Gen. Pervez Musharraf was candid and frank when he conceded
that popularity graph of his government had gone down although it has performed
well within the constraints inherited by his government. He, however, forcefully
dispelled the doomsday prophecies saying that "Pakistan may be seriously
ill but certainly not ferminally ill".
The Chief Executive has came out with voluntary self
assessment of his government while addressing the Pakistan American Physicians
Public Affairs Committee (PAK-PAC) in Islamabad last week. "If we were not
performing well, I would be the first person to be thinking of ways to bring
somebody else who can run Pakistan better. People however, expected much more
from us and that too quickly and we, because of obvious limitations, could not
achieve all that in a short period of one year and so many of them felt
What Gen Musharraf said in his typical Soldier like frank way
can be seen as the most appropriate and fair comments on one year performance of
his government. By any standard the performance of the present government has
been much better than any so called democratic government during the past 10
years. The present government may have failed to achieve desired results in many
areas but nobody can deny them the credit for more than satisfactory performance
in some other areas.
Unrealistically high expectations were awakened after the
dismissal of Nawaz Sharif government on Oct. 12 last year and when these
expectations remained unfulfilled, frustration set in. People expected a
revolution which has not taken place. The decline in economy has certainly been
checked but it has not taken a turn around. Harsh measure taken to reform the
socio-economic culture. The law and order situation has improved but the
conditions are not yet normal. Confidence is still to be restored. A year ago a
ruthless accountability of corrupt holders of public offices, and crack down on
smugglers was on top of the agenda of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, but this process
has been painfully slow while from a military government people expected fast
and swift action.
Despite these shortcomings the present government has
performed very well in certain areas. The on-going tax survey which this
government is determined to complete, will be the biggest achievement of this
government as it would have far reaching effects on our economy providing it a
stronger and stable base. The corruption, loot and plunder at the highest level
which was the hallmark of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif government during the past 10
years has been checked and controlled. Corruption does exist at the lower level
and it will take time to eradicate it. There has been a noticeable improvement
in the functioning in the public sector enterprises like WAPDA, Railways, Steel
Mills, PIA etc which were causing a total loss of Rs.100 billion per annum to
the national exchequer. This losses have been cut down drastically and some of
them have turned even black from red.
This is also a fact that the economy has registered a GDP
growth rate of 4.5 per cent, which though was less than the target of 5 per
cent, is higher than the previous year by 1.4 per cent. The emphasis on
agriculture paid of as the economic recovery has been led by this sector as it
achieved a growth rate of 5.5 per cent, despite a fall of 1.6 per cent in the
sugarcane production. The growth rate of major crops peaked to 9.6 per cent.
Rice output increased by 10.3 per cent, cotton as high as 27.7 per cent and
wheat production exceeded the target by 8 per cent over the previous year.
There are hopeful signs in the composition of investment. In
current prices, total private fixed investment increased by 9.4 per cent,
increase in manufacturing investment was 23.9 per cent and related 17.6 per cent
in construction. Public fixed investment in agriculture rose by 35.9 per cent
and private fixed investment in agriculture by 15.6 per cent. Budgetary Public
Sector Development Prograame was implemented to the extent of Rs.101.2 billion.
The Trade Policy for 2000-01 has fixed the target of
achieving exports worth 10 billion. The trade deficit has been brought down to
1.488 million during November-August 1999-2000. The exports have been increased
by 17.4 per cent during November-September, 1999-2000 reaching 7.389.9 million.
The import bill, which showed an increase of 8.2 per cent, import of food items,
fertilizers and machinery was reduced which managed to decrease the full impact
of the petroleum prices. A six-point strategy has been evolved to boost exports
with a target of 10 billion for the year 2001-2002. This strategy has already
started bearing fruits as exports were 17.4 per cent higher than the same period
of previous year. The Textile Vision 2005" has been constituted and it
hopes to take existing exports in textiles from 5 billion up to 14 billion by
For the first time in the history of the country, the
accountability process has initiated and action against former prime ministers,
former chief ministers, former federal and provincial ministers, former senior
most officers of the armed forces, former senior most civil service officers,
well-known businessmen, prominent agriculturists from all parts of the
federation. In fact this process has been started from the top most to the
lowest, including a Patwari. The NAB has so far recovered over Rs. 25.5 billion
following the impartial and even handed investigations and actions.
This also goes to the credit of present government that they
have not unduly interfered with the civil liberties of the people and the
freedom of Press. The General has repeatedly assured that he has no intention of
continuing military rule beyond October 12, 2002.