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Key Economic Data 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
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)

Books on Pakistan


Update No: 019 - (22/08/07)

The state of emergency that wasn't
In August President Musharraf was very close to declaring a state of emergency on the basis of the wave of terrorist attacks which shook the country in recent weeks, but was reportedly warned by US Secretary of State Rice not to do so and decided to follow that advice. Having planned and failed to declare the state of emergency, Musharraf was perceived by some as weaker than before. There is real resentment at many levels of society at what is seen as American interference. Opinion polls, for what they are worth in Pakistan, say that 65% of urban Pakistanis want the General to quit. Polls also show that in the forthcoming parliamentary elections Bhutto's PPP is well ahead of the pro-Musharraf branch of the Muslim league (PML-Q), while Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League has been recovering support. How rural Pakistanis will vote remains however a mystery, but many members of the PML-Q are showing what their forecast is by asking Nawaz Sharif's PML-N to accept them back. A new blow to Musharraf in mid-August was the decision of the Supreme Court to allow Nawaz's brother, also in exile, to return to the country. This decision seems to indicate that the Court will also allow Nawaz and Bhutto to return, when it will soon decide on their cases. At the end of July Musharraf met Bhutto in Abu Dhabi to discuss future options and the two seemed to have reached a deal along the lines endorsed by Washington, whereby Bhutto would be allowed to return and the PPP would support the re-election of Musharraf, but he would then shed the uniform to become a civilian president. The Bush administration is pushing hard for a deal between the two, which could lead to a civilian Musharraf president and Bhutto Prime Minister next year. However, more recently Bhutto seemed intent on exploiting Musharraf's growing weakness and issued a statement that her party would not support a military president, seemingly hinting that she might now be demanding that Musharraf turns into a civilian before his re-election. Her room to make demands of any sort is limited by the fact that there are warrants for her arrest on charges of big-time corruption which could be served if she re-entered the country without a deal -effectively permission- from the Musharaff administration.

Musharraf's performance in Kabul
However beleaguered Musharraf might be becoming on the internal front, his performance at the Peace Jirga in Kabul in August was still remarkable. Although he had to pay the price of softening his tone and admit that support for the insurgents is forthcoming from Pakistani territory, he was able to convince the jirga that only a negotiated solution can resolve the impasse. Incidentally, this has long been Pakistan's position. By acknowledging even vaguely that support comes from Pakistan he drove home the concept that without the consent of Pakistan no solution to the conflict can be found. Winning the endorsement of the jirga might have been helped by the fact that most of the attending Pakistanis had been carefully selected by his security services.

Is China the future?
Some analysts believe that in the long term the alliance between the US and Pakistan is unsustainable, both because Pakistan will eventually have to decide between its two strategic allies, China and America, and because these theorists believe that rapprochement between India and the US can only take place at the expense of Pakistan, although this seems to relate to an earlier era, given the substantial thaw between India and Pakistan over the Musharaff years. That Musharraf is beginning to find the role of a constantly interfering American ally increasingly uncomfortable, might be shown by his earlier reluctance to attend the joint Pakistani-Afghan Peace Jirga in Kabul. Having initially cancelled his trip, he was then 'advised' by Rice to attend and to deliver a conciliating speech. 

Another indication that such a process of re-alignment has already started, even if slowly, is the little commented upon decision of the Pakistani government to join the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a full member. Pakistani currently holds observer status at the SCO and Foreign Minister Kasuri declared at a recent meeting of the SCO that Pakistan will pursue full membership. One would have guessed there might have been a long and fraught telephone call from Secretary Rice about that!

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