ISLAMABAD –Pakistan’s economy has suffered direct and indirect losses upto US $67.93 billion due its role as a frontline state in operations against terrorists, miscreants and militants since 2001 besides causing damage to its social fabric. According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2010-11, the events that transpired after 9/11 in Afghanistan worsened the security environment in the country. The war on terror has spread especially since 2006, like a contagion into settled areas of the country that has so far taken lives of over 35,000 citizens and 3,500 security personnel. It said that the war affected the country’s exports, prevented the inflows of foreign investment, affected the pace of privatization program and slowed down the overall economic activity.
The survey said that it reduced import demand and tax collection, expenditure over-run on additional security spending, damaging domestic tourism industry; destruction of physical infrastructure (military and civil) and massive surge in security related spending.
“Pakistan has never witnessed such devastating social and economic upheavals in its industry, even after dismemberment of the country by direct war”, the Survey said.
It added that hundreds and thousands of jobs could have been created had economic activity not slowed as well as thousands of jobs were lost because of the destruction of domestic/foreign tourism rise in expenditure to support internally displaced persons.
“Pakistan’s investment-to-GDP ratio has declined from 22.5 per cent in 2006-07 to 13.4 per cent in 2010-11 with serious consequences for job creating ability of the economy”, it added.
The Survey observed that while the economic situation was worsening, the new elected government took power in 2008 and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs constituted an inter-ministerial committee to assess the direct and indirect cost of the war on terror on Pakistan.
The ministries of Finance, Interior and Commerce and some other relevant government departments plus the representatives of two provinces bordering turbulent Afghanistan participated in these deliberations.
After few sessions and valuable inputs from all sides, the committee estimated the cost of war on terror and its impact on Pakistan’s economy and society, it added.
According to the survey the committee, at the start of the war, the cost of it to the country was estimated at $ 2.669 billion in fiscal year 2001-02.
But the country continued to pay a heavy price in terms of both economic and security terms, it said. “The economy was subjected to enormous direct and indirect costs which continued to rise from $ 2.669 billion in 2001-02 to $ 13.6 billion by 2009-10, projected to rise to $ 17.8 billion in the current financial year (2010-11) and moving forward, the direct and indirect costs to the economy are most likely to raise further, the Survey observed. (Monitoring Desk)