On the eve of general elections in the country on
Oct. 10, 2002 all national dailies contained a paid supplement titled as
years (1999-2002) of reforms and good governance which explained the
chaotic conditions under which President Musharraf took over and how,
through his sincere and sustained efforts he has been able to bring
about a significant improvement in every sphere of national activities.
On economic front it claimed a complete turn around.
The country which was on the verge of default and described as a failed
state by our detractors in 1999 is now blessed with a historic reserves
of over 8.5 billion US dollars after meeting all its liabilities and has
won a position of respect in the comity of nations.
It was reported late last month that Musharraf
government was preparing a white paper which will point out the
conditions prevailing in Pakistan before Oct. 12, 1999 carrying out the
seven point programme specified by the President and military government
achievement, during the past 3 years. The paper which was compiled by a
committee headed by the cabinet secretary and comprising Secretaries of
Information and Economic Affairs was to be released, after its final
approval by the President, with a big fanfare, later however, it was
considered advisable to release it quietly to the press and ensure its
full publication by leading national dailies on payment.
The "paper" claimed that on October 12, 1999, the
military intervened to pull the nation out from a grave crisis, one that
threatened the very foundations of the state. But staring the new
leadership in the face was a huge wreckage, the work of the past decade
and plus of "elected" rule, a period euphemistically described by very
many as a "wasted decade".
Wreckage littered all around. No sphere of national
life had escaped Annihilation State institutions had been bludgeoned
into ineffectiveness, political interference in official functioning had
become a routine and the bureaucracy was politicised and pulverized."
The national economy was in a shambles, lurching from
one crisis to another, due mainly to weak macroeconomic management, lack
of commitment to difficult structural reforms, freewheeling decision
making and rampant corruption; National debt had soared to worrying
heights. Default was threatening the nation all the time. Yet, populism
and pork-barrel had come to sway the economic field as much as had
corruption and sleaze. Unpopular but indispensable difficult reforms
were avoided like plague.
Nepotism, cronyism and favouritism had been ennobled
into honoured traits, merit, honesty and transparency were demeaned into
a taboo. In the guise of privatization, the family silver was doled out
to favourite cronies and hangers-on. Financial institutions had become
tools of political patronage and profit. Stories of corruption in high
places were making waves at home and abroad alike, grievously tarnishing
the image of this nation in the world's eye. So much so, globally
respected moral watchdog Transparency International at one time ranked
Pakistan as the world's second most corrupt country.
Externally, because of this dismal domestic
predicament, Pakistan was getting increasingly isolated amidst the fear
that it could become a parish state. The country's options had been
drastically constricted to conduct a foreign policy in keeping with the
President Musharraf's government was thus confronted
with formidable challenges, both internal and external. And none was
amenable to a quick fix; all required a sustained, systematic and
painstaking effort to face up to them. It took up the challenge in right
earnest. And, arguably, it has reversed the nation from the suffocating
darkness of despair to the enlivening light of hope.
Recounting its achievements in the economic field the
paper said that despite various exogenous shocks of extraordinary nature
such as the persistence of catastrophic drought, the aftermath of
September 11 episode and India's border standoff, economy has turned
around, making progress during the last three years. Pakistan's economic
situation has stabilized; sanity is brought back in economic policy;
confidence of the private sector has been restored Nobody talks of
default; nor any one now calls Pakistan a failed state.
The paper also recounts the present government
reforms and development increase in the field of education, health,
human resource development, poverty alleviation, public welfare creating
safe socially by combating terrorism policy and reform and rebuilding
state institutions, curbing corruption and improving inter provincial