An overview of current government’s 53-month performance
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 : The period marred by mega corruption scams, sky-rocketing inflation, dismal governance, court defiance, terrorism, worsening law and order, grave energy crisis and ailing economy has haunted Pakistan during these last 1,615 days
Here follows the comparison: Sugar from Rs25 to Rs53-55 per kg, beef (with bones) from Rs170 to Rs260-Rs280 per kg currently, beef (boneless) from Rs200 to Rs 300-Rs340 per kg in over four years, Poultry from Rs112 to Rs 190-200 per kg, mutton from Rs 300 to Rs 550-Rs 600 per kg presently, Dalda 5 kg tin pack from Rs 720 to Rs 975-1,000, Lipton Yellow Label tea (200 grams) from Rs70 to Rs120, petrol has surged from Rs62.81 per litre in April 2008 to Rs97.10 in last week of August 2012, High speed Diesel price increased from Rs44.13 per litre to Rs106.60, CNG from Rs37 per kg to Rs80.94,Tetra Milk (Milk Pak brand) from Rs44 to Rs90 per kg, average milk powder price have gone up from Rs310 per kg to Rs 600, Ghee from Rs1,700 per 16 kg tin pack to Rs2,450, shop milk from Rs40 to Rs55-60 per kg (up to Rs70 per litre in Karachi), Eggs Rs49 per dozen to Rs76—80 per dozen, Flour (atta) from Rs16 to Rs40-45 per kg , Basmati (Premium quality) from Rs90 to Rs 100-105 per kg averagely, Basmati (broken) from Rs46 to Rs60 per kg, Daal Masoor from Rs75 to Rs85-90 now, Daal Moong from Rs50-55 per kg to Rs120 per kg, Daal Maash from Rs62-67 per kg to Rs140 per kg and Daal Channa (gram pulse) from Rs50 per kg to Rs100—110 per kg. These prices, we all know, vary from shop to shop, city to city, from locality to locality and even from customer to customer.
However, even with a 15 per cent plus or minus, they effectively portray the debilitating effect inflation has had on the hapless consumers.
The inflation rate of Pakistan during PPP regime is as follows: During 2007-08, it was 19.27 per cent, in 2008-09 it was 14.39 per cent, in 2009-10, it was 13.07 per cent and in 2010-11, it was 13.23 per cent and in ongoing fiscal year it is 10.1 per cent. Government, however, has recently said it is currently below the double-digit mark.
It is the easiest job on the earth to criticise a sitting government for its follies, incompetence and corrupt practices, but research reveals that this PPP government had set strange priorities from the very outset.
To quote an example, on July 26, 2008, the government had astonishingly placed Inter-Service Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau under the Interior Ministry, which was viewed by most analysts as a move to undermine the role of the national spy agencies.
But, there were more surprises in store for the nation as within hours of the issuance of the July 26 Cabinet Division notification, the government issued a clarification that the ISI would continue to perform its functions under the prime minister and asserted that “the Cabinet Division’s directive was misinterpreted.
“Memogate” is another candid example of government’s ‘suspicious’ priorities. We can all recall that on October 10, 2011, a US-based businessman MansoorHYPERLINK “/wiki/Mansoor_Ijaz” HYPERLINK “/wiki/Mansoor_Ijaz”Ijaz had written in an opinion piece in “The Financial Times,” whereby he had divulged that he had acted as an intermediary between the Pakistani government and US administration.
Mansoor had revealed that the Pakistani government (through the then Pakistani Ambassador to US Husain Haqqani) had sought his help on May 9, 2011 to avert a “possible” military coup in the wake of unilateral US raid that had killed Osama bin Laden just a week before.
A Pakistani newspaper wrote: “Though the Pakistani Government subsequently rejected Mansoor Ijaz’s claims, it triggered a storm in the country’s political circles, especially between the civil government and the military. A judicial commission was subsequently appointed to investigate the matter. Meanwhile, Army Chief General AshfaqHYPERLINK “/wiki/Ashfaq_Parvez_Kayani” HYPERLINK “/wiki/Ashfaq_Parvez_Kayani”ParvezHYPERLINK “/wiki/Ashfaq_Parvez_Kayani” HYPERLINK “/wiki/Ashfaq_Parvez_Kayani”Kayani’s request to the apex court for an independent probe into the matter was accepted. The court rejected the government’s contention that the issue should be investigated by a parliamentary panel.”
The same newspaper had maintained: “Tensions between the government and the military reached a peak after Gilani said the army and intelligence chiefs had acted in an “unconstitutional and illegal” manner by filing affidavits on the memo issue in the Supreme Court without getting the government’s approval. The military reacted within days through a strongly worded statement that said the premier’s remarks could have “grievous consequences.” Gilani retaliated by sacking Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, a confidant of Kayani.”
It is needless to say that the history of PPP stalwarts’ venom against judiciary and army is not a new phenomenon and Senator Fasial Raza Abidi is just the latest entry in this context. In 2010, the then sitting State Minister for Defence Production Qayyum Jatoi had to tender his resignation, after being criticised for airing anti-army and anti-judiciary remarks.
PPP has often claimed the credit of passing the 18th, 19th and 20th Constitutional Amendments and the women’s empowerment bill, dubbing them as landmark legislations.
Besides this, various PPP leaders have often been heard boasting of granting autonomy to the provinces, giving special status with administrative autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan, helping Foreign Exchange Reserves touch the $18.3 billion level, making exports climb up to the $25 billion mark, increasing the remittances to $12 billion from $4 billion, register Pakistan as a wheat exporting country, renaming NWFP as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and making the National Finance Commission Award effective after 19 years.
But June 24, 2012 edition of “The News International” reports: ”A Pakistan People’s Party minister told the provincial assembly that he felt compelled to speak the “truth” on health and education as nothing had been done to rectify the problems plaguing these sectors during the last four years.”
Sindh Revenue Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar had alleged on Assembly floor that massive financial irregularities were committed during the execution of the chief minister’s hepatitis control programme.
The minister had pointed out that schools had remained closed in the province for the last four years and the matter was brought to the attention of both the chief minister and the senior education minister, but no effort was made to address the issue. He revealed that 58 schools were closed in his constituency only.
As far as government’s failure on economic front is concerned, there is no doubt that global recession, increase in international commodity prices, natural disasters (including some of the worst floods in the history of Pakistan), energy crisis and poor law and order situation have all affected the Pakistani economy adversely, but government has confessed that it had failed to manage subsidies.
This has resultantly led to a higher budget deficit, and not to forget, the growth in the outgoing fiscal 2011-12 was recorded at just 3.7 per cent, below the 4.2 per cent target.
The Economic Survey of Pakistan explicitly mentions that excluding the Rs391 billion circular debt payment, budget deficit has already crossed 4.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
A report appearing in “The News,” soon after the last budget had stated: “For the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic, the difference between what the government spent over the past 12 months and what the government has managed to collect will cross the Rs1 trillion mark.”
Let us compare the salient features of the Pakistani economy in 2008 and 2012 to gauge where the government has lost and where it has scored points.
According to the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s World Factbook of March 18, 2008, Pakistan’s GDP real growth rate was 6.3 per cent when the government took charge. Now it is just 2.4 per cent.
In 2008, the budget deficit was Rs777 billion or 7.6 per cent of GDP. Now, it is 6.6 per cent of GDP as per (CIA)’s World Factbook, or 179th in the world.
The fiscal deficit had reached about Rs532.52 billion (2.5 per cent of GDP) by the close of the first half of the current fiscal year (FY12 H1), compared with Rs490 billion in the corresponding period of the preceding fiscal year.
Foreign investment inflows have also dried up. During FY09, FDI fell to $3.72 billion and further to $2.20 billion in FY10 and $1.63 billion in FY11.
During FY12 (July-January), FDI receipts of $597 million were registered compared with $1 billion during the corresponding period of FY11. The fall in FDI is largely due to precarious law and order situation and political uncertainty.
The exchange value of the domestic currency continues to decline. At the close of FY11, the rupee-dollar parity was 85.5, which has surpassed 94 plus recently. Forex reserves have also come down from $18.24 billion at the end of FY11 to $16.77 billion (as on February 10, 2012).
According to the CIA World Factbook, the Public debt in 2008 was 53.8 per cent of GDP. It is 60.1 per cent of GDP or 41st in the world now.
Inflation rate in 2008 was 6.9 per cent. It is 11.9 per cent now.
The Industrial production growth rate in 2008 was 6.8 per cent. It is just 3 per cent now or 98th in the world.
The current external debt of $61.83 billion, which makes Pakistan the 54th most indebted nation in the world, was just $40.32 billion in 2008.
It is imperative to recall that by October 2008, the external account position had deteriorated to such an extent (foreign exchange reserves depleted to $7.31 billion—as on October 17, 2008—and the exchange rate nosedived to Rs82.37 per dollar that the government was forced to borrow from the IMF.
During FY09, the first full financial year under the present set-up, the economic growth rate fell to 1.7 per cent, which was one of the lowest in Pakistan’s history.
To see where Pakistan stands amongst its neighbours, a 5-year GDP growth rate comparison will help.
Pakistan GDP Growth Rate in 2007-08 was 6.81 per cent; it was 3.68 per cent in 2008-09, 1.72 per cent in 2009-10, 3.76 per cent in 2010-11 and 2.39 per cent in 2011-12.
India’s GDP Growth Rate in 2007-08 was 8.3 per cent; it was 7.8 per cent in 2008-09, 7.7 per cent in 2009-10, 6.9 per cent in 2010-11 and 6.1 per cent in 2011-12.
Bangladesh’s GDP Growth Rate in 2007-08 was 6.43 per cent; it was 6.19 per cent in 2008-09, 5.74 per cent in 2009-10, 5.83 per cent in 2010-11 and 6.7 per cent in 2011-12.
Sri Lanka’s GDP Growth Rate in 2007-08 was 7.1 per cent; it was 8.5 per cent in 2008-09, 10.8 per cent in 2009-10, 8.6 per cent in 2010-11 and 7.9 per cent in 2011-12.
A tentative look at the law and order/terrorism front shows that some 375 incidents of terrorism have taken place in the length and breadth of Pakistan since April 2008.
Having lost thousands of its citizens and soldiers during this period under review, the country is striving against all odds to heal its wounds.
The major terrorism incidents with dates/years since April 2008 include:
May 18, 2008 (Mardan), June 2, 2008 (Islamabad), July 6 (Islamabad), August 12 (Peshawar), August 13 (Lahore), August 21 (Wah Cantt), August 25 (Swat), August 26 (Islamabad), September 6 (Peshawar), September 20 (Islamabad), October 2 (Charsadda), October 6 (Bhakkar), October 9 (Islamabad), October 10 (Orankzai agency), November 2 (Wana), November 11 (Peshawar), November 19 (Islamabad), February 5, 2009 (Dera Ghazi Khan), February 11 (Peshawar), February 20 (Dera Ismail Khan), March 3 (Lahore), March 11 (Peshawar), March 16 (Rawalpindi), March 27 (Jamrud), March 30 (Lahore), April 4 (Islamabad), April 5 (Chakwal), April 29 (Karachi), May 16 (Peshawar), May 22 (Peshawar), May 27 (Lahore), June 9 (Peshawar), June 11 (Darra Adam Khel, Balochistan and Peshawar), June 12 (Lahore and Nowshera), July 2 (Rawalpindi and Quetta), July 13 (Mian Channu), September 2 (Islamabad), September 26 (Bannu and Peshawar), October 5 (Islamabad), October 9 (Peshawar), October 10 and 11 (GHQ—Rawalpindi), October 15 (Lahore and Kohat), October 16 (Peshawar), October 20 (Islamabad), October 22 (Islamabad), October 23 (Kamra and MohmandHYPERLINK “file:///C:/wiki/Mohmand_Agency” Agency), October 25 (Quetta), October 27 (Islamabad), October 28 (Peshawar), November 2 (Rawalpindi), November 13 (Peshawar), November 19 (Peshawar), December 1 (swat), December 2 (Islamabad), December 4 (Rawalpindi), December 7 (Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta), December 8 (Multan), December 15 (Dera Ghazi Khan), December 27 (Muzaffarabad), December 28 (Karachi), January 20, 2010 (Peshawar), February 1 (Karachi), February 5 (Karachi), February 9 (Rawalpindi), March 8 (Lahore), March 12 (Lahore), April 16 (Quetta), April 19 (Peshawar), May 28 (Lahore), May 31 (Lahore), June 9 (Islamabad), June 28 (Hyderabad, Bajaur agency and Karachi), July 1 (Lahore), July 14 (Quetta), August 3 (Karachi), September 1 (Lahore), September 3 (Quetta), October 7 (Karachi), October 20 (Karachi), October 2 (Pakpattan), November 11 (Karachi), January 25, 2011 (Lahore) and Karachi), March 31 (Swabi), April 1 (Charsadda), April 3 (Dera Ghazi Khan), April 22 (Karachi), May 22 (Karachi), June 12 ( Peshawar), August 31 (Quetta), September 7 (Quetta), September 9 (Karachi), September 20 (Karachi), January 1, 2012 (Karachi), January 5 (Orakzai Agency), January 14 (Dera Ismail Khan), January 15 (Rahim Yar Khan), January 30 (Peshawar), February 23 (Peshawar), February 28 (Kohistan), July 12 (Lahore), July 13 (Quetta), July 18 (Parachinar) and quite recently on August 16, 2012 (Kamra).
Speaking of general crime situation, which has undoubtedly gone from bad to worse during PPP’s tenure, a February 20, 2012 report appearing in “The News International” had shed enough light.
This report had stated: “Official figures confirm that the overall crime ratio, at the centre and provinces, has increased despite tall claims made by the federal and provincial governments. The statistics indicate that law enforcement agencies have failed to control crime during last four years with upward trend of 13.71 per cent as 592,503 offences were recorded in 2008 and 673,750 in 2011.”
The report had added: “A total of 136,470 vehicles worth Rs68.2 billion — 61,108 during first two years (2008 and 2009) and 75,362 in 2010 and 2011) — were lifted or snatched from different parts of the country during last four years. Punjab has the share of 60.53 per cent in crime figures of the country with 419,690 cases. Sindh shared 83,630 cases, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 145,772, Balochistan 8,099, Gilgit-Baltistan 1,558, AJK 5,691 and the federal capital 6,793 cases in the national crime data. “
The report maintained: “The crime against people and property gradually went up by 13.26 per cent — 229,948 cases were registered in 2011 and 203,011 in 2008. But crime, both against people and property, jumped up by 17.96 per cent in 2008 after the present elected government came into power as compared to 2007 when 172,091 such cases were reported. The countrywide reported crime in 2011 was calculated at 673,750 against 642,762 in 2010 with an increase of 4.8 per cent. It includes 13,860 cases of murder in 2011 and 13,190 in 2010.”