The present government repaid
the foreign debt of over $4 billion especially the expensive foreign
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
April 15 - 21, 2002
People will be exercising their voting right for or
against the presidential referendum regarding future of President
General Pervez Musharraf on April 30, 2002 in Pakistan.
Leaving aside the politically motivated elements
having a mindset about things and their party interests above
everything in fact it is the people from the grass root level who
matter and can give their verdict genuinely keeping the interest of
the country and the people in mind.
President Musharraf who took the charge as the
Chief Executive of the country at a time when Pakistan was swamped by
the foreign debt and its timely servicing had become a nightmare. It
was a situation when expecting for good in all spheres of life had
become a hope against the hope.
It was the time when people had started talking
about economic failure of the country.
Due to unfriendly attitude of the international
community in general there were fears that the country is going to be
declared as the failed state. The sword of default was always hanging
over; Pakistan was placed on the watch list by the United States and
the anti-Pakistan forces were campaigning for putting this country on
the list of terrorist state.
In the backdrop of the miserable conditions of the
national economy, a handful of the people was enjoying their fatty
purse at the cost of the poor of this country. These moneyed people
having their clout in the power corridor were above the board as well
as above the law. Nobody had the courage to ask these plunderers to
repay the looted amount running in billions of rupees.
It was for the first time in this country that
these powerful corrupt elements were brought to book and tried and put
behind the bar. It was also for the first time that these so called
strong and powerful people had to cough out the stolen money, they had
swallowed either from the banks on pretext of loans, misappropriated
in the public sector corporations or extorted the national wealth on
different accounts by misusing their powers while in the government
The process of accountability initiated by the
present government with a few exceptions has brushed aside the
misconception prevailing in the country that high-powered government
officials, political leaders or wealthy people in the private sector
are above the law. Across the board accountability process disproved
this misconcept and a large number of such so called towering
personalities were treated with an iron hand and were cut to the size.
On the economic front, the country had really
reached on the verge of collapse. It was really a hopeless situation
when one looks at the pre-September 11 scenario. It was a situation
when only a magic wand could have bail out the national economy from
the then worst ever crisis. It was the bold and timely decisions taken
by the present team which really helped revive the economy, as the
saying goes "The lady luck smiles at the brave only". Today
it is altogether a different situation when compared to the state of
economy prior to the first week of September 11. Pakistan has
respectable reserves of above $5 billion, which are expected to
increase up to $6 billion at the end of the current financial year.
The agriculture side, which is the spinal cord of Pakistan's economy,
is yielding better results reflected in the major crops despite facing
a drought like conditions in the country.
The wings of the huge foreign debt, which was
matching to our GDP size and crippling down the national economy, have
been clipped with better fiscal management and successful
rescheduling. The present government since its installation to date
has repaid the foreign debt of over $4 billion especially the
expensive foreign loans.
In the year 1999, after meeting the budgetary
allocations for debt servicing and defence, the economy was left only
17 per cent to meet out all social and development projects in the
country. Now as a result of tight fiscal management, good economic
reforms, the economy has now a space of over 47 per cent of the
receivables to look after the social development programme including
health, education and for the poverty alleviation in the country.
Although the impressive achievements of the present
government are enough to convince the people to go in favour of
President General Musharraf in the referendum, yet the fruits of these
achievements and reforms are still to reach at the door of the poor.
A common man generally feels that so what if the
reserves have gone up to over five billion dollar, so what if the PTCL
has earned over Rs20 billion this year, so what if the WAPDA has also
gone into profit running in billions of rupees, so what if we have a
surplus balance of payment this year when the share of these profits
is not reaching to the people.
Benazir government is blamed for raising the
electricity price from 75 paisa per unit to Rs4.75 but why the people
are being punished to pay the unbearable cost of the electricity. A
common man feels that he is working for the utilities, paying higher
telephone bills, exaggerated and inflated electricity bills,
unbearable cost of transportation and declining power of purchase.
Policy is required to be evolved in such a manner that the benefit of
these handsome achievements is also reached to the common man.