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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: 013 - (22/02/07)

Still friends after all
During January the position of the Bush Administration on the attitude of the Pakistani government towards the 'war on terror' was clarified by the testimony of director of national intelligence Negroponte to the Senate, in which despite mentioning the existence of strongholds of Al Qaida in the NWFP he also called Pakistan a 'frontline partner' in that war. Negroponte had appeared to be critical of Pakistan in December, leading to speculations that the Administration might finally be coming round to put pressure on Musharraf concerning Afghanistan and NWFP. Negroponte also seemed to imply that the US should do what they can to shore up Musharraf's position, which he sees as difficult in the run up to the parliamentary elections. This seems to imply that American pressure on Musharraf has reached its peak and will increase no further. Sources in NATO claimed recently that Pakistani, including ISI, are now 'fully' cooperating in the fight against the Afghan Taliban. In at least some cases, the Pakistani air force was reported to have intervened in fighting Afghan insurgents around the border area. Certainly, the Pakistanis have been cracking down on Afghans crossing the border. More sophisticated technologies have been introduced, such as biometric checks of retinas and fingerprints. This is causing protests particularly by the tribes which live across the border, who often cross it to visit relatives, trade, smuggle, etc, since time immemorial. The fencing of sections of the border has also started. On the other hand, the planned Peace Assemblies to be held by Afghanistan and Pakistan continued to move slowly. Pakistan established a jirga commission in January, but there seem to be still little agreement between the leadership of the two countries on the exact role and meaning on the initiative.

Big plans for the tribal areas
The Pakistani government has recently announced plans to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), of which the two Waziristans are part, into the NWFP. The move would effectively end the autonomy of the FATA tribes but will only be implemented once the local militancy issue will have been resolved. On the other hand, such prospects might make the pacification of the FATA more difficult. Almost at the same time the NWFP governor, Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai, announced that Rs130 billion will be spent on the development of the FATA until 2015. Already over the past five years, the development budget of the FATA was increased from just Rs800 million to Rs69 billion annually. A FATA Development Authority has been formed and it will involve the private sector in its activities through joint ventures. 

Liberal credentials
During February the government continued its offensive to establish liberal credentials with an eye to the forthcoming elections. The latest development is the amendment of family laws, so to grant women forced into unwanted marriages the option to dissolve the marriage. On the economic reform front, the government has announced the privatisation of the state oil company and three state banks. These privatisations are part of wider plans to sell US$15 billion of state-owned companies over the next five years, in order to contribute to the repayment of US$36 billion of overseas debt. A previous attempt to sell the state oil company had failed in 2004 because the bidder failed to honour its commitments. There seems to be strong interest among international investors for the banks, particularly from Britain where Standard Chartered has already a stake in a Pakistani bank. The general trend of foreign investment in Pakistan is positive. According to the Central Bank, foreign investment in Pakistan reached US$3.3 billion during the second half of 2006, as opposed to US$3.5 billion during the whole of the 2005/6 fiscal year.

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