The PML-N government has completed two and half years in power which probably is sufficient time to warrant an anodyne appraisal of its performance with regard to the challenges that inherited and how far it has been successful in tackling them.


Needless to emphasize that when the PML-N formed government consequent upon winning the franchise of the people, the country was confronted with formidable challenges. It faced existentialist threat from terrorism and religious extremism; the economy was in shambles; an egregious energy crisis with all the accompanying debilitating manifestations gripped the country; the nascent democracy was wobbling on its feet in an environment of uncertainty; relations with our neighbours except a few exceptions were not so enviable; security situation in the country and the region was precarious and Pakistan admittedly was groaning under the combined impact of these unsavoury circumstances.


Honestly speaking the PML-N showed a rare commitment and courage to deal with terrorism and religious extremism, which no previous government had the spunk or the will to undertake. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, National Action Plan and targeted operation in Karachi are some of the enviable outcomes of the policy of national consensus and reconciliation dedicatedly pursued by the government. Consequent upon the successful implementation of these initiatives the back of the terrorists has been broken and their entire infrastructure in North Waziristan dismantled.

Terrorists, their supporters and sleeping cells throughout the country have been effectively neutralized. Karachi is fast returning to normalcy as a result of the target operation by the Rangers and the federal government and the military leadership are determined to take it to its logical conclusion, notwithstanding sporadic hic-ups. The insurgency in Balochistan has been contained and prospects of reconciliation with the estranged and exiled Baloch leaders look very encouraging.


On the economic front also the government has been able to orchestrate discernible revival. In May, 2013, the country faced a severe energy crisis. Economic growth was stagnant at below 3%, inflation was at double digit, interest rates were high, budget deficit was at 8.8 % of GDP, investment was on the decline, foreign currency reserves stood at formidably low level and the country faced the prospect of an ignominious default on IMF loans.


Two and half years down the line, the budget deficit has been brought down to 5.3%, inflation has been brought down to 4.53%, credit to agriculture sector has increased to Rs.515.87 billion, development spending has touched Rs.427.67 billion, GDP growth rate has been enhanced to 4.24%, per capita income has increased ti US$ 1513, stock exchange has touched new heights , interest rate is at the lowest level in the last 42 years, tax recovery has increased significantly from a mere three per cent to a mammoth 16.5 per cent, foreign exchange reserves have swelled to $ 21 billion which is an all time high mark in the economic history of Pakistan.


The confidence of foreign investors in Pakistan being a safe and profitable destination has also increased as is evident from the response received in the auction of 3g and 4G and the overwhelming acceptance of the Sakuk bonds. For the 5-year bonds, the response came from all geographical regions. Nearly 59 per cent were subscribed in US, 19 per cent in UK, 10 per cent in other European countries, 10 per cent in Asia, 8 per cent by banks, 7 per cent by hedge fund and 1 per cent by Insurance companies and pension funds. In respect of 10-year bonds also most of the money came from US. This was a result of the strenuous and consistent efforts of the economic managers of Pakistan to show case the marked improvement in economic indicators and the success of economic reforms introduced by the government at all international economic forums.
The turn-around in the economy has been achieved despite the devastating impact of floods on the economy, astronomical expenditure on operation Zarb-e-Azb and the implementation of the National Action Plan and huge payments for debt servicing. The success story has repeatedly been endorsed by the international money lending institutions and rating agencies as well as the international media. IMF has shown confidence in the reform agenda pursued by the government which is amply demonstrated by continuous release of tranches after quarterly reviews. ADB and World Bank are also on record to have testified Pakistan’s success story. The latter in recognition of the phenomenon has also agreed to provide $ 10.2 billion to Pakistan during the next five years for policy reforms in the energy sector, revenue mobilization, governance, social sectors and investment in hydro power.


To tackle the energy crisis in the country the government has already added 3000 MW to the system, power producing projects with an accumulative production capacity of 10,000 MW have already been launched which are likely to come on stream by the end of 2018. Not only that the government is also contemplating to add another 14,000 MW in the years to come.


China-Pakistan Economic corridor is yet another achievement of the PML-N government which rightly has been billed as a game changing initiative with the potential of not only lifting the economic profile of Pakistan but also the entire region. Its successful implementation would undoubtedly bring an economic revolution in Pakistan making it a hub of economic activity for the whole region, accruing unfathomable benefits to the country.


In the domain of foreign relations a new narrative wedded to the cause of promoting peace in the region and creating economic linkage for a shared prosperity has been evolved. Pakistan has been making strenuous efforts in promoting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation in Afghanistan and fostering cooperation between the two countries in fighting terrorism. And despite some hiccups along the way there is a renewed hope of getting things back on track. The exponential enhancement of economic relations with China under the umbrella of China-Pak Economic Corridor is another testimonial of the success of the new vision.


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also made positive overtures towards India for the revival of the suspended dialogue between the two countries. The recent developments in quick succession including the meeting between the two Prime Ministers at Paris, meeting between the National Security Advisors, visit of Indian foreign minister Islamabad to attend Heart of Asia Conference and a brief stop-over in Lahore by Narendra Modi, have certainly given impetus to these efforts and revived hope of building bonhomie between the two hostile neighbours.


Pakistan has become full member of the SCO; ground breaking ceremony of TAPI has finally been performed, relations with Russia have been put on a higher level. Russia will build a gas-pipeline between Lahore and Karachi involving a cost of $2billion and both the countries have also concluded a defence deal.