PML-N govt overcomes challenges
Courtesy:- S Rahman
PML-N government has passed through the mill and met challenges
coming its way one after the other with unprecedented perseverance,
sagacity, political will and determination with the result that the
country has made strides on all the important fronts including
counter-terrorism, economic revival, inflow of substantial foreign
investment, energy sufficiency etc.
The government inherited formidable challenges after winning the
general elections 2013. The challenges included an existentialist threat
from terrorism and religious extremism. In addition to that, the
revival of the economy was a remote possibility and the egregious energy
crisis, with all the accompanying debilitating manifestations, had
assumed alarming proportions. Even the nascent democracy needed to be
reinforced on a permanent footing and there was also the dire need for
improving the overall security situation in the country besides
redefining relations with our neighbours which were marred by conflict
In the war against extremism, the government showed a rare
commitment and courage to deal with terrorism, which no previous
government had the will to undertake. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, National
Action Plan (NAP) and targeted operation in Karachi are some of the
enviable outcomes of the policy of national consensus and reconciliation
dedicatedly pursued by Nawaz Sharif government.
Consequent upon the successful implementation of these initiatives,
the terrorists’ back has been broken and their entire infrastructure in
North Waziristan dismantled. Terrorists, their supporters and sleeping
cells throughout the country have been effectively neutralised and
Karachi is fast returning to normalcy as a result of the targeted
operation by the Rangers and the federal government and the military
leadership are determined to take it to its logical conclusion,
notwithstanding sporadic hiccups.
In Balochistan, the insurgency has been contained and now the
prospects of reconciliation with the estranged and exiled Baloch leaders
look very encouraging. As for the spate of recent most terrorist acts,
they are nothing more than acts of desperation by the defeated
terrorists. The elected and military leadership are resolutely unanimous
in going to any extent to root out the scourge of terrorism.
On the economic front, the government has been able to orchestrate
discernible revival. In May 2013, the country faced a severe energy
crisis. Economic growth was stagnant at below 3%, inflation was at
double digit, interest rates were high, budget deficit was at 8.8% of
GDP, investment was on the decline, foreign currency reserves stood at
formidably low level and the country faced the prospect of an
ignominious default on IMF loans.
Two-and-a-half years down the line, the budget deficit has been
brought down to 5.3%, inflation has been brought down to 4.53%, credit
to agriculture sector has increased to Rs515.87 billion, development
spending has touched Rs427.67 billion, GDP growth rate has been enhanced
to 4.24%, per capita income has increased to $1513, stock exchange has
touched new heights, interest rate is at the lowest level in the last 42
years, tax recovery has increased significantly from a mere three per
cent to a mammoth 16.5 per cent, foreign exchange reserves have swelled
to $21 billion which is an all-time high mark in the economic history of
The confidence of foreign investors in Pakistan being a safe and
profitable destination has also increased as was evident from the
finalisation of $46b CPEC deal with China and $16b LNG deal with Qatar
with many other such deals in the pipeline with other countries. And the
response received in the auction of 3G and 4G and the overwhelming
acceptance of the Sukuk bonds from all regions also speaks volumes of
our economic revival. Nearly 59% were subscribed in US, 19% in UK, 10 in
other European countries, 10 in Asia, 8% by banks, 7 percent by hedge
fund and 1 percent by insurance companies and pension funds. And
although the country faced disaster in the face of devastating floods
and astronomical expenditure has incurred on Operation Zarb-e-Azb and
NAP’s implementation and debt servicing, the turnaround in the economy
has been achieved.
This success story has not gone unnoticed in the world as it has
been repeatedly endorsed by the international money lending institutions
and rating agencies as well as the international media.IMF has shown
confidence in the reform agenda pursued by the government which is amply
demonstrated by continuous release of tranches after quarterly reviews.
ADB and World Bank are also on record to have testified to Pakistan’s
The other day, the visiting World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim,
in his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed full support
for the tough economic decisions of the government in the area of
structural reforms and acknowledged the fact that Pakistan had achieved
phenomenal success in improving the security situation, arresting the
burgeoning energy crisis and in bringing about macro-economic stability.
Kim also remarked that escape from the risk of bankruptcy that Pakistan faced in 2013 was a big gain for the country.
In energy sector, the government has already added 3,000MW to the
system and power producing projects with an aggregate production
capacity of 10,000MW have already been launched which are likely to
generate electricity by the end of 2018. Not only that, the government
is also contemplating to add another 14,000MW in the years to come.
Another 6645MW of early harvest projects in the energy sector are
on the actively promoted list. The prime minister inaugurated 100MW
Solar power unit at Bahawalpur recently which will come on stream by the
end of December and would eventually produce 1000MW electricity. Two
more units with power producing capacity of 300MW and 400MW which were
jointly inaugurated by the visiting Chinese president and Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif will also be constructed on the same site which will
become operational by the end of next year.
In the domain of foreign relations, a new narrative wedded to the
cause of promoting peace in the region and creating economic linkage for
a shared prosperity, has been evolved. Pakistan has been making
strenuous efforts in promoting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned
reconciliation in Afghanistan and fostering cooperation between the two
countries in fighting terrorism. And despite some hiccups along the way
there is a renewed hope of getting things back on the track.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also made positive overtures towards
India for the revival of the suspended dialogue between the two
countries. Another positive diplomatic development is that Pakistan has
become a full member of the SCO, ground breaking ceremony of TAPI has
finally been performed, and relations with Russia have been put on a
higher level. Russia will build a gas pipeline between Lahore and
Karachi involving a cost of $2 billion and both the countries have also
concluded a defence deal.
There is no solid data on record to rebut this success story as all
the foregoing development scan be verified with actual facts and
figure. The country undoubtedly is far better off than it has been in
May 2013. There is a discernible change in all spheres of the national
life. The ambience of gloom has been transformed into vibrant optimism
and it is hoped this progress and development would go a long way in
boosting the already buoyant economy.