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FATA

OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GOVT

The balance of payment crisis has been aggravated by major currency devaluations taking place over the past few months, the Rupee plunging 15% since December last. Surprisingly the currency has appreciated by 4% .e. Rs 7.00 since Imran Khan’s elections on July 25. The State Bank having had to raise interest rates, the current-account gap widened by 43% in the last fiscal year with foreign-exchange reserves dropping alarmingly to $ 9.1 billion. While a China- sponsored “bailout” is rumoured, the newly elected govt might approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These loans come typically with strings attached i.e. curbing fiscal deficits, tighter monetary policy, etc one can expect even tougher conditions given that many structural reforms promised to the IMF were either delayed or not done by the previous govt. The US being front and center in any IMF initiative, one can also expect another boat of “do more”.

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RECONNICTING AFGHANISTAN

The lack of economic opportunities for the populace in Afghanistan is a major impediment to peace and stability. Without an adequate industrial base and/or agriculture infrastructure, guns-for-hire in abundance as a means to finding income is neither conducive for foreign direct investment nor for domestic entrepreneurial initiatives. That a small elite cabal with fixed mindsets returned after the fall of the Taliban to occupy seats of power in Kabul, does not help.

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THE ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY

No Army in the world can stand by and tolerate continuing bad or criminal governance or both. The application of the doctrine of necessity does become necessary sometimes in unambiguous circumstances of “clear and present danger” to the existence of the State, it goes wrong when those that apply it forget that their role is limited, to support technocrat governance for a short period and not become part of it. Because armies of the world are not equipped for governance, beyond a certain period they overstay their welcome and because of the ambitions of a few become an occupation force by default, with adverse results for their image among the public.

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Today at Davos

Despite dire predictions about continuity as PM due to the unbecoming shooting off his mouth that has left even his coalition allies aghast, Yusuf Raza Gilani is gracing the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Summit 2012 at Davos, coincidentally the man who could well replace him in the future as the PM of Pakistan is also in town. The Davos Summit is mostly participated in by leading world celebrities in govt, business or industry, academics, NGOs, sports, philanthropy, entertainment, media, etc. Imran Khan has been invited in his own right by the WEF. At least 75-100 Heads of State or Government come to the Summit, many countries send their Foreign, Finance, Trade ministers etc. Pakistan has been represented by the President or the PM for over 20 years, in 2010 Gilani came to DAVOS as the PM. Asif Ali Zardari declined his turn in 2011. No second guesses about the US$ 60 million question as to why Switzerland is a no-go area for our President.

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