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Pakistan  

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PAKISTAN


  
  



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)

Books on Pakistan

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
803,940

Population
162,419,946

Capital
Islamabad

Currency
Pakistani rupee

President
Pervez Musharraf

 

Update No: 010 - (28/11/06)

ADB promotes Pakistani economic management
The ADB now project GDP growth at 7% for the current year (which ends March 2007). This would represent a modest acceleration from the previous year, when GDP grew at 6.6%. In part this acceleration would be due to a recovery of the agricultural sector, which was hurt by a drought last year and is now expected to see 4.5% growth, as opposed to 2.5% last year. Not all crops are expected to be doing well, with cotton in particular suffering from heavy rains. However, the main factor of accelerating growth is expected to be the industrial sector, which should reach 9% growth from 5.9% last year. The weakest performance is expected to come from the services sector, which should slow from 8.8% last year to 7.1% this year. The Bank sees last year's increase in investment continuing this year, particularly in the textiles, cement and fertilizer, but with construction and energy also doing well. Foreign investment is expected to boost growth in the oil and gas sectors. Even within the services sector there will be areas of strong growth, such as telecommunications and banking. To complete a positive economic outlook, inflation is expected to decline to 6.5% from 8% last year, based on the stabilisation of oil prices, the stagnation of agricultural prices due to increased production and a tight monetary policy. Tax receipts, traditionally a weak spot in Pakistani economic policies, are also expected to grow significantly this year, not only because of strong GDP growth, but also because of a series of measures taken by the government, such as the taxation of real estate transactions and higher rates on some financial services. There are however expected to be negative sides too in Pakistan's economic performance this year. The ADB still sees inflation as higher than it should be. Moreover, the current account deficit is seen as growing further to 5.9% of GDP, from 4.4% last year. The trade balance will be deeper into red too, at 7%. Finally, power shortages are emerging as a significant constraint on the economy.

Rape not so easy anymore
Usually, Pakistani politics lag behind the economy. In November however a major development was the approval by the lower house of parliament of the amendment of the Hodood Ordnances, which abolishes the requirement of four male witnesses to prove a rape case. The law still has to be approved by the senate, but if it is, in the future the standard evidentiary procedures will be applied to cases of rape. The amendment, supported by Musharraf himself, has been hailed by secular elements as a major victory and has caused strong protests by the Islamists, even if as a pacifying concession the latter were allowed to introduce a law which considers sex between unmarried partners a crime. 

Shaky brinkmanship
Part of Pakistan's political trouble is certainly self-inflicted. After some signals that relations with India were improving earlier this year, the two countries are back to confrontation, with Pakistan taking the lead. On 15 November Islamabad tested a nuclear-capable medium range missile, soon followed by India's own test of a similar device. More worryingly for Pakistan, brinkmanship in managing extremist movements as a foreign politics tools increasingly shows its limitations and dangers. The Waziristan deal, hailed as the solution to turmoil in the North-west Frontier Province, appeared to be thrown in question by the suicide attack on an army recruitment centre, which killed 42 recruits. The attack was in response to an American-inspired raid against a radical madrasa a week earlier, in which 80 students had died. Managing both Washington expectations and a strongly anti-American public opinion is proving an increasingly difficult task for Islamabad.

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