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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: 057 - (26/10/10)

The army attacks
The generals have finally come out of political retirement and delivered a strong signal that are no longer going to tolerate Zardari’s mismanagement. They asked in October that the government be downsized and several ministers sacked. Zardari and the government refused to comply. It is even alleged that the army hinted that Zardari should leave the presidency in a not too distant future. Apart from the top leadership of the army, among the senior ranks contempt for the Zardari and Gilani government is quite open now. However the problem for the army is that no other civilian politician is ready yet to replace Zardari: Nawaz Sharif, the obvious candidate to replacing Zardari or Gilani, prefers to wait until the economic storm is over, presumably aware that he would not fare much better in office. The army itself has no appetite for taking power at this point in time. On the other hand, the army, has its own problems, as junior and middle rank officers are increasingly vocal in their criticism of the senior leadership tolerance for American raids in the FATA. The Americans are becoming increasingly effective in their targeting in North Waziristan and are hitting not just Al Qaida types, but also the Haqqani network, which of all Taliban factions is the closest to the Pakistani ISI.

Afghan plan facing more difficulties
The nervousness of the army is compounded by the fact recent progress in getting its ‘peace plan’ for Afghanistan on track, is being stymied by a new worsening of relations with Karzai, who is trying to exclude the Pakistanis from his attempts to start negotiations with the Taliban. Karzai was disappointed by the Doha talks over trade relations between the two countries when the Pakistanis refused to make significant concessions and treated him with what he considered, almost contempt. The Pakistani army vented its irritation at Karzai’s efforts to keep them out of the negotiations in a number of ways, including resuming provocations along the border and stopping ISAF supplies for 11 days from entering into Afghanistan. The Americans, faced with a dramatic situation in terms of supplies to the 220,000 contingent of military men and contractors inside Afghanistan, has had to appease the Pakistanis by offering more money to the army.

Staring into the abyss
In the meanwhile the economic situation gets heavier and heavier. Some sources project inflation at 25%, as prices of key foodstuffs double or treble. Sources from within the government claim that Islamabad has cash to pay officials salaries for just the coming two months, then the abyss will open up. The army fears that the military budget will be affected too and this might be one reason while they find it increasingly opportune to scapegoat the politicians. Despite the dramatic situation, Zardari and the Supreme Court are once again engaged in feuding over the latter’s push to reopen investigations over the Presidential corruption cases. The government claims that it is discussing ways to start raising tax from the country’s landed elite, but gives out little indications of when and how. Even Prime Minister Gilani and 25 of his ministers do not pay any tax at all, a fact that raises doubts about their commitment to speedily address the issue as demanded by donor countries. Despite all this, the government seems inclined to reject a proposed US$2 billion loan by World Bank and ADB for rebuilding infrastructure, saying that it can deal with the issue by re-allocating its own funds. The only good news is that the EU has promised to facilitate Pakistani export to Europe as a way to help the country recover from the floods.


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