Notwithstanding the essentially hostile propaganda of the detractors of the government and its political opponents in regards to corruption and economy, the government of PML-N has been credited by global corruption monitoring and rating agencies for its successful record in both the domains. The Transparency International in its fourth consecutive annual report has indicated a fall in the corruption index of Pakistan. Since 2013 corruption has declined by 19 points with the biggest nosedive of nine points during 2016.
According to the report Pakistan has achieved the distinction of being the second state in South Asia in regards to tackling corruption. That indeed is a matter of great pride for the country as well as the incumbent government, which has made credible efforts to eliminate avenues of corruption in the higher echelons of the government and different tiers of the government machinery. The reality is that unlike in the previous government, no mega-corruption scandal has been reported or unearthed by the excessively vigilant media and anti-corruption entities. The endorsement of the decline in corruption by a prestigious agency like Transparency International should silence those who are relentlessly engaged in soiling the reputation of the government by hurling unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against it.
The performance and achievement of the government with regards to the revival of the economy has also been repeatedly endorsed by almost all the international lending and rating agencies and they all have predicted higher GDP in the coming years. Reportedly Pakistan’s Stock Exchange Index continues to maintain its upward trajectory and has achieved the highest ever benchmark of 50,000 in regards to KSE-100 index. At the recently concluded moot of the World Economic Forum, the President of the forum and world leaders not only acknowledged the success story of the economic policies of the government but predicted a leading role for Pakistan in promoting regional connectivity. According to media reports published on 24 January the internationally renowned Fund Manager Emi Corporation has declared Pakistan among the six best countries most suitable for investment.
There could not have been a better exposition of the achievements of the government in the domain of tackling corruption and reviving the economy than the authenticity given to them by respective international forums. As the say, ‘facts speak for themselves’, the fact is that the present government through prudent management of the economy and structural reforms has been able to lift the profile of the economy and nudge a process of sustained economic growth. Budget deficit, which is considered to be the mother of all economic infirmities, has been brought down from 8.8% of GDP in 2013 to 4.2 % by the year 2016. GDP growth rate which was less than 3% stands at 4.71 %, the highest rate in the last eight years. Inflation has been kept at a single digit. They are all verifiable facts. The World Bank has predicted GDP growth rate of 5.1 during 2016-17.
The energy crisis that badly affected industry and agriculture sectors as well as the domestic consumers has gradually been checked and the government has been able to add 3000 MW to the national grid during the last three years, reducing power cuts. With the import of LNG the gas supply to the industrial units has considerably improved. By the end of 2018, the projects initiated under CPEC will add another 10640 MW electricity to the national grid. It is perhaps pertinent to point out that by 2030 another addition of 30000 MW is envisaged. That surely promises a prosperous future for the country. It is expected the completion of CPEC infrastructure and energy project by 2030, will add nearly 3% to the GDP growth rate of the country.
The CPEC is a fortune-changing mega-project for Pakistan and all the participating countries. Pakistan in its capacity as an economic hub for the region would be the biggest beneficiary. It is a national project and the government has made sure that it is not only nationally owned but also leads to prosperity of all the federating units. In this regard it has made relentless efforts to remove the misgivings of the federating units and those who have been trying to belittle the importance of CPEC. The government ensured the participation of the Chief Ministers of KPK, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan in the sixth meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee recently held in Beijing in which all the provinces have been given additional development projects for their provincial capitals in addition to the already promised ventures under CPEC.
The PML-N government can also rightly claim the credit for checking the phenomenon of terrorism in its tracks. It showed rare spunk by taking on the terrorist outfits based in North Waziristan through operation Zarb-e-Azb and in the wake of APS tragedy making a comprehensive plan to deal with terrorists and militant outfits within the country, both through the military muscle and a counter-narrative on the ideological front. Though the scourge has not been eliminated altogether, there is no denying the fact that incidents of terrorism have gone down by 70%. The fight against terrorism is a very complicated and a long drawn out struggle.
It is a fight against an invisible enemy with an ideological narrative, believed and enacted by its followers as an article of faith. Look at the history of the countries which had to endure similar situations and it would be revealed that it took them decades to surmount the menace. Our fight has just begun. The terrorists would continue to enact their dastardly acts as longs as their remnants are not completely decimated. The terrorism in Pakistan unfortunately also has foreign dimensions which makes it even more difficult to find a quick fix solution to this festering problem. Nevertheless there is no lack of commitment and determination on the part of the government and the security establishment in regards to taking the fight to its logical end and also to deal with the foreign sponsored acts of terrorism. The government and the security establishment have also been successful in improving the situation in Karachi and Balochistan.
The people and media need to understand that the issue of terrorism was a very convoluted challenge. The media particularly needs to show a greater sense of responsibility. It has been seen that whenever a terrorist act happens, the media shows an impulsive propensity to denigrate the government and attributing the enactment to its failure. There is a mad rush to grill the government and agencies without any reference to the incidents of terrorism prevented before their enactment through intelligence based operations, killing, arrest and prosecution of the terrorists and action taken against their sympathisers, sleeping cells and financiers. This kind of media onslaught has a demoralising affect and spreads despondency. Realities need to be recognised. The fact is that the government has achieved considerable success in tackling terrorism, reviving economy and reducing corruption, for which it deserves due credit.