Pak­istan ‘war on ter­ror’ has cost $118bn: State bank

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

KARACHI: Pak­istan’s “war on ter­ror” has cost the de­vel­op­ing coun­try a whop­ping $118 bil­lion so far, a new cen­tral bank re­port has said, an amount equiv­a­lent to well over one third of its gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. The cen­tral State Bank of Pak­istan (SBP) re­leased its an­nual re­port on Thurs­day show­ing ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence cost the coun­try $118.3 bil­lion in di­rect and in­di­rect losses from 2002 to 2016.

“Both eco­nomic growth and so­cial sec­tor de­vel­op­ment have been se­verely ham­pered by ter­ror­ism re­lated in­ci­dents,” the bank said in the re­port. Pak­istan be­came a piv­otal US ally in the bat­tle against ex­trem­ism af­ter the Septem­ber 11, 2001 at­tacks spurred the US in­va­sion of neigh­bour­ing Afghanistan.

A Coali­tion Sup­port Fund (CSF) was ap­proved by the US to sup­port Pak­istan in the war, with an an­nual re­lease of around $1 bil­lion since 2002. By last year Pak­istan had re­ceived a to­tal of $14 bil­lion un­der the CSF. The coun­try has also been wag­ing a fight against home-grown Is­lamist in­sur­gents since at least 2004.

The bank said that apart from caus­ing im­mea­sur­able hu­man suf­fer­ing, in­clud­ing ca­su­al­ties and mass dis­place­ment, the war had helped drive away for­eign in­vest­ment, stall do­mes­tic in­vest­ment, freeze ex­ports, and slow down trade. Pak­istan has car­ried out ma­jor mil­i­tary of­fen­sives against Al-Qaeda and the Tale­ban in its bor­der tribal re­gions that have sapped their strength, with over­all lev­els of mil­i­tant vi­o­lence drop­ping dras­ti­cally in 2015 and 2016. The econ­omy, mean­while, is im­prov­ing, with the IMF say­ing in Oc­to­ber that the coun­try has emerged from cri­sis and sta­bi­lized its econ­omy af­ter com­plet­ing a bailout pro­gram.

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