Cost of war: Chapter on war on terror losses jettisoned

Published: June 1, 2012
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Finance minister says claim hurt investor sentiment, brought no benefit. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Finance minister says claim hurt investor sentiment, brought no benefit. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan has formally abandoned the claim of suffering immensely from the ongoing war on terror, saying that this in fact “hurt the economy, rather than bringing about any benefit.” And therefore a section carrying details of losses the country has suffered due to the war on terror has been dropped from the latest edition of the Economic Survey of Pakistan.

“For how long will we highlight the impact of the war on terrorism on the country,” argued finance minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh while justifying the decision to drop the special section, “Cost of War on Terror for Pakistan Economy”. The repeated emphasis has hurt investor sentiments, he added.

Investment in the country in 2011-12 fell to 12.5% of Gross Domestic Product, the lowest in the country’s history, while foreign direct investment stood at $666 million, almost half of what it was in corresponding period the preceding year.

Independent experts, however, say the biggest reason for falling investment is the chronic and worsening energy crisis that kept foreign investors at bay. Moreover, half of the country’s existing industrial capacity remains idle due to energy shortages, according to the survey.

Shaikh also shifted the responsibility on the Foreign Office, saying it calculates the losses and did not provide fresh details this year.

According to last year’s economic survey, Pakistan has suffered almost $68 billion in cumulative losses over the past decade due to the ongoing war on terrorism.

Finance ministry officials, however, said the $68 billion figure proved to be wrong during this year’s initial assessments.

“We did not want to drastically revise this figure downward, as it might have raised the issue of the credibility of the country’s statistics”, official said.

The figures had been compiled by an inter-ministerial committee of the ministries of foreign affairs, finance, interior, commerce and representatives of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – the worst hit federating units.

The incumbent government had added the special chapter in the economic survey hoping it would help convince international players to pour more aid. Aid, however, was not forthcoming, primarily due to strained ties between Pakistan and the United States.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Imran Con
    Jun 1, 2012 - 1:37PM

    or was it you finally realized people weren’t buying it? What’s the one thing that would turn off investors even more? A country actually fanning the flames and being the origin of the terrorists. Because no matter how things go, the one harboring and creating the militants is never going to progress. Not even making a realistic attempt to hide it doesn’t help.

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  • Omer
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:57PM

    Yes, don’t highlight war on terror and it will go away. Looks like a way of appeasing Americans to me.

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  • IZ
    Jun 1, 2012 - 4:23PM

    But screaming about how your economy is being destroyed because of terrorism always attracts investors and builds confidence in your country providing a safe, stable environment in which to do business… doesn’t it?

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  • Idrees
    Jun 1, 2012 - 10:38PM

    Govt know serious issue of energy crises for economic growth and perhapes basic need of people why not seriously resolved this which is possible & afordable like current Bugdt speech 183b and this is chronic not an acute.

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  • Naresh
    Jun 2, 2012 - 1:49AM

    @Author :
    .
    According to last year’s economic survey, Pakistan has suffered almost $68 billion in cumulative losses over the past decade due to the ongoing war on terrorism.
    .
    Finance ministry officials, however, said the $68 billion figure proved to be wrong during this year’s initial assessments.
    .
    “We did not want to drastically revise this figure downward, as it might have raised the issue of the credibility of the country’s statistics”, official said.
    .
    That, Shahbaz Rana Ji, is not only Interesting & Breathtaking but also Intriguing
    .
    Cheers

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