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Rajiv Gandhi

A Year of Satisfaction

This has been a year of mixed fortunes for Pakistan, in final evaluation it must be regarded as a satisfactory period, successfully negotiated. In economic terms we are in such desperate straits that the requirement for Banks collecting Haj money to be deposited with the State Bank of Pakistan after a 14-day period has been shortened to 24 hours. The financial cupboard is bare and that is not a political statement, it is a testament of failure of policy that has tragic overtones for a hapless population. It is not fair but the government of Ms. Benazir is likely to be saddled with galloping inflation and widespread unemployment, which is not a legacy of Gen. Zia (who had no pretensions of being an economic genius) but a heritage from the Junejo period, compounded in the last six months by the chameleon policies of the most powerful economic technocrat ever in Pakistan. If there is a lesson to all this, it must be that essentially all Third World countries should treat acquired foreign qualifications in economic management with care, if not outright suspicion. There is a sick joke going around that while previously the first prize for good economic management was the Chairmanship of the Senate (sic Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan), it may now well be the ultimate reward for ruining the economy of Pakistan, perhaps the only appointment in the country from where Dr Haq cannot cause further harm to the economy.

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