BY AKHTAR MALIK: 6 DEC 2013.
When the govt of Gen Pervez Musharaf came to an end in 2008 the foreign exchange reserves in the country were $ 16.4 billion. The Zardari-led PPP government played its destructive part and within 5 years the foreign currency reserves were reduced by about $ 5 billion. In May 2013 The reserves stood at $ 11.457 billion.
The PML-N govt came to power with a claim of thumping majority votes in May 2013. Many people considered NS as an experienced PM who knew the rules of rules of business and economics very well. They thought that he will make Pakistan economically as strong as his own business empire has become within a few years. But what this poor nation has witnessed is a horrible display of incompetency. The foreign currency reserves have dipped to around $ 8.4 billion in just 6 months! This means that the feat which was performed by PPP govt in 5 years have been accomplished by NS govt within just 6 months. The amount in hand is just sufficient to make only one payment of our import bill. It is horrifying to note that the foreign currency reserves are depleting at an astonishing rate of $ 550 million per week. With this rate the national exchequer is be totally empty before April 2014.
The performance of NS govt in this field is not unusual. In 1999 when the NS govt was toppled over by Gen Pervez Musharaf there were only $ 300 million left in the country as the foreign reserves. Many supporters of Noon league would say that since the dictator (Mush) was acting on the commands of America so he was getting lot of dollars. But how different the present govt is doing? Same policies of Mush and Zardari still continue, we are still fighting America’s war on terror and still suffering from drone attacks. So there is no reason why the dollars should not be coming to NS now.
I fear that under the govt of NS we are fast heading towards an economic disaster. Begging bowl has become our ‘national symbol’ and myth of ‘standing on own feet’ is far from sight. The NS doesn’t seem to be in any mood to recover the looted money from the corrupt people or to bring the illegal money hoarded by them in foreign banks. In this state of affairs any dream of making Pakistan as a respectful member of international comity of nations will remain elusive.