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Key Economic Data 
 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
GDP
Millions of US $ 96,100 82,300 73,300 44
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 600 520 480 160
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 014 - (28/03/07)

Rogue Pakistan
Musharraf continued to fend off Afghan demands of a more proactive role in preventing insurgents from operating across the mutual border with retaliatory measures masked as compliance with those same requests. Under US pressure, the Pakistani security agencies seem to have stepped up pressure on the leadership of the Taliban, with one key commander reportedly arrested in February. However, little was heard of the man afterwards and he was reportedly released. Moreover, in March the Pakistanis announced that it will repatriate 2.4 million Afghans residing on its territory, on the ground that they represent a threat to national security. They will be given until 2009 to leave the country. Clearly, such a move would subject Afghan economy and infrastructure to a major strain. On the other hand, Pakistan is increasingly cast as a rogue state at least at the regional level. After India and Afghanistan, even Iran has started accusing it of offering shelter to extremist groups operating against its government. 

Musharraf's greatest mistake yet
Musharraf appears to have made a major mistake in sacking the country's chief justice, particularly for not having even bothered to present a serious justification for the act. Commentators believe that Musharraf might have feared that the judge might have forced him to relinquish the command of the armed forces, despite the fact that he appointed him two years ago. Masharraf's desire to continue to serve in both positions was clashing with Pakistan's constitution and pro-Musharraf and anti-Musharraf forces disagreed over whether a simple majority or a two-thirds one is needed to change the constitution. The chief justice would have had to pronounce himself on this matter, but most observers did not doubt that he would side with Musharraf. Even if in the past he had taken some bold steps, such as criticising the authorities over the disappearance of hundreds of suspects of anti-government activists, many were surprised when in February the judge expressed his opinion in public, that Musharraf could not continue to serve as both President and Chief of Staff of the army. The wave of protests which followed the sacking has shaken much of Pakistan's population from its apolitical torpor and is seen by quite a few as has having the potential to develop into a direct threat to the power of the General/President. Musharraf's efforts to build a liberal image in order to prepare the ground for a shift in alliances after the future parliamentary elections are now in tatters and attempts to rig the elections will face a more alert population. The PPP represents the real threat, as it maintains a fair degree of popularity, while Nawaz Sharif's PML has been greatly weakened by the fact that most of its base has split to form a pro-Musharraf party. A measure of how Musharraf has been weakened is also given by the fact that rumours started circulating concerning US plans to dump him. Although this seems premature, it is quite possible that policy and diplomatic circles in Washington might be exploring alternative scenarios, given the growing difficulties of their ally. Increasingly voices are heard in Washington, stating that doomsday will not necessarily follow if Musharraf falls. 

Securing Pakistan: difficult for generals too
Internally, Musharraf's popularity was beginning to be dented by the rising tide of terrorism and non-political crime, which the security agencies seem unable to control. Youth gangs increasingly hold sway over much of Pakistan's cities. Image concerns also did no good to Musharraf's popularity, such as when European countries banned PIA planes from landing there due to safety concerns. Even the policy of the government in the NWFP is coming under growing criticism for its inconsistencies. After having signed protocols with pro-Taliban elements in the two Waziristans, the armed forces have in some occasion carried out operations against militants, undermining at least in part the protocols. The result is a confused situation in the region, between war and peace.

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