Pakistan can no longer sustain cost of war, says expert

Published: November 8, 2012
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Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan blames country’s leadership.

Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan blames country’s leadership.

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan’s economy can no longer sustain the cost of war as the money so far disbursed by the US to compensate the damages the country has suffered while fighting the war on terror is only 14% of the total losses, says a leading economist.

Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Dean of NUST Business School and former member of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s core economic team, said that despite enormous sacrifices, the international community neither recognises nor appreciates the country’s efforts.

He was addressing the audience of the 14th International American Studies Conference, jointly organised by the US Embassy and Quaid-e-Azam University, on Wednesday.

According to figures published in the economic survey of Pakistan, the war on terrorism has caused direct and indirect losses worth $70 billion, while the US has disbursed only $9.97 billion under the Coalition Support Fund, he said.

He also held the country’s leadership responsible for the world’s apathy towards Pakistan’s problems rooted in the war on terrorism. He said the president, prime minister and finance ministry seldom highlight these sufferings with the international community.

Contrary to the US claims of giving huge assistance to Islamabad, the country has received only $4.8 billion in cash assistance from Washington, which comes up to roughly $437 million per annum, said Khan during his presentation, which was based on figures compiled by the finance ministry. He said in total the US has given less than $15 billion in the last 11 years.

He, however, said the CSF reimbursements did matter for the country as the money would relieve pressures on foreign currency reserves. “Had the last tranche of $1.2 billion, released in July, not come timely, the rupee would have depreciated to Rs100 against a dollar,” he said.  The disbursement provided a two-month relief to the government.

Khan further said the country has reached a point where it can no longer bear the cost of war, which has adversely affected investment and privatisation, stressed the fiscal position and impacted exports.

“Pakistan needs the US for multiple reasons but it does not need cash assistance,” he said, while suggesting the US give market access to the country.

Over the last 11 years, the role of the US in Pakistan’s development is on a decline, he said. Citing official figures, he said Pakistan’s exports to the US in terms of their share in the total exports have declined by a tenth.  In 2001-02 the exports to the US were 24.4% of the total exports, and have come down to 14.7% in 2011-12.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (14)

  • cut
    Nov 8, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Pakistani establishment needs to to be appreciated.They have taken art of begging to new heights.Pakistani Govt. has deployed economists to make a presentation on begging!!!!
    No wonder we will see multiple doctorates in economics from leading Pakistani universities on the subject—-how to plead amrika for more aids…………

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  • It's logic, stupid
    Nov 8, 2012 - 2:11PM

    @cut: it’s not aid, it’s compensation that America is indebted to give to Pakistan. No payment = No American war.

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  • Vigilant History
    Nov 8, 2012 - 2:27PM

    Pakistan’s economy can no longer sustain the cost of war??? All external and internal problems are self-created issues by choice; suppressing own people, occupying own land and properties, playing in international power politics, compromising on own integrity and people….Pak has been fighting self-created propaganda war by choice. There was no concept of terrorism in Pak decades back…instead of serving own people, promoting education, industry, betterment of economy and socioeconomic conditions of the people…spending and earning billions, bombing own nation and killing own people using different tactics. While spending of billions on propaganda war has been no victory instead of adopting position attitude toward development and betterment of own people. It’s true for the today crisis and worst condition of the country all forces, institution, various departments, agencies, establishment are solely responsible and it’s the results of their corruption and incompetency. Balochistan and Fata along with some other parts of the country was have been ignored since 1947, lack of education, job opportunities, injustice, road and infrastructure, industrial units, lack of health and services facilities but billions of corruption has been going on by using the names projects of these parts. The mutual respect for each other culture, faith and believe and diversity of the nature has been ignored since 1947. Hence how wold change they aspect?……instead the one they have been promoting since long extremism and sectarianism, divide and rule, FCR, incompetent and corrupt political structure and opening new fronts.

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  • Punky
    Nov 8, 2012 - 2:57PM

    “Dean of NUST Business School said that despite enormous sacrifices, the international community neither recognises nor appreciates the country’s efforts.”

    When will the whining stop?

    And do they not know that whining gets you nowhere, it will fetch them absolutely nothing rather make them a laughingstock for the world?

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  • Jat
    Nov 8, 2012 - 2:59PM

    Some headlines from today – shows the steady progress Pakistan has made since 1947.

    Senate standing committee orders arrest of KESC CEO
    SC directs NAB to detain Turkish RPP till Rs 27b arrears cleared
    Power import: Amidst sanctions, govt finds way to clear Iran dues
    Derailed company: Cash-strapped Railways faces uncertain future
    Karachi – Suicide attack on Rangers HQ kills 4 officials, injures 26
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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Nov 8, 2012 - 5:00PM

    Pakistan has to bear the cost of war for her sustinance and she can bear it as well becouse she should not prepare her against India but against the Taliban . There is no need to purchase sofisticated arms and amunition for this purpose and Drones are there to help them .

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  • muzaffar shah
    Nov 8, 2012 - 5:21PM

    one is insulted to the extent he allows other.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Nov 8, 2012 - 7:58PM

    Same old speech — Pakistan needs money to sustain it’s military who are front line soldiers on the WOT. Unfortunately, neither America nor the World is buying that line anymore. The militants are going to try and overthrow your govt and your going to have to decide whether you want to win or lose that war. It’s unfortunate that your duplicitous behavior has alienated allies that could have helped but that’s water over the dam and your going to have to fund and fight this war largely on your own. Good luck.

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  • Polpot
    Nov 8, 2012 - 7:58PM

    Excellent Analysis but a bit too late
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    In 2014 US/Nato will leave Afghanistan so there will be only appreciation and no compensation for the amreeki war. Would have been better to have grabbed USD 1500 per container while that was possible.

    Also if a war is not affordable, why waste money on the Army?

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  • Nov 8, 2012 - 7:59PM

    The real reason for Western apathy is Pakistan’s ambivalent attitude towards religious radical groups.

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  • Jat
    Nov 8, 2012 - 8:27PM

    Pakistan’s military is so cash rich and high tech that their top brass travel in latest model BMW 7 series cars. Probably each car costs over 2 crores.

    While our poor and technically backward Indian generals still travel in the 1960 vintage Ambassador cars.

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  • Crazy-Idealogist.
    Nov 8, 2012 - 11:20PM

    what was the time, when Pakistan was able to sustain foreign war on it`s Land…??

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  • gp65
    Nov 9, 2012 - 4:45AM

    “According to figures published in the economic survey of Pakistan, the war on terrorism has caused direct and indirect losses worth $70 billion, while the US has disbursed only $9.97 billion under the Coalition Support Fund, he said.

    He also held the country’s leadership responsible for the world’s apathy towards Pakistan’s problems rooted in the war on terrorism. He said the president, prime minister and finance ministry seldom highlight these sufferings with the international community”.

    The issue is not that PM, PResident and Finance Minister do not highlight these numbers. The issue is no body believes the $70 billion number or $80 billion that Zardari mentioned a few days back. If these numbers were true, Pakistan would not have been so keen to reopen the GLOC in lieu of CSF. Also please note that money spent fighting your own internal insurgency whether against BLA or TTP is no concern of the world. Every country has to fight its own battles and the world does not fund it for that.

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  • Dr.A. K.Tewari
    Dec 11, 2012 - 3:31PM

    It is in the interest of Pakistan to fight with terrorists and to project the humane face of Islam to get support from the rest of the world for her servival otherwise…….?

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