He said during the
initial phase of war on terror, Pakistan was in a better position to
negotiate its terms and it got more money, but as the time passed Pakistan
is no more in the bargaining position.
The relationship between
Pakistan and US had already started aggravating after May 2, 2011
Abbottabad operation in which the US mariners killed Osama Bin Laden by
intruding into Pakistani borders. The Salala incident seemed to be the
last nail in the coffin of Pak-US relations when Pakistan suspended the
facility of NATO supplies through land routes via Karachi port and
cancelled the lease of using Shamsi airbase in Balochistan.
Although the government
has reopened the NATO route, the country suffered a substantial economic
loss during the seven month impasse. Due to its weaker economic base
Pakistan has always relied on foreign assistance for its budget financing.
foreign borrowings are mainly spent on debt repayment, which has resulted
in further increase in its foreign debt liabilities. “Had the IMF Stand
by arrangement continued, the foreign debt could have been much more than
the present levels,” remarks Dr. Siddiqui.
The depreciation of
Pakistani currency has further increased the amount of foreign debt in
rupee terms. Increased level of debt has already plagued Pakistan’s
economic growth because of declining expenditure on development and
increasing spending on defence and debt services.
“Pakistan has been
trapped in a vicious cycle and it has to get loans only to repay the
loans,” says Khurram Shahzad an analyst at Investment Capital
“Over the period the
foreign debt has increased substantially as there is no productivity in
the country and rupee is depreciating. Pakistani economy has no repayment
capability,” he adds.
Pakistan is facing
difficulties to kick off its privatisation programme after its suspension
during Musharraf government. On many occasions present government had
tried to kick start it, but failed. It had tried to auction G-3 licenses
to telecom industries to generate about Rs.75 billion or $833 million, but
those auctions could not held in 2011-12.
Pakistan has to pay IMF
a total US$8 billion under the Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) facility. About
US$1.8 billion are due to be paid during 2012. Moreover, the real
challenge would be for the next year when Pakistan would have to pay
US$3.9 billion in 2013 and $2.1 billion in 2014. All these conditions have
forced the government to resort of internal and external borrowing.
Not only external debt,
Pakistan’s domestic debt has also increased manifold over the period,
especially during the last four year tenure of the PPP-led coalition
government. The domestic debt as well as external debt liabilities have
almost doubled during this year. Domestic debt has increased from Rs 3226
billion in 2008 to Rs 6223 billion in 2011-12 and external debt from Rs
2778 billion to Rs 4773 billion.
Pakistani economy mostly
depends on foreign assistance to bridge the budget deficit. The narrow tax
base coupled with increased expenditure on maintenance of internal
security have posed challenges to the economy
challenge is to contain growing trade deficit which is currently as high
as US$ 21 billion,” says Dr. Shahid Hasan Siddiqui, a senior economist.
He said last year the trade deficit was US$ 15 billion and it is
Similarly, the foreign
direct investment (FDI) are also minimal at only US$ 1 billion. Dr.
Siddiqui said that the repatriation of the profit from the FDI is much
more than the FDI coming in Pakistan, which is a challenging situation.
Dr. Siddiqui expected
that Pakistan may seek deferment of repayment from IMF because of its
economic situation. “It would also depend on the relationship between
Pakistan and USA that how much Pakistan receives in foreign exchange,”
he says, adding, “although Pakistani economy suffered a lot because of
General Pervez Musharraf’s privatization programme, the country received
US$ 7 billion because of privatization especially because of two major
utilities PTCL and Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC). We are now
paying the prices of those privatization,” he said.
The coming years are
very tough for Pakistani economy as the foreign debt is expected to
Pakhtunkhwa government has undertaken several development initiatives in
Swat and Malakand division (MD) with the support from local and foreign
The Chief Planning
Officer (CPO) of P&D KP, Usman Gul, said hundreds of projects worth
around Rs145bn are being pursued there. “213 projects in line with the
Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) Strategy worth Rs114bn are being
planned with allocation of Rs11.4bn this year’s ADP for the purpose.
Similarly, 5 mega
projects under Swat development package worth Rs1bn, funded by the federal
government, have been completed in Swat. As far as normal ADP channel
funded by KP is concerned, 111 projects worth Rs30bn are being planned in
Malakand division of which Rs4.5bn are to be spent this FY. 44 projects of
these are due for completion shortly,” said the official.
“There are two
donors’ assisted projects underway in Malakand under the ADP: One is the
UNDP-assisted for strengthening rule of law in Malakand worth Rs13.38bn
with an allocation of 335mn for this year.
The other relates to the
construction of three police stations and one police line in Swat (NAS
Assisted) costing Rs622mn with an allocation of Rs203mn for this year,”
minority affairs, drinking water and sanitation, elementary and secondary
education, energy and power, food, forestry, Industries, law and justice,
mines and minerals, population welfare, regional development, roads,
sports, tourism, archaeology, etc are major focus of all these
projects,” he informs.
“Energy and power
sector is one of the top priority sectors, therefore, 55 per cent of the
ADP alone in energy and power sector is being managed through our
indigenous resources,” he said.
According to Gul, there
is no foreign aided hydro power project (HPP) in Malakand but as most of
the hydro power potential was located there, the government was spending
50 percent of the funds there. “13 out of 15 ongoing projects and
Rs600mn of Rs1.137bn total allocated for the sector this year are for
Malakand division. And off the total cost of Rs23bn of these schemes,
Rs16bn have been allocated for the area,” he added.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief
Minister, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, recently inaugurated the Matiltan and
Daral Khwar (Bahrain) hydro power projects. Both projects would earn
billions for the province besides considerably mitigating loadshedding.
The residents of
Matiltan and Kalam would receive Rs260mn from the Matiltan HPP and 250
persons from the area would get jobs. Similarly, the Daral Khwar HPP would
generate Rs100 million as royalty for the residents.
The Chief Planning
Officer agreed that KP and Swat has great hydropower potential which
should be utilised but said that the government had to see institutional
capacity of the implementing agencies before assigning any project to
The CPO identified sites
identification, acquisition of land, funding issue and security
constraints as the main problems in implementation of projects and meeting
The army has been in the
forefront in development work in the area. Colonel Arif, In-charge of the
Inter Services Public Relations in Swat, said the army also sought help
from the NGOs and sensitised and requested the international donors for
assistance to rebuild the area. “By activating all these channels, we
have been able to restore 100 per cent all the 1625 schools that were
partially or totally destroyed by floods or militancy.
The army engineers
ensured that the Kalam-Bahrain road remained open for traffic for the
first time round the year. So far, the reconstruction of road and bridges
has been done on self-help basis by the army and no government funds have
been used for them,” he said.
“We had also worked
with the local and international NGOs to revive the agriculture and to
rebuild the devastated trout fish hatcheries,” he added. According to
another official, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), a subsidiary of
the Pakistan army, has been given around $70mn for water sanitation,
construction of schools and road infrastructure development etc by donors.
For the total post
floods reconstruction estimates of $1.1bn, work plans for Rs34bn have been
prepared but only Rs18bn have been committed by last year. For the total
post militancy reconstruction needs of $0.86bn, only $0.4bn have been
committed by the same period.
The European Union (EU)
has been working through a multi-donor trust fund in various fields, which
has set aside $114mn for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Malakand.
EU was spending 300 million Euros on the reconstruction of schools and
other development projects in Swat and Malakand. The USAID has provided
$25mn for reconstructing about 110 militancy-destroyed schools in MD.
KP also hopes to receive
$200 million for reconstruction activities from the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Fund
for Development which would be utilised for construction of Swat
Expressway, university in Swat, besides reconstructing damaged schools and
colleges. Negotiations are also underway with the Korean government for
the Malakand tunnel project of $78 million.
Many areas still have no
bridges and chairlifts are the only means of communications across the
noisy Swat River. On the way to Kalam, one can see that several micro
power stations and the biggest Madyan grid station have been swept away by
floods. As none of the hydro power stations and the Madyan grid station
has been rebuilt, the entire Swat is provided power by the Khwazakhela
grid-station which is beyond its capacity.
“There is no
electricity. The only exchange in Kalam is closed since last two years.
The health units, schools and other entities have no facilities. Swat
airport is still not open for flights,” said Zahid Khan, a local hotel
Humayun Khan from
Bahrain lost his house and agriculture lands worth millions of rupees in
the flash floods of 2010. “Several NGOs helped reconstruct the houses of
the affected people. But as I lost my land too, my house wasn’t built by
any NGO,” he says. Humayun still lives in a tent with his family which
interestingly has solar-lamps and a solar-cooker provided by an NGO.
The army is reported to
have helped women and girls to learn skills such as knitting, sewing,
machine embroidery, etc, by establishing training centres which were later
handed over to the Sarhad Rural Support Programme. Over 800 girls and
women had completed training and were now running their own businesses.
depends on several other factors and not restoration of peace alone.
Sluggish economic recovery, perpetuation of faulty governance and failure
to reach out to the distant areas and the poor most and lack of a speedy
judicial system in Malakand could undo military gains.
According to the World
Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, the Taliban
gained support in Swat valley by building their case on local grievances,
weaknesses in administration and justice system. Unless the region has a
sound and speedy justice system, the problem would not be solved.
In the attempt
to abduct Osama Bin Laden from his house on May 2, 2011, at Abbottabad,
one of the American helicopters crashed in his house from where its tail
was later on found. America forced Pakistan to hand over even the broken
tail of the damaged helicopter and it was taken back to the US. According
to some reports, the American intelligence agencies feared that Pakistan
may not hand over the same to China for further research made by the US of
was the level of trust between the two allies who were partners in
conflict against terrorism in which thousands of people lost their lives.
It was considered that
the Chinese were not in possession of stealth technology which is
currently being used by the US. They never made any such request to
Pakistan. However, American satellites remained monitoring the movement in
and around Abbottabad.
Now again Pak-US
relations are being revived in an atmosphere of mutual distrust. Americans
have declared the Haqqani network as a terrorist organisation. This group
is fighting against the Americans within Afghanistan borders but has
peaceful relations with Pakistan authorities. The US considers that after
its exit in 2014, Afghanistan can look after its affairs well and retain
its sovereignty only if there is no interference from Pakistan. The
Pakistan authorities are not prepared to open another front within the
tribal areas where they have thousands of their soldiers and millions of
civilians and still the area is not returning to normalcy.
Barack Obama is
suffering from low popularity for the upcoming elections which are to be
announced within 100 days. It is a big threat, hence a mistrust in which
all kinds of allegations against Pakistan are being levied and even
monetary grants announced under Kerry-Luger Bill have been withheld. Dr
Shakeel Afridi’s issue is a clear example of it. It is generally argued
that in case Pakistan is disintegrated, Pakistan’s nuclear programme can
fall into unsafe hands.
In such atmosphere, an
article was published in the Washington Post of July 7, 2011, alleging
“Pakistan nuclear bomb maker says North Korea paid bribes for knowhow”
which was written by one R. Jeffrey Smith based in Islamabad.
His article appeared when Pakistan was under extreme internal
turmoil. Karachi was under worst conditions of target killing. Quetta’s
law and order was absolutely beyond control. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab
were all under constant bomb blasts.
In this article, it was
alleged that North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to
obtain access in sensitive nuclear technology in the late 1990s.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan made the documents available to North Korea
that transferred more than million dollars to him. Khan also released a
copy of a North Korean official’s letter written in 1998. It confirmed
US allegations about the shipment of centrifuges and sophisticated
drawings. This letter was allegedly written by North Korean Worker’s
Party Secretary Jon Byong Ho. The other Pakistani Military officials, also
like Gen. Jehangir Karamat and Lt. Gen. Zulfiqar Khan, received such a low
amount that it looked ridiculous for assistance of such a mega project.
The amount allegedly received came to around 3 crore of Pakistani rupees
in those days. Both the gentlemen have denied it as a fabrication. It is
not on any official letterhead and bears no seal. The Washington Post
claimed to have received it from Dr. Khan through a British journalist
It is also mentioned
that the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf accused Khan of
profiting directly from nuclear-related commerce.
Some of his private bank accounts in Dubai and United Arab Emirate
were also disclosed with millions of dollars in it.
His standard of living was also highlighted irrespective of the
fact that Musharraf arranged a $50,000 in lump sum in 2007 at his
retirement and a pension of roughly $2,500 per month was sanctioned.
Generally, it was
regarded that Pakistan was aware of the presence of Osama Bin Laden and
there was a tacit approval. Pervez Musharraf had all along denied it but
has recently come out with an explanation that it can be a human error. An
American writer Peter Bergen in his recent book titled “Man Hunt” gave
a complete account of what was going inside the US administration
especially President Obama who was firm that Bin Laden must be captured
inspite of major risks involved in the operation.
It is interesting to
note that one of Bin Laden’s wives travelled to Abbottabad to join her
husband after her release from Iranian detention in 2010 (refer page 108,
the Herald July 2012).
Anyhow, all these
fabricated stories of kickbacks appeared when the US, on July 29, 2011,
ended its nuclear arms talk with North Korea. The talks were held in the
United States’ mission to United Nations in New York. Neither gave any
indication of a breakthrough. It may be recalled that North Korea staged
atomic weapons tests in 2006 and 2009 when it is said that North Korea
agreed to scrap its atomic weapons programme in return for economic aid
and better relations on the assurances from US, China, South Korea, Japan
and Russia. But North Korea pulled out of the talks in late 2008 and
exploded its second nuclear blast in 2009.
It was also in December 2009 that the US special representative
went to Pyongyang as President Obama was keen to bring North Korea back to
US Secretary of State,
Hillary Clinton, invited North Korea to talks when she was in Indonesia.
They wanted to have business like talks. The Washington Post writer failed
to explain that if North Korea had exploded successfully its first blast
in 2006 so why should it give money to Pakistan’s military general in
2007. Was it a balance in
which North Koreans Worker’s Party Secretary General, a powerful
official was keeping a business account. The US put pressure on both
Pakistan and North Korea for different objectives. North Korea is a
potential power capable to eliminate South Korea and Japan. Similarly, she
wants to vacate Afghanistan but wants its ally Pakistan to play it role
which is under pressure due to large number of militants present in North
and South Waziristan estimated to be almost 42 thousand which, according
to Adm. Mike Mullen, is a safe haven for them and if Pakistan’s military
does not fulfill their desire, they will continue to blame it for
corruption and underhand deals.
They want their ally to
do more under their directions. The military assistance has been stopped
and economic aid is also being delayed. The pressure will continue till
The writer is a former
federal law minister
Some parts of
the country are frequently inundated by floods, which inflict heavy losses
as did the devastating floods in 2010 and 2011. However, if we make a
comparative study about flood management in Pakistan and elsewhere, we
find that before the advent of monsoons, Pakistani leaders make statements
assuring the nation about preparations to control the likely damages by
However, when hit by
floods, the response of our planners never goes beyond ad-hoc measures in
the shape of relief and rehabilitation. Given the situation, one should
not be surprised if the people have to brave floods intermittently since
the country’s Independence in 1947.
Against this, let us see
how the French managed floods when their capital city — Paris —
witnessed the worst floods in the country’s history on 21st January,
Due to unprecedented
heavy rains, the river Seine inundated over 1200 acres of land, affecting
200,000 people, damaging 20,000 buildings and inflicting losses estimated
at 400 million Francs (approximately US$ 1.5 billion).
But, this was the last
flood to inflict damages and losses in France. Thereafter, France has been
hit by floods dozens of times but the flood water has never spilled over
banks of the river Seine. Why? The French authorities have changed the
course of the river by many times. Now, it meanders through a number of
cities and towns before falling into the sea.
Earlier, the entire
course of the Seine was 150 kilometres, but the French have extended it to
over one thousand kilometre with the result that when hit by floods the
water gushes forward and its ferocity decreases gradually after traversing
a few hundred kilometres.
While increasing the
river course, the French also built lakes in cities and towns through
which the river meandered. While reducing ferocity of flood waters, these
lakes have become big tourist attractions.
The French also banned
transportation of heavy goods and machinery by road, making it mandatory
that these should be ferried by ships. The step not only considerably
lessened pressure on roads it has also rid the cities of environmental
Now, let us have a look
at the menace of terrorism. On 11th
September, 2001, terrorists hit the twin towers with two aircrafts
and dropped their third plane over the Pentagon building in Washington.
This was the worst incident in the American history.
Following this incident,
the Americans motivated the global community to join the US in an
anti-terror war. In brief, the Americans took precautionary and safety
steps that ensured that an incident of this nature never took place in
In London, 52 people
lost their lives and 700 were injured in bomb blasts on 7th July, 2005.
However, due to the precautionary and security steps taken by the British,
no act of terror has taken place in England after that. Earlier, on 11th
March, 2004, bomb blasts on four railway trains took the lives of 191
people and injured 1800 in Madrid (Spain). After that incident, the
Spaniards have ensured that an incident of that nature did not take place
Against this what is the
situation in Pakistan? How are we facing terrorism, Balochistan issue,
energy shortfall, etc? We have not been able to wipe out terrorism despite
making tremendous sacrifices in men and material, erecting barricades in
major cities, deploying 150,000 troops along Pak-Afghan border and
maintaining 1,000 security posts along the porous Durand Line.
according to the apex court, there was absolute constitutional breakdown
and the government’s writ was completely missing. Even on this crucial
issue, it seems, we have been high on rhetoric and low in delivering.
Former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani promised to make Balochistan
a ‘priority issue.’ His successor seems to be echoing the same
promises and has formed yet another committee on the law and order
cosmetic moves have not delivered in the past. Any hope of their
delivering in the future is also bleak. If the status quo persists, so
will violence and all else that ails the province. As things stand,
Pakistan can ignore Balochistan now only at its own peril.
The energy issue has
impacted the economy in a big way. It has not only affected the industrial
production, Pakistan has also suffered a colossal loss of US$ 18 billion
in investments in the last three years, according to the Board of
With electric wires out
of current for as long as 16-18 hours a day and water taps going dry, the
sizzling heat in many cities and towns is forcing people to hold violent
protest demonstrations. Power theft, non-payment of dues and amazingly
high line losses are some of the major reasons for the circular debt and
ever-worsening power crisis. Years have passed, but we have not been able
to resolve this issue.
Why do issues remain
unresolved in this country? What are the causes for constant deterioration
and degeneration all-around? The answer is simple. We do not ponder and
deliberate upon issues in a bid to find out how these would impact our
lives in future, and then endeavour to seek logical and rational solutions
to those problems.
In the West, events
likely to have a bearing on the future are scientifically analysed and
rational forecasts are made about the likely scenarios or possibilities in
the given circumstances.
As a discipline, having
a bearing on all walks of life and areas of human activity, Futuristic has
emerged as a vital, integral and essential ingredient of planning,
particularly in countries having more developed economies. There we find a
stream of trained, intelligent and committed people providing guidance and
advice to the State and other organisations about the likely shape that
events can assume in various situations. In other words, these specialists
analyse each and every aspect of a future event and then provide guidance
to their organizations.
However, our progress,
rather the very survival in the 21st
century, depends upon reviving the futuristic foresight principle
and visioning quality.
The writer is a
freelance columnist based in Islamabad.
industry constitutes a key factor of growth in any economy. The role and
significance of this industry assumes even greater dimensions in the event
of a national disaster, war, catastrophe or national natural calamity.
pharmaceutical industry has also come of age. Far from being a fledgling
industry dependent on raw material and input from abroad, the domestic
pharmaceutical industry has grown by leaps and bounds during the last
couple of decades.
As of today, the
industry contributes nearly US $ 2 billion to the economy and generates
livelihood for an estimated 4 million homes. Not only that, almost 90 per
cent of the domestic requirement of medicines is being met by this
It has recently been
credited by the Planning Commission of Pakistan with being the third
largest national industry and it is still growing at a robust pace,
recording an impressive 28 per cent growth rate last year.
In Pakistan, over 500
pharmaceutical units and factories are manufacturing a vast range of
medicines and 70 per cent of these units are fully owned by Pakistani
companies with only 30 per cent held by foreign multinationals. Last year,
the overall volume of export of Pakistani medicines stood at US $ 180
million which was likely to grow to US $ 200 million in the current year.
While the industry in
Pakistan has made giant strides over the years, some recent developments
led by inter-state trade agreements have also impacted upon the overall
health of the industry, spawning consequences which could have
far-reaching effects on the industry in the long run. Among them, the
government’s decision to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to
India has thrown up various challenges, some of them difficult to
surmount, for the industry.
While one appreciates
the growth in the two-way trade between Pakistan and India as a result of
the MFN status conferred on India which finds it quite easy now to explore
the vast Pakistani market to promote its products, one industry that
stands to lose massively in the wake of the Indian products gaining more
ground in Pakistan, is the pharmaceutical industry which faces clouds of
uncertainty and threat less for an expectedly increasing competition with
the Indian medicines and more for the cheap and substandard Indian
medicines that may find favours with the general Pakistani.
Estimates by the World
Health Organisation (WHO) reveal that of all the spurious drugs produced
over the world, 60 per cent of them are produced alone in India which is
known in the healthcare industry for its preparation of three types of
drugs which cater in the first category to the markets of advanced
countries, then to the markets of the developing countries and finally to
the domestic markets.
In Pakistan, the quality
control is ensured by a central authority directly under the
administrative purview of the federal government which makes it possible
to retain a high degree of quality and control in the preparation of drugs
produced in Pakistan.
There is also a false
notion that has gained currency regarding the Indian medicines being cheap
as compared to the Pakistani drugs. The difference in price or tariff is
not contributed by the inputs or ingredients but by the cheap and
uninterrupted electricity and cheap and better-equipped workforce
available to the Indian companies.
If these problems are
tackled and addressed in Pakistan, there is every reason to believe that
the cost of Pakistani medicines would also come down, making them more
affordable for the masses.
Under the circumstances,
if the government indeed allows the import of Indian drugs into Pakistan,
then it should be made sure that only those drugs properly certified by
the FDA, European Union and the World Health Organisation are preferred
and allowed into the Pakistani market.
Besides the competition
posed by the Indian drugs, the national pharmaceutical industry is also
paying a heavy price for an inactive drug regularity authority that was
supposed to come into force and get operational soon after the transfer of
the health ministry to the provinces following the promulgation of the
18th Amendment to the Constitution.
However, the non-operationalisation
of the drug regulatory authority means that investment worth billions of
rupees would remain stuck for the unf0oreseeable future, resulting in a
retarded growth and lost revenue in duties and taxes.
As the situation stands,
there are over 90 units and factories where the work is yet to start
because of lack of mandatory inspection to be carried out by the relevant
government ministry. A lack of administrative framework has also resulted
in an increasing backlog of company licences waiting to be renewed by the
Yet another problem that
hinders the growth of the industry is the government ban slapped on the
renewal of quota for the import of ingredients used in the production of
psychotropic medicines which are already in short supply in the local
market, creating problems for the patients suffering from psychiatric
problems but dependent on these drugs for their treatment.
It is important that the
government review this ban in force for the last four months to allow the
companies to purchase the inputs and ingredients used in such drugs. In
case, there are individuals or companies that have misused this quota and
benefited massively through the unchecked import of banned drug inputs,
they should be rounded up and brought to the book to set an example for
development among rural women helps enhance their personal capabilities
and increase decision-making status in the family and society as a whole.
Women produce 75 to 90
percent of food crops in the world; they are responsible for the running
of households. According to the United Nations, in no country in the world
do men come anywhere close to women in the amount of time spent in
Furthermore, despite the
efforts of feminist movements, women in the core (wealthiest, Western
countries) still suffer disproportionately, leading to what sociologists
refer to as the “feminization of poverty,” where two out of every
three poor adults are women. The informal slogan of the Decade of Women
became “Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10 percent of
the world’s income and own 1 percent of the means of production.”
The status of women in
religion is one of the crucial topics and dominant themes in modern era,
which theologians have been studying. Our religion regards men and women
as being of the same essence created from a single soul.
Our religion considers
both men and women equally human and grants them equal rights, though
their tasks and functions may sometimes differ. A woman has no obligation
to prepare food and drink, wash and clean for her husband or his family.
Of course, husbands and wives who form a family should share and care to
maintain family life with mutual understanding.
Women comprise half of
human resource. They have been identified as key agents of sustainable
development and women’s equality is as central to a more holistic
approach towards stabilizing new patterns and process of development that
The contribution of
women and their role in the family as well as in the economic development
and social transformation are pivotal. Women constitute 90 per cent of
total marginal workers of the country. Rural women who are engaged in
agriculture form 78 per cent of all women in regular work.
development is one of the factors that have changed the entire scenario of
social and cultural environment within the country especially for the
The rural women are
engaged in small-scale entrepreneurship programme with the help of self
help groups. Through that they were economically empowered and attaining
status in family and community.
Rural women play a vital
role in farm and home system. She contributes substantially in the
physical aspect of farming, livestock management, post harvest and allied
Her direct and indirect
contribution at the farm and home along with livestock management
operation has not only help to save their assets but also led to increase
the family income. She performs various farm, livestock, post harvest and
allied activities and possesses skills and indigenous knowledge in these
particularly rural women is a challenge. Micro enterprises in rural area
can help meet these challenges. Micro – enterprises not only enhance
national productivity, generate employment but also help develop economic
independence, personal and social capabilities among rural women.
Following are some of the personal and social capabilities, which were
developed as a result of taking up enterprise among rural women.
Economic empowerment of
women by micro entrepreneurship led to the empowerment of women in many
things such as socio-economic opportunity, property rights, political
representation, social equality, family development, and market
UN Women is partnering
with the UN Global Compact to promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles
which offer a seven-step blueprint to empower women in the workplace and
the community. This initiative is bringing to business the strong case of
how much women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses contribute to the
economy — reinforcing the realisation among leading firms that
empowering women is essential to their growth, competitiveness and
One particular concern
is the unequal distribution between women and men of paid and unpaid work.
Recognizing this the MDG Summit outcome committed to investing in
infrastructure and labour-saving technologies, especially in rural areas,
reducing women’s burden of domestic activities, enabling girls to attend
school and women to pursue paid work opportunities.
Currently, 2.7 billion
people rely on open fires and traditional cooking stoves to provide food
and earn a living. Some of you here have already partnered with the Global
Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to create a thriving global market for clean
and efficient household cooking solutions. The Alliance’s 100 by ’20
goal calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient cooking
stoves and fuels by 2020.
Finally, while women
have an increasing presence in public life, they remain significantly
underrepresented in decision-making position, particularly in economic
decision-making. It is widely recognized that women bring critical
perspectives and priorities, and a diversity of skills and competencies,
which makes policy and budgetary decision-making more responsive to the
needs and priorities of all groups. Together we can ways to significantly
increase women’s leadership and participation in economic
decision-making bodies at the highest levels.
UN Women stands ready to
carry forward your recommendations to accelerate women’s economic
empowerment, and to transform the words on paper into bold action to make
gender equality a shared and living reality.
No scholar can condone
women being forced to remove themselves from public life altogether,
anymore than we can condone violence against women, the denial of
women’s right to work and own property, or the refusal to allow women a
voice in government.
The writer is
Communication Officer, Women’s Empowerment Group
The modern state
has a peculiar way of dealing with its peripheral subjects. Marginalized
peoples and communities are not a concern when the State, in collaboration
with military establishment and the IFIs focuses on strategic interests
and economic growth. The attempts of profiting from control over natural
forces, particularly over water through the construction of dams and
canals, excludes local peoples from economic gains and often leaves them
more vulnerable to natural hazards.
The case of the Mirani
Dam disaster of 2007 illustrates this phenomenon. Construction on the
Mirani Dam started in 2002 and was completed in 2007 with a cost of almost
6 billion rupees — commissioned by Wapda, designed by Nespak,
constructed by a consortium led by Descon Engineering. This mega project
aims to provide agricultural irrigation and water supply for the
strategically important Gawadar port.
In 2007, Cyclon Yemyin
hit the Makran coast. The artificial meddling with natural forces
exaggerated the damage. We observed unprecedented levels of flash floods
caused due to the backflows from the Mirani dam. The designers and
engineers had anticipated maximum flooding of 244 feet Above Mean Sea
Level (AMSL). But as the dam blocked natural drainage pathways, water
reached 271.4 feet AMSL.
The government took
three years to revise its ‘technical’ data and agreed in principle to
compensate people for damages to houses and date trees up to 264 feet AMSL.
Less than half of that money has been released so far. Furthermore, those
living between 265 and 271.4 feet AMSL are yet to be included.
The oppression of the
power structures has been met with local resistance. For the last five
years, the people from Nasirabad and Nodez of Kech district have been
waging a peaceful battle. In March 2012, they set up a hunger-strike camp
in front of the Wapda office in Lahore. This prompted Wapda and the
Planning Commission to send an investigation team to the affected region.
Following is a partial
account of the three day visit of the team told by Sharif Shambazi, an
activist from district Kech, southern Balochistan. “We landed at the
Turbat Airport on the morning of June 18, 2012 and by 9.30am our group had
joined the large number of affectees from Nasirabad and Nodiz who had
gathered outside the office of District Commissioner (DC) Kech. After a
discussion amongst ourselves that lasted one and half hour, we decided
that we had to give a detailed account of our struggle of five years to
the new DC and the members of the Planning Commission (PC). This will give
them an idea of our extreme and harsh living conditions.
The DC met us at 11.30am
and agreed to cooperate with us. We had a very brief introductory meeting
with the PC team, who also promised to resolve our issue. We then asked
the DC to schedule another more detailed meeting with the PC team. The DC
told us to meet him at his residence that evening, but when we went to his
place later he was not there.
In the morning meeting,
we had informed the DC that several destroyed houses and trees were not
recorded [in the 2010 survey conducted by the district officials]. The DC
formed an inspection committee headed by the tehsildar, who asked us to
join the team as mediators in case there were any confrontations with the
locals when the team would visit the affected areas. We refused to become
official members of the committee but agreed to help in case there were
Sharif and his colleague
Wahid Baksh visited the PC team at the rest house that same evening. After
hearing the details, the PC officials agreed that the survey lists were
incorrect. These so-called experts also displayed their ignorance
regarding the damaging effects of the backflow flood. The local activists
gave them simple and convincing arguments.
Commission official asked how it was possible that the floods that lasted
only two to three days could destroy all these houses and date trees. He
also asked about the date trees that were left standing. I [Sharif] said
that two days were enough. A backflow lasting only a couple of hours was
enough to destroy kaccha houses and three to four hours were sufficient to
destroy even pakka houses. Historically, water supply to the date gardens
was based on underground water tunnel system (karezat) — these were
completely destroyed. Some trees might still be standing but these were
not fertile. Only very few trees bore fruits, but the owners of these
trees are wealthy and are spending hundreds of thousands of rupees on
On the second day, the
activists accompanied the tehsildar’s team to visit the affected areas.
Several people came forward to register their complaints. Sharif and his
colleagues demanded transparency in conducting the survey and said that
the original survey was unacceptable. On their return to Turbat city,
these activists once again met a member of the PC team to give him further
documentary proof. The official pledged his full support, promised to
submit a favorable report within a week. He also attempted to co-opt these
activists by telling them to focus on the compensation and not on other
broader ecological, economic, and social problems due to the construction
of big dams.
“The Commission member
has now fully understood our situation, gave us assurances, and accepted
that mistakes were made by the rulers and bureaucrats. He acknowledged
that before this day he had been unaware of the devastation caused by
Addressing me [Sharif]
specifically, he said that I should not oppose dams in general, because I
give the impression that I am against big dams. He said that a lot of
money had been spent on the construction of this dam ‘Benefit from it.
Live in harmony. We are all Muslims and if one Muslim is hurt this is felt
by all Muslims.’
The Commission members
have asked for a week’s time. They have given us a lot of assurances. We
don’t know about their true intentions – only Allah knows how sincere
On the next day, June
20, 2012, the activists were informed that the DC had gone to visit the
affected areas with the Planning commission team. However, the team did
not even leave their vehicles during this inspection due to security
concerns. Sharif and his colleagues called people from the affected areas
and asked them to come to Turbat city, so that they could give their
personal accounts to the investigating team.
“By 1pm about seventy
to eighty people from the affected areas had reached Turbat. We were
already present outside the DC’s office. When the team had returned,
these affectees sat in an open session (khuli kachehri) with the DC and
the Planning Commission team.
The discussion went on
for an hour. People asked the DC and the PC team now that they had visited
the affected areas themselves, don’t they think that this was continuing
injustice to the people. The officials apologized and accepted that they had
made a grave mistake. The scale of the disaster was huge.
They will try their best [to remedy the situation] and also
informed us about a development package that was being prepared.
We thanked the DC Kech
and the Planning Commission team for working resolutely for three days.”
This narrative ends at a
positive note. Sadly, one month has passed and no progress has been made.
No report has been released. No compensation has been given. The people
continue to suffer.
The story also
demonstrates how the state officials ‘see’ these mega projects and the
marginal people. At an inter-personal level the officials show sympathy
and give assurances. The wretched condition of the people is evident;
their explanations of the causes and extend of damage are sound. But
unless these grievances are presented in a language that the state
understands, the language of ‘X feet AMSL’ and ‘Y number of
affectees’, there is no hope for the people. This isn’t the first time
an investigation team has visited and has recognized the right of these
peoples in principle.
In a province that has
seen a lot of violence in recent years this peaceful struggle of the
Mirani Dam affectees is worth supporting. The delaying tactics by the
state officials, Wapda, Planning Commission, local and provincial
government, all seem to be pushing the affectees in to a corner.
In a more recent
conversation, Sharif says with a hint of despair, “We are working
peacefully for the past four years. We haven’t done anything illegal and
haven’t damaged even a single leaf. We want to continue on this path of non-violence. But dealing
with Wapda and other official is frustrating—they are torturing us over
and over again. It is difficult to convince the frustrated people to stick
to non-violent means when Wapda and PC keep ignoring us, but we try.”
Sharif Shambazi is an
activist from Kech, Balochistan. He has been active on the issue of Mirani
Dam affectees since 2007 ([email protected]). Ahsan Kamal
teaches at Quaid-i-Azam University and is part of an activist-researcher
collective ([email protected]).
increasingly volatile US-Pakistan relationship, a recent policy discussion
hosted by the Asia Society to launch its report, Stabilizing Pakistan
Through Police Reform in New York City and Washington DC is an attempt to
ground the conversation back in the realities and challenges of
counter-terrorism in Pakistan.
The report compiling the
findings of independent commission composed of twenty policy experts on
Pakistani policy is said to be the first of its kind as a definitive study
into Pakistan’s policing policy. Most notably, this report includes
insights and recommendations from several high-ranking Pakistani police
officers whose concerns on the matter of police reforms have yet to be
voiced to an international audience of policymakers.
The panel at the event
included the report’s editor and project director, Hassan Abbas, a
former a policy advisor at US Department of Homeland Security, Arif
Alikhan, and Pakistani senator and noted barrister at law, Aitzaz Ahsan.
The discussion revolved around the institutional importance of the police
reforms in strengthening democracy by maintaining the rule of law in
“The military should
step aside and local security should be handled by police institutions,”
said Abbas, arguing that the long upheld notion of terrorism as a strictly
military issue needs to be jettisoned while giving more importance to the
role of the police in localized law enforcement strategy.
While pointing out the
discrepancy of foreign aid funds between the military and policing
institutions, Abbas added that “the money that came in for
counter-terrorism was important for fighting terrorists in the tribal
areas but no investment has been made in local law enforcement
infrastructure.” Abbas also outlined significant challenges faced by the
police such as major loopholes in the criminal justice system allowing
terrorists to go scot-free and the lack of any functioning witness
protection system in the country.
between US and Pakistan on policing was stressed, especially in the area
of training personnel. Abbas said that there was only one Pakistani police
officer currently enrolled at the FBI’s training academy. He also said
he tried to contact the New York Police Department to inquire about
coordination with Pakistani police but they never returned his calls.
Drawing on lessons from
US experience of instituting police reforms over the past few decades,
Arif Alikhan who has worked closely with Homeland Security and the Los
Angeles Police Department noted that the US policing model has gone
through different phases of its own. Before the 1960s police departments
in US cities were significantly meshed in with the communities, after a
change in policing methodology they became much more distanced from the
localities they policed which had adverse effects on the relationship of
the police with various minority communities.
Presently, Alikhan said,
the US police departments were trying to follow a middle ground strategy
forming a balance between local knowledge and professionalism. Alikhan
agreed that “the legitimacy of the police is the keystone to the
legitimacy of any country,” while noting that the police acts as the
public face of the state apparatus because it comes in daily contact with
Adding to the insights
of the two US based analysts, Aitzaz Ahsan provided some background to why
the issue of police reform had been a significant stumbling block for
policymakers in the past. Ahsan outlined three aspects of this problem as
social, structural and technological. He described the current policing
culture in Pakistan was plagued by a particular type of mentality. “The
best police officer in Pakistan is a friend of friends who will twist the
rules to help his friends” said Ahsan while elaborating that the primary
source of power for an average high ranking police official is the ability
to abuse that power.
To change this
mentality, Ahsan suggested, needed more than a simple redrafting of laws
akin to the Police Order of 2002 and was more a question of social values.
Within the structural aspects, Ahsan highlighted that the political will
to change policing techniques in Pakistan had been absent due to
longstanding historical reasons such as the development of the state
structure in Pakistani territories independent of the emergence of the
bourgeoisie during the 19th century British Raj era. “The political will
to subordinate the police or have a police reform was never there, this
has to be created,” Ahsan noted while suggesting that this may be more
of a possibility now than before.
In relation to the
technology aspect, Ahsan related the emergence of the suicide bomber as a
weapon targeted specifically at security infrastructure such as police
check-posts as a technological innovation akin to the anti-aircraft guns
during the Second World War. “The great challenge is to determine a
counter to the suicide bomber,” said Ahsan while adding that the
solution to this problem would also entail a societal approach, “what
needs to be done is to isolate the [terrorist] mindset and make it
Some of the questions
raised during the discussion pertained to the state of US funding to
Pakistan and what the US should be doing to direct aid, especially in the
context of the recent motion in the US Congress to cut funding to
Pakistan. In response to this, Ahsan pointed out that the US-Pakistan
relationship has always been focused on issues having to do with visible
threats and once these issues become insignificant the funding tends to
evaporate as well. He cited the example of Pakistan’s uneasy alliance
with the US during the Cold War to counter the Soviet threat and its
resulting repercussions in the 1990s.
Coming to more
contemporary times, Ahsan said that while the recent Kerry Lugar Bill was
driven by the best of intentions to separate civilian aid from military
funding, there was no effective implementation of this idea. Abbas added
that the US needs to frame its concerns differently and not always as
initiatives of counter-terrorism, “because then Pakistanis think all the
US is interested in is terrorism, instead they should frame issues more in
terms of safeguarding the security of average Pakistanis.”
A final question put
forward by former US Ambassador to Pakistan, Nicholas Platt, who was in
the audience was concerned with how this report was going to be made known
so that it can have a positive impact on policy. Abbas’s reply signaled
that figures like Ahsan and Alikhan who happen to be somewhat influential
in policy circles in Islamabad and Washington DC would help with his own
efforts in circulating the report. Given the nature of the discussion,
however, it seemed that this was a conversation that should have taken
place over five years ago.
The current state of the
US-Pakistan relationship has undergone so many tumultuous upheavals that
the familiar line of how the US can help its longstanding ally seems to
carry less and less weight in both countries. Moreover, the lack of
cohesion in the panelists’ remarks and their difficulty in drawing
practicable lessons for policing in Pakistan out of their experiences
appeared somewhat symptomatic of the nature of diplomatic ties between the
US and Pakistan.
In order to rekindle
analysts’ and policymakers’ interest in funding reforms, experts from
Pakistan would have to do much more than simply allude to Pakistan’s
Cold War woes and its British Raj baggage. To gain any effective currency
in policy circles would require a significantly more incisive discussion
of on-the-ground issues and critical flash-points.