It’s still the economy, stupid, in Pakistan

October 13, 2009

A few weeks ago I asked a Pakistani diplomat what was, among the multiple threats facing the country, the single biggest challenge?

It wasn’t al Qaeda or the Taliban, it wasn’t the United States as many Pakistanis believe. And it wasn’t even India, for long the existential threat the military and succeeding generations of politicians have invested blood and treasure to checkmate.

It was the economy which has virtually ground to a halt as the global recession erodes exports and investment, the diplomat said. Fix the power shortages, win investors back and get the economy moving, the tide of militancy could begin to be pushed back.

You could of course argue that the miitancy itself has sapped the economy and if it weren’t for the militants, Pakistan would have done far better . So tackle them first, and the economy would take care of itself. In the light of the attacks of last week and this, that certainly would seem to be an overiding immediate objective.

But the diplomat’s point was that the opportunities created by an expanding economy would, in the longer term,  make it a bit less likely for young men to gravitate to a hate-filled career of violence in the name of religion.

The suicide bomber who struck in Shangla near the Swat valley on Monday was apparently in his early teens, one report put his age at 13.  Was he from the impoverished masses that the Taliban have increasingly turned to, to carry out the attacks ?

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quereshi told National Public Radio that the Taliban had been “extracting out of poverty and the misery of people.” If the people were educated and enlightened they wouldn’t join them, he said. And it doesn’t stop at Waziristan or other parts of the northwest where the Taliban and al Qaeda are operating out of. It may well be also Punjab in the very heart of Pakistan; its poverty stricken, feudal dominated southern part with a  large illiiterate population a huge pool to tap. 

The Kerry-Lugar bill that has so riled many in Pakistan for what are seen as humiliating benchmarks is aimed at boosting Pakistan’s social and economic development which its planners hope will ultimately drain the swamp in which terrorism breeds. The assistance is intended to fund a range of projects, including Pakistani schools and roads, agricultural development, energy generation, water resource management and the judicial system.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister  Shaukat Tarin has warned that if the U.S. aid didn’t come through because of objections at home the deficit would widen further forcing the cash-strapped government  to borrow further.

 Last month, the Asian Development Bank cut its forecast for Pakistan’s economic growth to 3 percent in the year to 2010. Some others are predicting even lower growth, as little as 0.3 percent which must be the weakest pace in five decades.

It wasn’t like this before.  If you just wanted to do a basic comparison Pakistan grew at 5.2 percent between 1965 and 1980, while much larger India plodded at a slow 3.6 percent. The lead continued during the 1980s as Pakistan grew at 6.3 percent and India followed at  5.5 percent . It was only in the sixth decade after partition in 1947 that India really began to power ahead with growth rates of 9 percent. With a population aroiund seven times  that of Pakistan, its absolute GDP dwarfs that of the neighbour and makes India look like a heavyweight in the global arena.

Is that reason enough for Pakistan to pull up its anaemic economy by the bootstraps?

[Picture outside the army headquarters in Rawalpindi and a woman walks past a coal dump in Karachi]


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What economy,

The Saudis will take care of the economy. Some more hunting permits have to be auctioned, that is all eaver01/Weaver01.html

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

It’s still Kashmir, stupid, in Pakistan!

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Economy won’t get votes for uneducated politicians! Kashmir sure will!

Posted by ANdy | Report as abusive

Sanjeev, perhaps the title of this blog should be revised to say:

“Its not India, it’s still the economy and the corrupt Punjabistani Army mismanagement of Pak Money, stupid, in Pakistan”

As Indians, we welcome forward thinking Pakistani’s who actually acknowledge and know that Pakistan’s problems are caused by its own doing and NOT the U.S. or India.

With regards to the Kerry Luger bill, I can see how it angers the Pak Army, that they don’t get a red cent of it:

“The assistance is intended to fund a range of projects, including Pakistani schools and roads, agricultural development, energy generation, water resource management and the judicial system”

–>How dare the U.S and the world try to actually help and establish stablizing, bonafied institutions that threaten the business model of the Pak Army Mafia, that has brought nothing but shame, mismanagement and terrorism on the Pakistani people.

I can see how the Pak Army is angered by this. They cannot exist in power, if people become educated and smart. Smart intelligent people will challenge their grip on power.

Again, Pakistani’s should be grateful at the aid being given by Obama. As always, no good deed goes unpunished.

Obama should continue to support institutions in Pakistan that encourage equalization and sharing of power in Pakistan and educating all peoples, regardless of ethnicity.

North Punjabistani’s take note, you need to start tightening the belt a little and share more with everybody else in Pakistan, with regards to money, resources and power. If you don’t, other ethnicities will want to separate from Pakistan as they are growing tired of being treated like rodents.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

You are spot on, in addition to the economy Pakistan needs a reorientation in foreign policy and ‘zero problems with neighbours’ policy which Turkey is following. I was reading an article about the recent Turkish-Armenia peace agreement, also that the 1999 earthquake opened the door to political rapproachment between Turkey and Greece.
If such a thing happens between India and Pakistan it will benefit Pakistan’s economy too. Whether its direct bilateral talks or back channel diplomacy, unless Indo-Pak relations improve to the point where trade and aconomic links are established Pakistan will continue to be economically dependend. Pakistan needs a stable economy and independent foreign policy.
I will go with the argument that if there are more economic opportunities, that will stem the tide of millitancy. Onus is on India as well to some extent to fix relations with Pakistan, in return Pakistan needs to redefine its position and interests.
But obviously there can be no text book solutions to the problems, we are still way behind other nations in resolving disputes and making economic progress. Only if lessons can be learned quick enough, a lot of resources can be saved and channeled into the right direction.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

US should occupy Pakistan like it did to Japan and Germany for 2-5 years and bring good governance to the people of Pakistan before it’s too late!

Pakistan leaders are so short-sighted and irresponsible that this country will never be able to stand on it’s feet without US intervention!

I can’t find a single honorable visionary leader in the whole country!

Posted by Roman | Report as abusive

Lets just call it a stupid economy!


The onus lies squarely with PAKISTAN, arrest and prosecute the baby killer Hafiz Saeed before you talk about improving relations.

STOP making excuses and arrest the monster who is living like a national hero amongst you. You have plenty of other heros like Dawood Ibrahim, AQ Khan, Bin Laden and Musharaff (sorry we are keeping Ajmal Kasab away from you).

Read through the link and see what the country’s economic future looks like (it doesnt even include topics like future water crisis or the growing energy problems).

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive


If economic misery is the root cause of militancy in Pakistan, why is India which has a huge population under poverty still a functioning democracy?

You have completely ignored the overt breeding of Islamic militancy by the Pakistani military establishment from thr 1980s till now. To avoid any direct blame, now they are called them as “non state actors.”

FATA and NWFP have always remained illiterate, poor and backward for ages. It was Pakistan that helped the Taliban to grow to its sinister dimensions. So long as what they created was directed outwards, Pakistan was all peaceful. After Chechnya, Bali, 9/11, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Kashmir, Somalia the world has laid a seige around Pakistan. The elements it created are trapped and have started eating the guts of Pakistan.

Economic backwardness is definitely a breeding ground for grooming terrorist activities. Here it is combined with religion and acts of vengeance by the Pakistanis. Their plan was originally to destroy India. But it became a global problem. Now they are playing like victims. They need to be punished for what they have done to others. And they are being punished by their own militants. Now they are at war with their own citizens. It is not economic misery that is responsible for today’s situation. It is their military establishment that has gone out of control. It is not there to protect the nation. It needs the nation to protect itself. It will never let any stable government settle down. When governance is missing, where do you get education and jobs from?

The core source of the entire problem is Pakistan’s military establishment. Until no one admits this, there is going to be no solution in sight.

Posted by KP Singh | Report as abusive

You make me laugh again?

Why Pakistan’s economy depends on India? Pakistan can have free trade with N. Korea, Saudi, China. Why India?

Any thoughts about reciprocating the MFN status?

Wait for 3-5 years and see what China does to your economy, environment and natural resources! There won’t be anything left to complain about! US can give aid, but US can’t replenish your natural resources or de-contaminate your environment!

I still want to ask you: (a) There about 180 other countries. Why India? (b) Sending terrorists to Mumbai, Delhi, Kashmir is best way to improve relations?

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

So how can somebody help? It is so hard to reason with mullahs and military?

Kerry-Lugar bill (US aid) can fix Pakistan’s economy! But mullah-nomics (military-mulllah alliance) won’t let that happen!

Just let’em go! Save the migraine!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

I did not imply that Pakistan’s economy depends on India, nor trade links with India can gurantee that Pakistan’s economy will flourish. Above all, I also stated that we (India & Pakistan) are way behind other nations in resolving longstanding disputes.
China and Pakistan are always strategic partners in defence industry and economic cooperation, India can be an option too but not in the near future.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


When it comes to relations with India, the economy is not a priority for Pakistan. If it were the economy then Pakistan will not constantly puts Kashmir as the only central condition for improving ties with India.

Under the SAFTA, India has given the Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan for improving bilateral trade. It’s Pakistan which has not reciprocated to India’s gesture. Similar free trade arrangements have worked very well with India-Sri Lanka and India-Bangladesh. I’m sure it will work with Pakistan if it folds the terror camps and the attitudes.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

‘Paranoid’ Pakistan Furthers Instability In Afghanistan, Pulitzer Prize Winner Says  /10/pakistan_afghanistan_india_ste.html

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

Pakistan has a severe dependency issue. No other country has made it as big a priority to extract every last morsel of charity and goodwill as Pakistan has. Their politicians frequently travel abroad on fund raising junkets and appear on foreign TV interviews with their greasy palms oout stretched asking for help. Sometimes they ask for aid, at other times it is loan forgiveness and then sometimes it is the oh so noble “trade not aid” plea. It is hard to recall another nation, however misfortunate, that has scooped to such an undignified level – perhaps they should think of adding a Visa/Mastercard logo on their flag? But then again, we are talking about a country whose politicians routinely need foreign intervention to resolve petty mutual squabbles. They lease significant chunks of their arable land to the rich Saudis for agriculture. And the chinese are building a naval base in Balochistan. So much for sovereignity!

The Kerry/Lugar bill is the first, albeit small, step in asking Pakistan to get its act together if it wants any more bakshish. I am all for cutting off aid completely if it cannot act as a responsible, civilized society and refocus on development of its people rather than be a trouble maker on an international scale. If we can show tough love to those innocent bears in the national parks by asking sightseers not to feed them then we can ask a country to grow up and to go get a real job rather than sit home and make trouble.

Posted by Lester Burnham | Report as abusive

If fired, Haqqani threatens to unveil ‘reams’ of Pakistan’s secrets ewspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/1 4-Oct-2009/If-fired-Haqqani-threatens-to -unveil-reams-of–Pakistans-secrets

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive


“It is pertinent to mention here that expenditure on defence and debt servicing eats up most of our resources, leaving very little amount for development”

“Pakistan will have to arrange huge amounts of foreign exchange in future to arrange payments for the debt that the present and previous government has accumulated,” says an economist”  ?page=20091011story_11-10-2009_pg5_8

No wonder US has to provide for food and clothing for Pakistanis, when military generals are busy playing golf and having Champagne parties!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

‘Paranoid’ Pakistan Furthers Instability In Afghanistan, Pulitzer Prize Winner Says
– Posted by Sameer

“Paranoid” is an inaccurate, inappropriate word to characterize what “pakistani ideologues” feel towards India. It implies they are afraid of India. No, they aren’t!!

The idea is to appear to be afraid, claiming to be afraid to (1) milk lot of aid money and other military support from the US and other (2)provide cover for the grandiose, geostrategical games (3) justify and indulge in anti-India agitation.

Paks talk about 1971 all the time, but 1965 came after 1971. Between 1947-1971 the paks were providing financial and logistical support for anti-India, sessionist activities from E.Pakistan.

Things are not supposed to have worked out this way. Pakistani ideologues were (religious) supremacists and were utterly contemptupuos of the idea of India as one country, and both the British and Pakistani ideologues strongly believed “Pakistan” had better prospects of becoming strong country than the silly idea of India.

Things have turned out to be the opposite. Why is this important?

Sponsoring terrorism, agitation, war mongering are all attempts to achieve parity with India. And they have been largely successful up until very recently. That’s why we still read Western columns starting the “South Asian rivals”.

Further proof is in the claim that a few million Kashmiri muslims needing a “just” solution is the reason a country of 170 million is unable to focus on economy.

Posted by Raj | Report as abusive

correction- meant to say 1971 came after 1965 war started by Pakistan.

Posted by Raj | Report as abusive

Trade with India is one of the easiest and fastest ways by which Pakistan can control inflation and positively impact the standard of living of its people. However, it will almost certainly result in a trade deficit in India’s favor given that India has a larger, more developed economy and therefore produces a greater variety of goods and services that pakistanis need.

Although any trade deficit with India will substitute for current higher deficit trading with more distant partners, it is still a trade deficit with a historic enemy. This fact alone makes this easy “trade-not-aid” decision unpaltable for the pakistani politicans in this case.

The pakistanis would rather kiss up to the Chinese and hope for the best. The Chinese, unlike the naively idealisitic americans, play the aid game a little differently. They will inevitably find ways to exploit pakistan’s natural resources from timber to seasfood to mining, seek further access to its seaports or overland routes to increase their own trade and, worst of all, flood the pakistani markets with cheap goods made in state subsidized factories that will choke nascent pakistani entrepreneurs.

Pakistan has a better chance to develop competitively if it trades with its next door neighbor rather than dance with the devil.

Posted by L Burnham | Report as abusive

India dismembered Pakistan in 1971 was that also a friendly gesture? India is against doing its mischievousness by interfering in helping the separatists in Baluchistan by using its 17 consulates in Afghanistan that has been proven by the proofs supplied to their PM by the Pakistani PM. This is the real purpose of their consulates to damage Pakistan nothing else. So Pakistan is facing two enemies right now the Taliban and the Indian destabilization in the heart of Pakistan territory that no one writes about in the biased western press.

Is this paranoia or real facts that Pakistan has to consider? Also after the Mumbai attacks it was not Pakistan that built up the hype of attacking Pakistan and put all their Army on the border and India tried unsuccessfully to attack by air two times and failed. All this is proven!!!

It seems that all Indians including their Government is paranoid!! When the attack on Mumbai had started they Indians were saying on media with no proven reason the Government of Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai attack it seems that all Indians are paranoid that Pakistan Government is involved in all attacks in India by contrast??

Posted by RATEE | Report as abusive

Umair: “Onus is on India as well to some extent to fix relations with Pakistan, in return Pakistan needs to redefine its position and interests”

Mr. Umair,

You talk as though India is waiting at your gates for alms. India does not need Pakistan for its survival. It only looks at Pakistan like a person living next to a violent and criminal minded neighbor. Cautions have to be raised in such a situation. We are a decent nation. We’d like to have good diplomatic relationships with all countries in the world. Pakistan is no exception. But your country somehow thinks it can impose conditions on India for a diplomatic relationship. What your countrymen do not realize is that you are not in a position to dictate terms to anyone. If you threaten others with your nukes, that is not what civilized nations do. And India can defend itself is it faces such a situation. Realize that India can simply walk away and do whatever it wants. Your country cannot impose conditions like stopping constructive projects inside Afghanistan or suddenly resolving the Kashmir issue to Pakistan’s satisfaction. As far as India is concerned, it has already resolved it. The Shimla agreement was made in 1972 to negate all previous settlements on Kashmir. It does not matter if Pakistan reneged on the agreement and began to violate international codes of conduct in regards to the LoC. Pakistan has not been able to make a dent on India with militancy. So it is up to Pakistan to think what it should do for itself.

Your countrymen’s sympathy for Kashmir Muslims resembles crocodile tears. It is obvious to us that it is the anti-Indian venom and the urge to get at India that is driving Pakistan’s Kashmir passions. If your countrymen were sympathetic to fellow Muslims, I saw none of you condemn China when Uighurs were brutally assaulted by your Chinese friends.

The only solution left here is not Kashmir resolution. It is the dissolution of anti-Indian hatred and venom in the hearts of all of you. Indians in general are relatively easy going and are reacting here on this forum mainly because of what your countrymen have been doing against India. If you leave us alone, we will do the same for you. That is the first step towards diplomatic relations between our two countries. Let us see if you can do that.

Posted by KP Singh | Report as abusive


Let me finish this blog off. As long as Pakistani Punjabi Mafia has iron grip on power on Pakistan, Pakistan will never recover, economically, because the Punjabi’s own all the money and hence power there.

From the Pak Armie’s own desire to bleed money from Pakistan’s coffers to their own pockets to the corrupt civilian puppet leaders who keep soliticing cash from other nations on behalf of the Army, so that it can keep its proxy wars alive, is it any wonder, that this is not a sustainable business model to drive Pakistan’s economy?

Pakistan’s entire inner bane of existence is to hurt India and beat them at cricket. Pakistan has not and will not create anything for itself or redeeming for the world as long as the civilians do not control the Army and its purse strings.

Pakistan will never have a true economy worth of 170,000,000 population, as long as Army has grip on power. It is best if Army surrenders all power to Zardari and the elected civilian government, Army surrenders ties with Saudi Arabia Wahhabi Deobandi Terrorist funding machine and allows capitalism to thrive in Pakistan.

Capitalism is the best defence against Wahhabism. OBL and Taliban Militants fears Wal-Mart and its kind the most. The mighty band of mindslave jihadis would have to compete with WalMart and MacDonalds for warm bodies to do work. Put the poor to work and they will not have time to commit terrorism or be pre-occupied with killing Indians. In effect, more people need to be a part of the economy in Pak.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Lester: You are Spot-on. Thank you!

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive

Kashmir dispute (if there is one) is between Kashmiris and Indians. What has Pakistan gotta do with it?

What “just solution” you want? Plz be straight, specific and objective!

Pakistan is illegallly occupying 40% of the Kashmir and INdians/Kashmiris are nice enough not to ask that back! What more do you want?

If Pakistanis can’t take care of what they have got, why Pakistanis think they deserve more?

Posted by ANdy | Report as abusive

A reader has suggested Paksitan promote trade with India as one way way to fight its way out of the slowdown. The country would be better off tying its economic fortunes to its much larger neighbour India as it powers ahead than turning to China and countries further afield to resuscitate the economy. Former Pakistani ambassador Javid Husain wrote an interesting piece a couple of months back where he argued that Pakistan must focus its energies in accelerating economic growth so it surpasses Indis. To that extent he called for a “firm but non-provocative policy towards India including confidence building measures, dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation”. The thrust of his argument was that while India could not be trusted and that it remained a “hegemonistic power”, Pakistan must not get so caught up in this that it loses sight of the basic objective. here’s the link : 3&id=6944

Posted by Sanjeev Miglani | Report as abusive

‘No change’ to Pakistan aid bill! 06061.stm

US rejects Pak army’s concerns!

Democracy survives for now in Pakistan!

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive


Could you PLEASE stop repeating yourself on this blog. I noticed that you just copied and pasted the same comment you typed in ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan: is it time to ditch AfPak?’

Pakistan’s economy is a worry for Pakistan. Textile orders have been cancelled because companies know that due to the power shortages and load shedding that Pakistani textile mills will not be able to provide the goods.

1 Euro = 123 PKR
1 GBP = 133 PKR
1 USD = 83 PKR

Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to remain unchanged at two per cent in the 2009/10 fiscal year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. The government’s GDP growth target for this July-June fiscal year is 3.3 per cent. (DAWN, 14/10/2009)

Economy is not the only worry now: 90,000 flee homes in South Waziristan (DAWN, 14/10/2009). Add to this that food prices to stay high.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive


Your this blog is excellent, but many points raised in your blog , I hate to disagree.

Today, globally, every body except Pakistanis, talk about economic development, growth , trade , employment etc. But Pakistanis talk about “K”, India factor , nuclear weapons , violence , terrorism.

Pakistan is a failed state and no amount of aid or assistance can not help Pakistan and its people. Pakistanis need to shed their image as a global champion of islamic causes, running school for teaching jehad

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

Wasted money
An estimated $1.8 billion in US military aid went to Pakistan in 2008, a report by Harvard University said — but corruption in the Pakistani Government meant that only $300 million reached the army.

Other reports in 2008 claimed that up to 70 per cent of US military aid to Pakistan had been misspent.

The US State Department said terror attacks more than doubled in Pakistan from 2007 to 2008, to about 1,800.
(Times (UK), 14/10/2009)

With the $1.5 billion a year that Pakistan will receive, but no Pakistani body will process this money. All aid will be processed via a special body through the US embassy in Islamabad. Seems like the Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi had a wasted trip to Washington DC to reach a compromise to weaken the stringency of the US aid.

The economy will not recovery for a long time yet and there will be no expectations of loan write-offs.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Great post Sanjeev. You are spot on. The economic threat is the gravest one in the long term. And not just for the benefit of Pakistanis. A strong industrial base is essential for national security. Today Pakistan GDP ensures that it would not be able to withstand a war for much more than a fortnight much less actually win one.

However, in the short term, I do believe that security is essential. You can’t have development without security or we’d be winning in Afghanistan already. For this the Pakistanis have to get serious. They have to stop worrying about which group or leader is an asset and which isn’t. There should be no distinction between militants. Those that attack Pakistan should be treated the same as those that undertake mischief in Afghanistan and India (because such actions inevitably ruin Pakiistan’s national image overseas in turn deterring investors). It’ll be painful but they need to take on some short term pain for long term gain.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive 3&id=6944

– Posted by Sanjeev Miglani

Javid Husain is right. Unfortunately, for a lot of Pakistani (particularly in the dominant military establishment) such a view is heresy. Imagine a day where Pakistan focuses on attaining economic growth rates above those of India. Sadly, that day is a long way off as long as Pakistanis view economic growth (through some trade with India) and their national security as a zero-sum game. In the end their faltering economy will simply ensure that they will never be able to challenge India and will simply be resigned to second-class status in South Asia. And who’s fault is that?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

PoK (Pak Occupied Kashmir) Leaders ask INdia to rescue them from Pak-Chinese occupation!,po k-leaders-justify-india-objection-chines e-projects.html

Posted by Roman | Report as abusive

Before Pakistan earned independence, the raw material like cotton was grown in the area now in Pakistan, however no cotton mills were constructed there. It’s only after independence that we had cotton factories there. So any dependence on India with respect to trade will take Pakistan to the pre-Independence dark ages.

Posted by Nasir | Report as abusive

Out of the 7.5 billion dollars which would be given to Pakistan,atleast quater a billion will be used for funding terrorist activities in India and elsewhere.The rest will go to the pockets of pakistani politicians and the army to buy weapons to fight India.The ordinary pakistani will continue suffering.

Posted by Anshu | Report as abusive

The piece by former Pakistani ambassador Javid Husain brings up nothing new. The cost of confrontation with India is much higher for Pakistan than they would like to admit.

Such recommendations to focus on economic growth and trade with a bigger neighbor would apply to a regular country. Not to Pakistan, an ideological state. One key pillar on which this ideology was erected was Pakistan is the inheritor of the glory of erstwhile muslim empires in S.Asia, As I have posted elsewhere, a much more stronger, more powerful India was not visualized at the time Pakistan ideology was conceived
> 70 years ago.

Indian “hegemony” is a code word by the practitioners of this ideology to demand India should NOT conduct itself as its size, economy, diplomatic stature would permit, while Pakistan is free to punch way above its size and economy would allow.

Each and every single war was started by Pakistan, and one hilarious aspect –Operation Chengiz Khan –of the 1971 war was Pakistan initiated the proceedings by “pre-emptively” attacking Indian air bases on the western front.

There are so called “moderate” Paks who interpret the Pakistani ideology differently and say Jinnah wanted a modern, tolerant progressive state, etc. Except for one speech, there is no proof he had any vision or plan after creating a country based on this separatist/ supremacist ideology.

The so called “moderate” paks also totally share the anti-India envy, hostility and were looking the other way and smugly demanding Kashmir dispute should be resolved all through Pakistan army’s terror campaign in India the past 2 decades. Now they are wringing their hands and tasting their own bitter medicine.

Posted by Raj | Report as abusive


Is there any reason why you are deleting my responses? I wrote one to Keith’s response and it disappeared. There is nothing offensive in it and was relevant to the topic. If you feel otherwise, can you include it and have others judge it? I see a lot nastier posting in the responses than what I have written. I found two of my responses simply deleted. This is not fair. You are selectively deleting some responses even if they are not offensive and are relevant.

Posted by Mauryan | Report as abusive

We have a good discussion going and some great ideas going forward. I urge readers of the blog not to let it slip into attacks on each other or something equally offensive.

As you can see, we will clamp down on anything that is either irrelevant, offensive or inciting emotions.

Mauryan, I am not being selective. That is precisely what I am trying not to do. It would help if everyone kept an eye out for anything they thought objectionable was out there.

Posted by Sanjeev Miglani | Report as abusive

Main problem in Pakistan is CORRUPTION CORRUPTION and more CORRUPTION and it is ironic that this country is so proud to be a Islamic country and corruption and bribery are both strictly against the basic belief of Islam. I cannot believe that majority of the people are too busy preaching everybody else and they can’t follow the basic ideology of Islam. Power and water shortages didn’t happen overnight its been going on for the last 30 years and no one know how to fix and then all the Pakistani want to blame the rest of the world for their own incompetence. Shame Shame, may be it now time to wake up and smell the coffee or hot tea ? and try to do something for the future generation ………….

Posted by Majid Rashed | Report as abusive

Dear Sanjeeve
Most of good politician knows what Pakistan needs to be done but when their aim is different no one can do anything. Kashmir resolution is more important than their economy , Lashkare -Toeba , Jaishe Mohammad are dear to fullfill their dreams by forcing India . Humiliating and hating India is core Ideology of ISI, Mlitary and nonstate actors . Now it has become free for all , people like Moin Ansari are thriving by promoting hatred against India .
No one is bothered for poor Pakitani and they are themselves happy that military /ISI and non state actors are doing good to teach lesson to infidel India .For poor it has been made more impotant issue by these Mullahs rather than their Roti Kapara and Makan .People of Pakistan are being mislead by their own people/ leaders / Mullahs.Poor boys feel it is better to be militants/ fidayeen rather raeding non kuaran books , go to heaven by killing their own brothers who are on non Isalamic path.
Untill unles mindset of these people changes no developement is possible Pakistan.

Posted by Kumargold | Report as abusive

I think Pakistan needs to forget Kashmir.The facts on the ground are this.
GDP:$ 1.27 trillion growing @6-7% p.a.
$ 200billion + in FX reserves
1.2 billion people
G-20 nation

You should not base your foreign policy on the hope that this country is going to give you Kashmir it hasn’t budges in the past 60 years it won’t today.

Instead of pumping up a communal frenzy of jehad and shadat in your largely illiterate population(45% literacy of which 70%+ in madrassas) with disastrous consequences for your country(another bomb blast today morning)
You should realistically tell your population’look we can’t get kashmir but we can prevent our country from becoming Afghanistan if we pull back’.

I know its embarassing but those are the facts.Every day you waste on trying to ‘snatch kashmir from the kaffir’ is one more day you start to look more and more like afghanistan.

Posted by Shantanu Chatterjee | Report as abusive

Once the economy starts to show progress coupled with basic social changes, the situation in Pakistan will be improved

Posted by Sajeev | Report as abusive

If Pakistan Government still thinks that the conditions attached to the Kerry-Luger Bill are ‘unfair’ then they have not really taken a good look at their own and nor the Pakistan Forces mismanagement of previous monetary aid.

How America Is Funding Corruption in Pakistan

Here are extracts:

-But today, as the Obama administration re-examines the deal, there is devastating evidence that the billions spent in Pakistan have yielded little in return.

-For the last eight years, U.S. taxpayers’ money has funded hardly any bona fide counterterrorism successes, but quite a bit of corruption in the Pakistani Army and intelligence services. The money has enriched individuals at the expense of the proper functioning of the country’s institutions. It has provided habitual kleptocrats with further incentives to skim off the top.

-Long before the Bush-Musharraf agreement, money from such unsupervised budgets had enabled the Army to become one of the richest and largest industrial, banking, and landowning bodies in Pakistan. The military formed its own networks of political patronage, co-opting existing political parties with threats and bribes.

-Pakistan did not use the majority of the funds for the agreed objective of fighting terrorism. Instead, the money was used in the way it has been for the last six decades: to train and stock the Army for conventional warfare, with India viewed as the main threat. The Army spent the vast majority of U.S. funds on types of military equipment that are practically useless against terrorists. It bought an air defense radar system costing $200 million, for example, even though the terrorists in the frontier region have no air capability. The military bought F-16 fighter jets, aircraft-mounted armaments, and anti-ship defense systems. And the U.S. Department of Defense signed off on it.

-The rot goes still deeper. U.S. taxpayers paid $1.5 million to repair damage to Navy vehicles that did not see combat (the terrorists don’t have navies, either). Another $15 million went for bunkers that were never dug; $30 million paid for roads that were never built; $55 million went to maintain helicopters that were not, in fact, maintained; and $80 million per month was paid for soldiers to fight during periods when there was a cease-fire.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Pakistan has no economic person to make and decide the budget allocation. General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani decides the slice of budget for army which usually is more than required and leaves the rest for non army to fight like dogs.

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

While it is right to say that India surged ahead in the 1990, it is also worthwhile to understand that it is also in the late 80s, that Pakistan launched a self defeating policy of trying to nibble away at India. The reasons for this are very many but it needs to be mentioned that this spurt in anti-India activity, of trying to unleash a 100 cuts also contributed to Pakistans decline econmically without yielding any political windfall. Subsequently, other events at the turn of the century took Pakistan rapidly downhill. First Bhutto’s lust for power broke up Pakistan, Zia’s fundamentalist outlook and urge for revenge caused irreparable harm.

This is not to point fingers but merely to urge, that even now, with help from the US about to start flowing again, there is an opportunity for Pakistan to start a recovery. Is there anyone there with foresight and courage to change track?

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

To all Pakistanis,

Please accept our sympathies and support for what your country has been going through recently. No matter what the root cause of today’s situation is, innocent people’s lives are not expendable. At moments like these, the whole world is behind you. Let us all hope that Pakistani military wipes out these monsters once in for all. You have the full support of all of us. Do not feel discouraged by the spate of attacks by the militants. We will all pray for the well being of the innocent civilians and soldiers who are bearing the brunt of these mindless attacks. Let us all fight against global terrorism.

Posted by kp singh | Report as abusive

an excellent article by Azeem Ibrahimi. Hope US senators will read it. If only we could forward this to the Kerry and Luger duo. That too before they change their mind and remove the strings attached to the humongous loan.

Posted by Avatar | Report as abusive

A good article on the denial attitude of Pakistanis: -content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/03-T he-great-denial-ss-01

An excerpt:
“as is our own habit of ending up actually recognizing their (terrorist’s) many deeds as being either a sympathetic socio-political outcome, or, of course, a wild conspiracy by our many (largely imagined) enemies lingering on our borders.
The TV channels and drawing-rooms will be abuzz for a day or two discussing the mayhem, but very few Pakistanis actually take the time they get during the lull periods to reflect as to what has happened to their country and its people.
Instead, these lull periods are spent going right back to flexing our pulpy rhetorical muscles and sharpening of our non-existent teeth against our ‘enemies.’”

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Hey Umair and other Pakistanis,
Condolences and sympathies for your dead police officers and civilians!

Hope these events will convince ISI that terrorists are nobody’s friends! Hafeeez Sayeed and likes should be put in jail and their terror infrastructure should be dismantled!

Time is running out for Pakistan to act against these terrorists! No more peace deals or turning blind eye or my-terrorist-your-terrorist!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Pak police blames India after terror attacks and hides real terrorists! Some people never stop palying games with dead!  /Pak-police-accuse-India-after-5-terror -attacks-in-a-day/articleshow/ s

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

The interior minister, Mr. Malik, a confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, was prevented from entering the army headquarters on Wednesday for a ceremony he had been invited to, apparently because he has fallen into disfavor with the military command. asia/16pstan.html?em

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Poor Pakistan is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. It was Benazir Bhutto’s democratic government of Pakistan that chose of its own free will to facilitate relocation of Osama bin Laden from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1990s. Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national security advisor had told 9/11 Commission in March 2004 : “Pakistani Army was the ‘midwife’ of Taliban“. Ex-CIA official Bruce Riedel said in an interview on 1/29/2009 that ”In Pakistan, the jihadist Frankenstein monster that was created by the Pakistani army and the Pakistani intelligence service, is now increasingly turning on its creators. It’s trying to take over the laboratory.” Pakistani Army and Intelligence chose to create this ‘jihadist Frankenstein monster’ with full blessings and financing by Pakistan’s democratic governments in 1990s.

Declassified U.S. Department of State, Cable “Pakistan Support for Taliban” from Islamabad dated Sept. 26, 2000 states that “while Pakistani support for the Taliban has been long-standing, the magnitude of recent support is unprecedented.” In response Washington orders the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to immediately confront Pakistani officials on the issue and to advise Islamabad that the U.S. has “seen reports that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisors. [The Department] also understand[s] that large numbers of Pakistani nationals have recently moved into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban, apparently with the tacit acquiescence of the Pakistani government.” Additional reports indicate that direct Pakistani involvement in Taliban military operations has increased.

Declassified DIA Washington D.C., “IIR (intelligence Information Report) Pakistan Involvement in Afghanistan,” dated November 7, 1996 states how “Pakistan’s ISI is heavily involved in Afghanistan,” and also details different roles various ISI officers play in Afghanistan. Stating that Pakistan uses sizable numbers of its Pashtun-based Frontier Corps in Taliban-run operations in Afghanistan, the document clarifies that, “these Frontier Corps elements are utilized in command and control; training; and when necessary combat“.  /15/video-and-reaction-from-pakistan-on -another-day-of-attacks/

Posted by From Simple Simon #11 — NYT | Report as abusive

This may be politically incorrect to say… but perhaps Pakistanis need to experience some serious and grave economic turmoil before it grabs their attention. Perhaps when their survival is at stake, they’ll finally stop obsessing about competing with India and ensuring ‘their interests’ in Afghanistan.

And if the security situation gets any worse, they may well end up with exactly such a dire scenario. I doubt there are too many foreign investors today who would want spend their riches creating jobs in such an unstable society that spends their moments of stability obsessing over how to knock down their larger neighbour next door.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

@It was the economy which has virtually ground to a halt as the global recession erodes exports and investment, the diplomat said. Fix the power shortages, win investors back and get the economy moving, the tide of militancy could begin to be pushed back.”
–says Pakistan diplomat

@I will go with the argument that if there are more economic opportunities, that will stem the tide of millitancy.”
-says Umair

–I find ‘economy” an attractive but useless argument in Pakistan’s case. Why? Pakistan is not sincere in wiping out the terrorism and many Pakistanis do not still have the courage to say a terrorist a terrorist. How many Pakistanis are ready to say that terrorism of all kinds—whether against India, Pakistan or Afghanistan— must be wiped out? Same goes for the diplomat who threw some words for the press.

Pakistani have been repeatedly asked a simple question whether they consider LeT, JeM and their leaders terroists or not? They do not answer because they support these terrorists and they have been supporting them irrespective of whether they eat grass or not. It does not take a lot of money to get a guy to turn into a terrorist, it just takes one lecture in name of Islam and that’s it. This is a cost-effective method as far as personnel are concerned. The free money has always been available to Pakistan. A better economy of Pakistan means more terrorism, not less unless there is a willingness.

It is not economy stupid, it is the ‘SINCERE INTENTION’ to wipe out the terrorism.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

In 1991 India was facing a somewhat similar situation. The Tamil Tigers had literally taken over the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The locals were terribly irritated about it, but could do nothing as the Tigers had political support. But the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi ended all that. In an overwheming support, the people of Tamil Nadu and the rest of India stood behind the nation.

This was the time Kashmir, Khalistan and Northern Sri Lanka were burning. Suicide attacks were confined only to Sri Lanka and had not spread into the Indian mainland.
Many of us wondered if India would survive or not. The last national level leader had been dead. Everyone had question marks?

But in 1991, the Indian government took to economic reforms and the rest is history. However, there is one more factor that helped the reforms grow. It is the infrastructure. Despite all the corruption and calamities, India had built a very good foundation in higher education and industrial growth. There was an overall development in all direction which had matured enough to respond to the economic liberalization.

When comparing Pakistan, economic growth simply does not seem possible without the proper infrastructure. The only advanced establishment there is their military. It is comparable to many modern militaries in the world in terms of training and sophistication. But everything else is way far behind – education, health, agriculture, industries etc. It will take at least two decades of sustained growth in these areas for Pakistan’s economic growth to take off. They have wasted all the six decades of their existence by engaging in global conflicts and local conflicts.

An economically strong Pakistan could have had more clout in having a say regional issues. Unfortunately, Pakistani leaders botched everything.

I feel that it is too late to revive their economy. They have to settle all their militants first and rehabilitate them. Without an infrastructure and the ability to recover economically, the system will only degenerate more. Religious isolationalism is going to be a tall barrier to their progress. It is unfortunate.

It is too late to discuss about Pakistan’s economic revival. At least if they had oil like Iran does, they could have survived. With nothing to rely on, it is going to be even harder for them.

Posted by Mauryan | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s ISI still supporting the Taliban, say Afghans

Pakistan’s intelligence agency is directing Taliban attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan, Davood Moradian, a senior government official has claimed. s/asia/pakistan/6338349/Pakistans-ISI-st ill-supporting-the-Taliban-say-Afghans.h tml

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive

Mauryan said:

“When comparing Pakistan, economic growth simply does not seem possible without the proper infrastructure. The only advanced establishment there is their military. It is comparable to many modern militaries in the world in terms of training and sophistication. But everything else is way far behind – education, health, agriculture, industries etc. It will take at least two decades of sustained growth in these areas for Pakistan’s economic growth to take off. They have wasted all the six decades of their existence by engaging in global conflicts and local conflicts.”

–>In other words, Pakistani Punjabi Army Mafia Junta has robbed Pakistani potential and pakistani treasury dry to sustain its own selfish corrupt business model…that being keeping India an enemy, to artificially elevate its profile to justify the overbloated and unjustified budgets. The punjabi’s must be brought to account and pay.

When will Pakistani’s point their finger at their true enemy, the Pak Army?

Posted by GW | Report as abusive


Mauryan, as long as Punjabi Mafia runs Pakistan, you have no economy and only terrorism.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Pakistan is the only country in the world who’s economy is ‘terrorism-based’. The only industry currently growing & thriving in Pakistan is terrorism. It is in the interests of the Pakistani leaders (especially the generals) to expand this industry so that they can hijack the world & extract more $$$ form the global community. They know too well that the moment their terror industry subsides or shuts down, the world will cease giving them billions in aid.

Why care about agriculture, manufacturing or services when Pakistan can barely compete on the global level in any of those fields while they pretty much have a global monopoly over ‘terrorism’?

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Besides Terrorism Based Economy, TBE, There is also terrorism biased governance, TBG led by US… Good Terrorist Bad Terrorists theory, all under umbrella of UN

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

Adding woe to more woe:

Foreign Direct Investment falls by 58% in first quarter.
(DAWN, 16/10/2009)
Even China and Saudi Arabia decided to keep their money in safe instead of sending to Pakistan. China withdrew its investment while Saudi Arabia made a meagre investment of $1.4 million.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

@Sanjeev, Mortal,

Pakistan will always be creating terrorism and will never have an economy, as long as the Punjabi Army Mafia own the economy and own all the prestige and affluence in Pakistan.

The Punjabi nation in Pakistan has bled Pakistani potential and Pakistani economy dry. There must be a wealth transfer from the Punjabi’s to the other ethnicities at some point.

As long as punjabi’s hold all the wealth, they will continue to use their influence and money to use the poor in Pakistan to fuel internation terrorism against India and the world, their best business model.

I don’t see much changing. Any aid packages should not only be out of the hands of the Punjabi Army, but it should also be out of Punjabi Civilian hands as well. The Aid should be given to under privileged ethnicities in Pakistan, who have little or no political power, but have the desire and ability to have a seat in the Pakistani Parliament.

There is gross inequity in Pakistan, which is fueling terrorism. Therefore Obama, with is economic aid package is potentially making another mistake, giving it to the lying corrupt Punjabi’s(civilian or army, no difference), they are going to pocket the cash and as usual, they will squander it, eat it up and there will be nothing to show for it again.

Aid packages with greater condition on ethnic distribution to other ethnicities in Pakistan should be stipulated on further aid, otherwise Obama is blowing cash into the wind, giving it to the Punjabi’s.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

@Sanjeev, Mortal,

Also, I have spoken with Pakistani diaspora, who told me that the Pakistani Army people have the best and most expensive land and the Pak Army owns entire industries, such as textile, minerals, but hire the poor as slaves, while they get rich and line their pocket$.

Pakistan is little more than an army colony, where everybody is feeding the Army, while they get nothing in return, but Allah and Madrasas.

The corrupt culture of Punjabi ethnic supremacy is the true inner guts and face of Pakistan. They created the terrorism to keep their niche business model and sucker the poor and sucker America and India at the same time.

Let’s see if Obama is sharp enough to create the divide between Punjabistan and the rest of Pakistan, that survives on little or nothing.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive


“Unless Pakistan change their foregn policy and START behaving MORE like a resepectable nation,…”

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive


Corruption is everywhere———Chinese have that a lot at local province level where govt is missing and local politcians can do whatever, India has that in plenty and is hard to avoid it and so do many many other nations–just the degree of corruption varies. But corruption is not stopping India & China to move forward.

As said earlier and alluded to by other commenters, economy alone is not a factor in pakistan’s case. I will say it is not afactor at all. Single factor is the intent of the state and that is missing not withstanding the anti-terror actions of Pakistan-real or fake–post 9/11 after Bush’s arm twisting.

Even if Pakistan were rich, they would have continued to be in this mess for the simple fact that their foreign policy use highly objectionable tools–terrorism, nuclear proliferation/smuggling (I give [dis]credit to China for nuke prol but mainly to to Pakistan who served as a stupid tool of China). Unless Pakistan change their foregn policy and stop behaving more like a resepectable nation, economy bla blah will remain useless decibels for academic interest but of no practical utility to fix this nation.

Using economic parlance, Pakistan has heavily and only invested in the above mentioned objectionable tools and it is not working and so Pak is in mess. But countries like India, China and US have diverse portfolio and have something positive to speak about and I can see none in pakistan’s case. If history is any proof, Pakistan will not be fixed despite with econmy alone and the Pakistanis will really need to make as sharp and sincere U-turn in their intent not like a fake U-turn that Musharraf made.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Sanjeev & Myra,

How about doing a story about the corruption of the Pakistani army? A few years ago, I had read a story somewhere (unfortunately, I can’t remember where) which compared 2 senior ranking officers, one from the Pakistani army & one from the Indian army, their finances, net worth etc. Can you guys do something along those lines? Maybe it’ll help wake some Pakistanis up, who are being brain-washed daily by the Pak army propaganda machinery!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

PIA losses up by 204% in 2008.
KSE plunges 426 points in horror session.
Pakistan sugar imports lower than forecast: report.
(from Dawn)

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

The saying, “Beggars cannot be choosers” is seriously being tested by Pakistan. Not only did Foreign Minister Quershi go to Washington DC to ‘complain’ about the language of the KL Bill, but NOW Senator Kerry had to come to Pakistan to explain it AGAIN to ALL Pakistan govt levels including N. Sharif?

He said that this was a difficult time for the US economy and when allocating taxpayers’ money to foreign countries, lawmakers have to be satisfied about its usages. He said this was particularly true in the case of Pakistan where in the past Pakistani governments had allocated American money for purposes for which it was not meant.
He was asked questions to clarify the wording with regard to caveats associated with spending the KLB money on Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Senator Kerry said that those caveats were to make sure that Pakistan did not spend this money on purposes for which it is not intended.
Senator Kerry finished on a light note by saying that he had “never had so much difficulty in trying to give away $7.5 billion”. He said in these difficult times, Americans wanted to know why so much money was being given to Pakistan when “We need it badly in California or Oklahoma or other parts of the US”.
(From THE NEWS (Pakistani newspaper))

Senator Kerry was very clear in his answers over the conditions attached to the KL Bill. Pakistan gets a lot of American taxpayers’ money, then the USA have a right to know (and monitor) how it is going to be spent judging by Pakistan’s past record on US aid.

These are difficult economic times in the USA with 9.8% unemployed. So the Americans WILL want to know how the $1.5 billion a year is spent. Hence: Beggars cannot not be choosers.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

pakistani peoples are suffered since last 62 year in hands of militry and political parties. we check all leadership, everyone is currept and imbalance pakistan as he could. think about why not we offer china or dubai to handover pakistani goverment for five year as we elect over leader ship in election. and requist them to build pakistan as they build there own country. your comments required.

Posted by saeed khan | Report as abusive