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Achievements of Pervez Musharraf's government

The Chief Executive has came out with voluntary self assessment of his government

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi, Islamabad
Nov 06 - 12, 2000

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 disappointed. "

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 2005.

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.