ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s losses from war on terrorism surged past $123 billion in addition to the loss of thousands upon thousands of human lives since it joined the global fight against extremism but it is still struggling to get the world community to properly recognise its sacrifices.
The cost of war against terrorism rose to $123.1 billion with an addition of $3.9 billion in the outgoing fiscal year alone, said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday at the launching of the Economic Survey of Pakistan for outgoing fiscal year 2016-17.
Although the amount of losses is significant when compared with its impact on public finances and national economy, the downward trajectory in annual additional losses marks an improvement in the overall security situation.
The yearly losses of $3.9 billion were $2.6 billion or 40 per cent less than the cost incurred by the country in the previous year, reflecting positive change as a result of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The losses are lowest recorded in any single year over the past 12 years.
“Pakistan is fighting the war in a dignified manner and is not seeking financial support from other countries, although the government is bearing the annual cost of Rs100 billion after the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, said the finance minister.
He said that the government has also raised 57 wings of civilian armed forces to consolidate gains made by the armed forces.
Dar said that the improvement in security situation was an evidence of success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
According to him, more than 25,000 civilians and personnel of armed forces had lost their lives and almost the same number of people had been injured.
After the successful completion of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a country-wide operation Radd-ul-Fassad had been launched for eliminating any residual or latent threats, according to the Economic Survey.
“Pakistan continues to be a serious victim of terrorism, including foreign-sponsored terrorism from our immediate neighbourhood,” the Survey stated.
After 9/11, Pakistan had started including the cost of terrorism in its annual economic performance presentations, as the country heavily suffered on account of human losses, economic opportunities and damages to infrastructure.
The US drone attacks also helped lower the direct losses to infrastructure and human lives.
About 80 per cent of the total annual losses were because of loss of tax revenue and loss of foreign direct investment.
The report stated that a substantial portion of national resources, both men and material, had been diverted to address emerging security challenges and to repair damaged infrastructure over the past several years.
It said in addition to economic losses, cross border terrorism in Pakistan has also been responsible for untold human sufferings due to indiscriminate, brutal terrorist attacks against civilian population.
After 9/11, the cumulative impact of these developments adversely affected the overall growth rate in all major sectors of economy, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan
Pakistan can build eight dams like Diamer Basha dam with $123.1 billion.
The cost of war on terrorism was worked out by an inter-ministerial committee, having representation of representatives of the ministries of finance, interior, Foreign Affairs and a Joint Ministerial Group.
According to the survey, Pakistan incurred $3.9 billion losses in the outgoing fiscal year, against losses worth $2.8 billion or 40.2 per cent lower than those sustained during the same period last year.
The cost of foreign investment declined from $1.5 billion to $559 million in the outgoing fiscal year. The losses on account of lower tax collection decreased from $3.5 billion to $2.5 billion.
The survey stated that this situation had disrupted Pakistan’s normal economic and trading activities, which not only resulted in higher costs of business but also created disruptions in production cycles, resulting in significant delays in meeting export orders.
Furthermore, Pakistani products gradually lost their market share to competitors and the economic growth has slowed down that also affected the revenue collection.