ISLAMABAD: General Musharraf’s martial law might have been a curse constitutionally and for many other reasons too, but a comparison of economic indicators between the last three years of the dictator’s rule and the first three years of the present champions of democracy, shows the latter pushing the economy to the brink of complete bankruptcy.
Official figures confirm that in terms of the GDP growth rate, inflation, budget deficit, foreign direct investment and public debt, the present government’s performance is far worse than what the situation was during the dictator’s tenure.
Poverty figures are not being calculated by the present regime amid fear that it has grown to alarming levels under Gilani’s regime. According to Dr Shahid Siddiqi, who is a reputed financial expert, the number of people living below extreme poverty line has touched the figure of 75 million whereas almost 110 million, out of total 180 million population, are faced with the situation of food insecurity.
Siddiqi said that because of the record rise in poverty in the country, the government is not issuing poverty figures for the last four years. Quoting official figures, Siddiqi said that the average GDP growth rate during the last three years of Musharraf’s tenure was 5.3 percent, which has gone down to all time low 2.6 percent during the first three years of the present regime.
Average inflation figure of the last three years of Musharraf’s regime was 9.1 percent, which has touched the figure of 15.3 percent during the first three years of Gilani government, which had promised bread, cloth and shelter to the people of Pakistan.
Referring to the budgetary deficit figure, he said that during the last three years of the dictator’s rule it was Rs1507 billion earlier, but it reached Rs2954 billion in first three years of the present regime.
Foreign direct investment was $14.07 billion during Musharraf’s last three years, but it has been reduced to $7.49 billion during the first three years of the Gilani regime. The public debt during the last three years of Musharraf rose by Rs2,400 billion, but it increased by Rs5,500 billion during the same period of the present regime.
About the losses that the country had incurred on account of the US-led so-called war on terror, he said that the Pakistan’s economy lost $15 billion during the last three years of the previous regime, but during the first three years of the present rulers, his loss to economy was $40 billion.
The banker cum economist said that the present government even did worse as compare to its predecessor in terms of the GDP growth rate, the recovery of taxes as percentage of GDP and the total investment as percentage of GDP.
Dr Siddiqi said that the overall economic situation of Pakistan under the present regime is the worst in the 64-year history of Pakistan. He said that developing countries, including India and Bangladesh, are showing growth rate between 6.9 to 9.5 percent as against Pakistan’s 2.6 percent, which is the worst even in our own history.
He said that the public debt had jumped from Rs6700 to Rs12,000 billion under the Gilani regime with non-performing loan also having been unprecedented with Rs308 billion in 2008 and Rs594 billion in June 2011.
He said that the private banking sector is growing for the mere reason that instead of offering loan to private sector growth, the government has emerged as the major borrower from these banks, which are charging 12-13 percent interest from the government as against 5 percent interest that they pay to their depositors.