Pakistan’s Economic Outlook
Sixty seven years ago Pakistan gained independence from British rule. At the time, the country found itself dependent on agriculture and was economically poor. In the first fifty years, Pakistan picked itself up, but nonetheless it still has a long way to go. War, lack of social stability, in-house political clashes, and lack of population control, has set the country back in terms of growth and development.
Pakistan’s economy is undergoing a revamp p to remove controls to promote and encourage development. The process, popularly known as Economic Liberalization, aims to draw in foreign investment. The financial network of the country is controlled by the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE), Lahore Stock Exchange (LSE), Islamabad Stock Exchange (ISE), and Sialkot Trading Floor. The currency is governed by the State Bank of Pakistan. The economy is controlled by chemicals, fertilizers, cement, textiles, mining and cash crops such as rice, wheat, sugar, and salt.
The Stock Market
The stock market has enough financial reserves in terms of foreign currency. According to a leading financial analysis firm, Pakistan will soon be stable despite the current political upheaval. The LSE and ISE are also showing considerable growth trends, barring momentary glitches.
Fuel & Energy
The Economic Coordination Committee and the Finance Ministry has sanctioned a fund of Rs 17 billion for the construction of a 500kV transmission line. The government has also consistently shown that it is willing to tackle the deficiencies in electrical power generation caused due to irregularities in control over the past decade.
The industrial backbone of Pakistan is cotton, agriculture, chemicals, and fertilizers. It has come to light that the PCGA (Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Association) has expressed concern that Pakistan is importing cotton from other countries despite being a cotton producing country itself. The association has urged the government to consider supporting the prices of raw cotton.
The agricultural sector of Pakistan relies heavily on seasonal rains and the Indus River for irrigational purposes. Low scattered rains this year has become a cause of worry for farmers, especially since the country’s major source of income is cash crops. The Pakistani government has initiated a National Food Security Council to promote reasonable agriculture so as to generate maximum gain. The Prime Minister, in regard to this issue, has stated that: “The council will be aiming at ensuring policy coordination across provinces, agriculture, and livestock productivity improvements, market reforms, value addition, and prices for ensuring stable incomes for the
Security and Self-Defense
The Pakistan defence forces are the seventh largest in the world in terms of actively employed servicemen. During the last 3 decades, the budget allocation for defence services has grown by 200%. This is due to larger countries sharing borders with Pakistan, apart from security and maintenance to law and order. This budget has been increased by about 10% in the recent past. The reputation of the Pakistan Armed Forces took a huge hit when America killed and captured Osama bin Laden on their own soil because this showed the world that this violent terrorist was actually living and thriving on Pakistani soil.
Despite conflict from politicians, military officers have maintained that the military’s budget is the lowest in the region. Upon the latest directives from the UN, the Pakistan Armed forces are actively involved in peace keeping operations and checking insurgency at the Afghanistan border. Pakistan has also emerged, in the late 20th century, as a nuclear power and claims that its nuclear arms policy is solely to discourage attack.
Pakistan’s Economic Outlook
Pakistan may have made a couple of right moves but it has some serious issues that need to be overcome. The corruption in the government is troubling which does not bode well for corporate sector to have the ability to expand and to take risks. Pakistan must control its radical elements to at least keep pace with rival India if not the energy rich Islamic nations such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.