Our troubled past and uncertain present

Published: July 14, 2010

BALTIMORE: This is with reference to Syeda Abida Hussain’s “Our troubled past and uncertain present -II” (July 12).

The writer mentions India’s privatisation programme. She should enlighten her readers about which programme she is referring to her. India’s coffers have always been reasonably full. They had one balance of payments crisis in the ’90s when Manmohan Singh was finance minister. They went for an emergency IMF Stand-By Agreement (SBA), implemented it to the letter and have never looked back since.

With regard to the debt write-off or relief that she mentions, we did get one from the Paris Club on what is called Naples Terms. Not only debt-relief, but debt write-off and debt-equity swaps. We even rescheduled our euro-bond. This fiscal space was supposed to increase spending on social programs but a Public Accounts Committee audit report noted that the amount earmarked for poverty alleviation was used for building air-bases in Balochistan, and buying tankers and other military hardware.

The writer gives the impression that Pakistan was bought on the cheap. But looking at the cumulative value of aid we received – bilateral and multi-lateral, recorded and un-recorded, reimbursements on false claims of monies spent, and bounty money – it was certainly not peanuts. Growth was fuelled by this aid and certainly not by domestic savings.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2010.

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