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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: 055 - (26/08/10)

Yet more trouble
The floods which his Pakistan in August have greatly compounded the already complicated situation of the Pakistani government. The inefficient response of civilian structures to the disaster, plus the initial seeming indifference of President Zardari, who initially opted to travel abroad, have strengthened the perception of an ineffective and indifferent government in the mind of many Pakistanis. Zardari was stuck with a popularity rate of just 20% even before the floods, compared to over 70% who say they like Nawaz Sharif, the leading opposition politician. The summer had already started badly for the Pakistani government; it seemed to be doing well at least on the Afghan front where its informal offer was made to broker negotiations with the Taliban, but the Wikileaks revelations concerning Pakistani support for the Taliban have damaged Pakistan considerably. It is now going to be more difficult for Washington to allow Pakistan to play such a brokering role, because public opinion has been alerted about Pakistani double-dealing. The row with the new British Prime Minister, who (perhaps) carelessly accused the Pakistanis of meddling in Afghanistan during his visit to Islamabad, has contributed to Pakistanís sense of isolation from the West. The head of ISI, Gen. Pasha, cancelled his trip to the UK, presumably in protest. British PM Cameron was certainly not very diplomatic in his remarks and in the end intelligence cooperation between the two countries is bound to resume, but the series of incidents might have shaken the confidence of the Pakistani army that it could manipulate its western allies indefinitely and without taking serious risks. At least the Americans are no longer putting pressure on the Pakistanis to start operations against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan; perhaps this is a result of Pakistaniís offer to mediate talks with the Taliban.

The damage caused by the floods is believed to be bound to bring the deficit to 8% this year, as opposed to a 4% IMF target, which was going to be missed even before the floods. The agriculture of the country has suffered the greatest damage and the textile industry will have to import cotton in order to continue producing. The consumer price index is also expected to rise, because of increases in transport and food prices. On the positive side (at least as far as the government is concerned), they now have a good story with which to respond to IMF objections. The floods have mainly affected the North-West frontier province and some observers now fear that the dismal performance of the government might strengthen local sympathies for the Taliban. The Pakistani government is now lobbying the IMF to ease the terms of its loan, in consideration of these damages.

Weak government, strong army
The weak coalition in power in Islamabad has also been shaken by ethnic clashes in Karachi, pitting Pashtuns against mujahirs following the murder of a member of parliament. Both the Pashtun ANP and the Mujahir MQM support the government; their infighting in Karachi prompted Prime Minister Gilani to visit the city. By contrast the army has been quite effective in its relief effort to the areas affected by the floods. Although some fear that the situation might be conducive to a military coup, in reality neither the army nor the political opposition want that: Nawaz Sharif could easily create much more trouble for Zardari, but destabilisation is not in his interest as he is confident he will soon be in power through legal ways. Zardari has moved closer to the army and opposition in stating that he is open to talk with the Pakistani Taliban.  



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