Political turmoil may lead to an economic catastrophe; warns SAARC Chamber

LAHORE: SAARC Chamber Senior Vice President (SVP) Iftikhar
Ali Malik Friday said with the term of the present government coming to an
end, Pakistan is facing a huge economic crisis due to the prolonged
political turmoil, absence of viable business oriented policies, which may
lead the country to an economic catastrophe.
Talking to a delegation of city traders here, Iftikhar Ali Malik said if
the proper steps are not taken immediately to end political instability in
Pakistan, he feared that more of 70 percent business would be collapsed. He
said in the last 13 years, Pakistan has experienced both war and political
quagmire, including assassinations, bombings, sit-ins, demonstrations,
violence and armed clashes. He said that political instability, below the
mark foreign direct investment, high cost of doing business, politics on
mega projects like Kalabagh Dam, unemployment rising, millions slipping
below poverty line, women and children dying in stampedes for a few
kilogram of flour, exchange rate depreciating, fuelling inflation and
contributing to the surge in public debt have led to stagnant growth in
He said Pakistan also saw its relations with international financial
institutions deteriorating, the Friends of Pakistan showing reluctance in
providing financial support and hence overall balance of payment turning
negative, foreign investors losing confidence in Pakistan’s economy and
economic managers with consequent nose-diving of foreign investment.
Iftikhar Malik said it is strange that the incumbent government, claiming
to have a strong majority in parliament, has miserably failed to create
political stability coupled with sound economy in the country. “People
within and outside the country had a lot of expectations about political
stability, strengthening of democracy, rule of law and respect for
judiciary,” he added.
According to a rough estimate, value of coal reserves in Pakistan is 187
times more than the GDP of Pakistan and only 2% of Pakistani coal reserves
can generate 20,000 MW of electricity for almost 50 years.
In addition to copper and coal, the country has vast reserves of precious
stones, gypsum, salt and marble but instead of taking full advantage of
these God-gifted resources most of the share being exported in raw form. He
said that KBD will produce 3600 MW or 31.5 billion watts of electricity
that would cost only Rs2.50 per unit and country would be saving $ 4
billions annually in account of electricity generation just after 5 years
of KBD construction.
He said that stability is a key to making the country an economic giant
and this is only possible when all political parties sit together setting
aside their political differences to chalk out a comprehensive economic
plan for the betterment of the people of Pakistan.

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