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State Bank of Pakistan

BANK FAILURE NOT AN OPTION

Over the years many highly developed economies with sophisticated markets and long functioning banking systems have faced significant banking crises or banking failures. The role of Central Banks is critical in not only preventing and/or pre-empting failures but acting to resolve matters should the bank fails. On the macro level banking failures can result in cyclical recessions and could also trigger a financial crisis. Securing depositors’ interest ensures that bank’s failure does not lead to “domino effect” resulting in systemic failure, “run” on financial institutions can have horrendous consequences for their country’s economies. Tremendous economic pressures has been force-multiplied by Pakistan being in a state of war for four decades, how has Pakistan’s banking sector managed to be so resilient?

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DEMOCRACY & NATIONAL SECURITY

Developed together by the institutions of the Pakistani state (including the military), national security has to be based on a common understanding about what the national interest of Pakistan actually is and how the national interest can be separated from the disparate political, economic and military interests that might exist. A consistent national security strategy and a common understanding about what is Pakistan’s national interest can only be developed by a process of informed analysis and debate thereof between the major institutions of the state, with the people of Pakistan an integral part of the process, not only involved and taken into confidence about it but with vital interest in the outcome.

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Protecting the Guards

A decade or so ago a joint venture foreign (JV) security company was using non-armoured vehicles (known as “soft” vehicles) to transport cash alongwith their armoured vans. Cash cannot be transported in quantity except in armoured vehicles, it is against the law but it costs 4-5 times more to operate an armoured vehicle over a soft vehicle. Over a period of several years more than 50 of their guards were killed and many more injured in various incidents when dacoits attacked their non-armoured vehicles and sprayed them with automatic fire. Ultimately when a girl bystander was killed in the crossfire between the company guards and dacoits in a busy street in Lahore, the Lahore High Court (LHC) took serious notice and ordered compensation.

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Looking Forward with Hope

The Annual Report of the State Bank of Pakistan for the financial year 1986-87 examines a number of imponderables, drawing attention particularly to the malaise in the economy because of weaknesses in financial and planning policy of the Government. Despite adverse weather conditions, a higher growth rate of 7 percent was achieved but with no significant remedies for structural weaknesses such as deterioration in public finances and the balance of payment situation, with the Government forced to resource to bank borrowing for budgetary support, particularly in view of the adverse public reaction to the initial annual budget. The significant achievement of the State Bank Report was that it was candid and gave a lucid summary of the ills pervading the body economic. Congratulations are in order to the authors of the Report for expressing with candour for the first time the deep need to restructure the basis for economic planning. It is a clear signal to others involved in the business of statistics that the business of Government is apt to suffer if perceived through rose-tinted glasses.

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