Planning Commission chief backs away from nuclear controversy

Published: December 27, 2011

Nadeemul Haque says he is focused on policy, NDU denies it cancelled his workshop.

ISLAMABAD: 

In what appears to be an attempt to distance himself from comments attributed to him in the media, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Nadeemul Haque said on Monday that defence was paramount in ensuring a nation’s territorial sovereignty.

Haque’s comments come on the heels of reports that attributed some controversial comments to him, such as him saying that Pakistan cannot progress economically until it abandons its nuclear programme. On Monday, Haque clarified that his concerns were far more connected to economic policy than any political matters. “My concern is growth and it did not mean I deny importance of defence,” said Haque.

“Savings from any one [category of expenditure] will not have any economic impact until the government initiated meaningful economic reforms,” he said. “Economic growth is not dependent on one aspect and the country needs to bring a paradigm shift to ensure sustainable growth necessary to absorb the increasing labour force. Our economy is only growing by 3%, but the labour force is growing by 3.6% per year.”

The reports that attributed the controversial comments to him also suggested that the National Defence University in Islamabad, a military-run institution, had cancelled Haque’s lecture after it allegedly learnt that his speech would be about rolling bank the country’s nuclear programme. However, a copy of the presentation that was leaked to The Express Tribune contained no such material.

The 41 slides of the presentation were about the trend of economic growth in Pakistan, a comparison with regional peers, proposed solutions to the nation’s economic problems, the negative aspects of the current growth strategy being pursued by the government as well as the benefits of the new strategy being proposed by the Planning Commission – one that was approved by the National Economic Council earlier this year.

Haque stated categorically that his presentation to the NDU had nothing to do with the nuclear programme. Military officials corroborated this account. One official, requesting anonymity, said that the lecture was postponed because many of the foreign participants were unavailable due to the Christmas holidays.

According to a statement released by the Planning Commission, the NDU workshop was part of a consultation process involving all stakeholders in an attempt to creating economic literacy and local ownership of the economic reforms being proposed under the Framework for Economic Growth of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Dr. Who!
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:55AM

    No truth please; we are Pakistanis.

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  • Falcon
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:22PM

    Good effort by the planning commission. If he is able to get his message through without inviting too much resistance, that would be a considerable breakthrough.

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  • Alfred jan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:25PM

    A liar

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 3:50PM

    One official, requesting anonymity, said that the lecture was postponed because many of the foreign participants were unavailable due to the Christmas holidays.

    So.. much ado about nothing then? Great journalism guys!

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Dec 27, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Did`nt the organisers knew about the ensuing holidays for the foreigners in advance before declaring dates for the participants…?? that is why we are called a ” Pakistani “….that is why we are where we are today…no planning by the planning division….so how do one expect the planning division to plan for the country…??Recommend

  • Moeed Pirzada
    Dec 27, 2011 - 5:35PM

    I am moderator at one of the sessions in the proposed NDU Conference. Its cancellation had nothing to do with Dr. Nadeem Haq’s lecture or apprehensions about it. The NDU sources quoted in this story towards the end are telling the truth. I don’t know who created this rumour but NDU cancellation had nothing to do with whatever this controversy is – Even otherwise any one saying anything in a closed gathering inside NDU which is held under Chatham House Rules does not affect NDU. It has a certain degree of tolerance which can only be appreciated by those who have frequently participated in discussions or conducted them. _ Moeed Pirzada

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  • The Truth
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:20PM

    How is this any different than censorship?

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