The Economic Survey of Pakistan presented by the Finance Minister shows a bleak picture owing to political instability, frequent eruptions of incidents detrimental to law and order and the acute energy shortages. Saddest of all is the fact that despite being an agro-based economy, our performance in that sector is dismal. Foreign investment has also declined owing to political instability and worsening of the law and order situation. Inflation is on the rise and an alarming factor is that our external debt and liabilities have increased to $45.9 billion from $40.5 billion, an increase of 13.3 percent in the first nine months of the year to March. With this entirely bleak and gloomy picture will there be any sign of recovery. The Long March is here so the politicians are not focusing on the economic woes, prices are increasing daily. The budget would provide some increase in salaries but so will the expenses of the common man with the rise of prices in utilities. This budget unfortunately will be a sign of the testing times that the poor people of Pakistan will have to face and fight. -JANDAD KHAN, Lahore Cantt., via e-mail, June 11.