Wednesday June 19, 2024

Pakistan suffers $123.1 bn losses in terror war

By Israr Khan
May 26, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Since Pakistan became frontline ally of the United States in war on terror 16 years back after 9/11, the economy of this developing country suffered a whopping $123.1 billion cost on account of loss of lives, economic opportunities and damage to the country’s infrastructure. 

As Pakistan’s current GDP volume is $304 billion, this huge loss is 41 percent of the country’s total economy size. This indicates that two-fifth of the economy not only went in the air but it also further damaged the economic growth of the country.

According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2016/17, this huge number has been worked out after thoroughly investigating the effects of war on the national economy for the last 16 years. The war on terror has been drastically affecting our economy, exports, physical infrastructure, tax collection and investment and our social fabric. Since the insurgency started in Pakistan following the US invasion of Afghanistan, more than 60,000 Pakistani civilians, security forces personnel and women and children have been killed in gun, bomb and suicide attacks. Besides, thousands of others have been seriously injured or handicapped and are unable to win bread for their children which ultimately also created other social issues in the society.

On average, every year Pakistan suffered losses of $7.7 billion -- more than the country’s total expenditures on education, health and other social safety schemes.

In recent years, security situation has improved to some extent, largely due to successful counterterrorism efforts of the government under the framework of the comprehensive National Action Plan, backed by an extensive and highly effective counterterrorism operation Zarb-e- Azb by the armed forces, and actions by other security and law enforcement agencies and intelligence-based operations across the country. After successful completion of Zarb-e-Azb, a country-wide operation Raddul Fasaad has been launched for eliminating any residual or latent threats.

After the US invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan saw a huge influx of Afghan refugees as one of the main host countries. There was a sudden rise in the number and scale of terrorist attacks in the country. The cumulative impact of these developments adversely impacted the overall growth rate in all major sectors of the economy. Normal economic and trading activities were disrupted, resulting in higher costs of doing business and significant delays in meeting the export orders around the globe. As a result, Pakistani products gradually lost their market share to their competitors. Economic growth could not pick up as planned.

In fiscal year 2017, $3.88 billion (Rs407.2 billion) losses to economy were recorded, sharply lower than $6.49 billion in fiscal year 2016, Pakistan’s Economic Survey revealed.

The survey gives further figures, saying that in 2001/02, the cost was $2.67 billion, 2002/03 $2.75 billion, 2003/04 $2.93 billion, 2004/05 $3.4 billion, 2005/06 $3.99 billion, 2006/07 $4.67 billion, 2007/08 $6.94 billion, 2008/09 $9.18 billion, 2009/10 $13.56 billion, 2010/11 $23.77 billion, 2011/12 $11.98 billion, 2012/13 $9.97 billion, 2013/14 $7.7 billion, 2014/15 $9.24 billion and in 2015/16 it was $6.49 billion dollars.

Pakistan continues to be a serious victim of terrorism, including foreign-sponsored terrorism from our immediate neighbourhood. A substantial portion of precious national resources, both men and material, have been diverted to address the emerging security challenges and to repair damaged infrastructure during the last several years. In addition to economic losses, cross-border terrorism in Pakistan has also been responsible for untold human sufferings due to indiscriminate, brutal terrorist attacks against civilian population.