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Pakistan lost Rs7,020 billion, got only Rs990 billion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economy has been facing the loss of Rs3 billion every day and Rs93 billion every month due to the highly controversial US-led war on terror for the last 46 months of the Gilani regime.

The State Bank of Pakistan had calculated a total loss of $68.9 billion till June 30, 2011 to the country’s economy due to the war on terror. However, after seven months of the current financial year this figure is estimated to have risen to almost $78 billion (Rs7020 billion=Rs7 trillion).

In return, according to official sources, Pakistan directly or indirectly (through NGOs and USAID) received around $800 million to $900 million per year aid making the total around $11 billion (Rs990 billion).

This means Pakistan lost $78 billion besides compromising its sovereignty, inviting terrorism, sacrificing more than 35,000 people including soldiers and other law enforcing personnel but in return received peanuts.

The money received under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) is considered a disbursement of what Pakistan spends on the war on terror, therefore, is not reflected as aid. Official figures prove that against its demand of around $13 billion under CSF, Pakistan received only $8.6 billion since 9/11.

According to official figures, the loss to the country’s economy due to war on terror was $28 billion during the six-and-a-half-year post 9/11 tenure of General Musharraf but this heavy cost of the so-called war on terror has jumped to $78 billion — an increase of $50 billion (Rs4500 billion) under Gilani’s 46 months tenure.

These figures prove that the financial cost of the war on terror on Pakistan’s economy has drastically increased during the present regime besides a phenomenal increase in the number of drone attacks and an all time high in Washington’s interference and breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Former secretary finance and the recently retired Chairman FBR Salman Siddiq told The News that annually Pakistan has been receiving, directly and indirectly, around $800 million to $900 million from Washington as aid after 9/11. He explained that a major part of this aid was spent by the US through NGOs and the USAID whereas a small percentage was received directly by the government of Pakistan from the US.

According to government statistics, under the CSF programme, Pakistan received $12.5 billion (in cash and kind) in the last 10 years. It includes $8.6 billion in cash.

The Pakistan Army recently explained through one of its publications that there is a misperception about the CSF, which is termed as American aid. “It is actually reimbursement of some of our expenditures which accrued in the fight against extremism and is not any aid,” the army explained, and added that out of $8.6 billion, the army got only $2 billion and more than 5.6 billion were used by the government.

“Similarly, $3.87 billion were deducted from the CSF by the US government for security assistance provided in kind i.e. weapons, equipment, training, services, visits and pay of US trainers etc,” the military publication said.

According to Dr Shahid Siddiqi, as per the government’s figures the loss to the country’s economy in 2011 due to war on terror was 8.5% of the GDP whereas the aid that Pakistan has received was merely 0.2% of the GDP. It means that we got 0.2% aid and lost 8.5% of the GDP merely to please the Americans.

In 2009, Washington committed $7.5 billion along with tough conditionalities to Pakistan under the Kerry Lugar Act but a small portion of this aid has come to Islamabad that too through USAID and NGOs.

As the cost of the US war has been proved too heavy for the otherwise already fragile economy of Pakistan, there have been more killings and far more drone attacks during Gilani regime as compared to what was the case during Musharraf’s regime.

During Musharraf’s tenure there were only nine drone attacks but during the last 46 months of the Gilani govt there have been more than 300 drone attacks, which killed thousands of innocents including women, children and the old.

Of late, 25 Pakistani soldiers were killed by the US-led Isaf-Nato gunship helicopters at Salala following which Pakistan has cut the Nato supply line besides vacating Shamsi Airbase from the US forces. However, Pakistan continues to be part of the controversial US war on terror despite two parliamentary and one all-parties conference resolutions, which asked for negotiated solution to extremism instead of military operations that continue in certain parts of the tribal areas.

There are no indications that the government despite gaining heavy losses, both human and financial, is not disassociating itself from the US war on terror. Instead, there are hints of the possible resumption of the Nato supply line in the coming few weeks.

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