ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pakistan: Demise of an Economy

Issues in Pakistan's Economy by S Akbar Zaidi; Oxford University Press, Oxford (also OUP Karachi), 2000: pp xvii + 462; price not given.

His son failed to understand why the father did not ‘go to work’. The father was working at home after his long stint at the Applied Economic Research Centre at the University of Karachi had been terminated. If not for the unfortunate victimisation, Akbar Zaidi would probably not have found the time to accomplish a work, which by all standards has become truly impressive. Issues in Pakistan’s Economy (IPE) is a big-sized and solid volume, the writing of which must have been, as the author writes in his opening statement, “a challenging and often daunting task”.

Like the government of India, the government of Pakistan yearly brings out its Economic Survey. It provides basic statistics on agriculture, industry, foreign trade, fiscal policies, social indicators, etc, and, since Pakistan has started earlier with its bash with globalisation, may contain the trends which India will be subject to in a couple of years’ time. Most distressing are the figures on debt and debt repayment. Of the total resources (Rs 567 billion, including Rs 142 billion from external resources) ‘only’ 145 billion was spent on defence and as much as 276 on debt servicing, i e, 49 per cent. It does not need much calculation to appreciate how much is available for all the other government tasks.

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