Pakistan, a country rich in history and cultural diversity, has made significant strides since its inception in 1947. However, it continues to grapple with numerous challenges that impede its progress. While the nation has made noteworthy achievements in various sectors, it is essential to recognize and address the major problems that persist.
Economic instability remains a significant concern in Pakistan. The country faces issues such as inflation, fiscal deficits, and a lack of sustainable economic growth. These problems can lead to reduced purchasing power for citizens and hinder long-term development. Pakistan faces chronic energy shortages, leading to frequent power outages and disruptions in daily life. The energy crisis has a detrimental impact on industries, hampers economic growth, and discourages foreign investment.
Security issues are a longstanding challenge in Pakistan. Terrorism, militancy, and regional instability have posed significant threats to the country’s security and stability. Although Pakistan has made strides in combating these challenges, they persist to some extent. Big threats are from India and Afghanistan. India is hosting and facilitating militant activities in Pakistan. India also has a long history of spying in Pakistan where numbers of RAW agents have been arrested in past. Indian hand behind recent Jaranwala tragedy is also in front of us. Then on the other side is Afghanistan which is still hosting and facilitating TTP who is involved in militant attacks in Pakistan. Recently, two army posts were attacked by terrorists on the Pak-Afghan border in Kailash area of Chitral, in which 4 brave soldiers of Pakistan Army were martyred. According to ISPR, the security forces repulsed the attack and inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists. In the exchange of fire, 4 soldiers were martyred and 12 terrorists were killed while a large number of them were seriously injured. Spokesperson of the Pakistan’s Foreign Office has said that modern weapons have fallen into the hands of terrorists in Afghanistan and attacks are being carried out on Pakistan and its security institutions with these weapons. During the weekly briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson said that Pakistan is concerned about the modern weapons available in Afghanistan which are used against us by militant groups. The spokesman said that we believe that the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be a border of peace. If the border is closed by Pakistan, it is because of the serious security situation. We are negotiating with the Afghan government. The interim government has informed its concerns regarding the recent incident on the Afghan border. On the Chitral attack, the spokesperson of the Foreign Office said that they have expressed their concern about the situation in Chitral to the Afghan authorities. After Soviet war, millions of Afghans migrated to neighboring countries including Pakistan, Turkamanistan, Qazakhstan, Tajikstan and Iran etc for saving their lives. Some refused to keep them and the ones who accepted kept them in refugee camps. Those camps were not less than jails. One the other hand Pakistan settled them across the country and allowed them to do businesses independently. According to a report more than 4.4 million afghans are in Pakistan out of which more than 1.7 millions are un-registered. Theft, terrorism etc have been increased in Pakistan due to these Afghans but Pakistan kept them as a resemblance to Ansar e Madina but in return Afghans back bite our country. They take food from us and live in Pakistan but always prefer India. They were also involved in Chitral incident along with India. They are behind smuggling, illegal storage and terrorism. They burn our flags and damage our economy by smuggling the things from here. Now it’s the need of time to take action against such Anti-Pakistan elements and send them back to their country of origin. People of Pakistan stand with Army Cheif on his stance relating to Afghanistan, TTP and Afghans.
Political instability and frequent changes in government leadership have hindered policy continuity and long-term planning. Effective governance remains a challenge, as political parties often prioritize their interests over the needs of the population. Pakistan faces an education crisis characterized by low literacy rates, inadequate educational infrastructure, and a shortage of trained teachers. Millions of children remain out of school, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and underdevelopment. Pakistan is grappling with severe water scarcity, exacerbated by mismanagement, over-extraction, and the effects of climate change. The country’s reliance on the Indus River for its water supply makes it vulnerable to water-related crises. The healthcare system in Pakistan faces numerous challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, a lack of access to quality healthcare in rural areas, and the prevalence of preventable diseases. Corruption remains a pervasive issue in Pakistan, affecting government institutions, public services, and economic development. Efforts to combat corruption are ongoing but face resistance from entrenched interests. Pakistan faces environmental challenges such as deforestation, air and water pollution, and climate change impacts. These issues have wide-ranging consequences, from health problems to disruptions in agriculture. Despite economic growth, Pakistan still grapples with widespread poverty and income inequality. A significant portion of the population lives below the poverty line, with limited access to basic necessities.
Pakistan’s current Army Chief is on forefront to tackle these challenges on war foot basis. Army Chief and Pak Army are fully committed to eliminate the element of terrorism. They are taking strict measures to cope with TTP, RAW and militant groups. Army Chief already warned Afghanistan to quit supporting and facilitating TTP. Army Chief and Pak Army have adapted zero tolerance policy against terrorism. It has been decided that the culprits of 9th may will be strictly punished according to laws and regulations which is a good sign to set an example for future. Different mafias are on radar and target of law enforcement agencies which are involved in smuggling, illegal storage, electricity & gas theft so the signs and actions seems to be quite positive. Army Chief and Government are fully committed to do accountability process across the board and without discrimination. Recently, a report of the sensitive organization revealed that 29 politicians are also involved in the Iranian oil business. The civil sensitive body has submitted a report on smuggling to the Prime Minister House in which it has been revealed that the proceeds from oil smuggling are also used by terrorists. According to the report, more than 2 billion 81 million liters of oil is smuggled from Iran to Pakistan annually and due to the smuggling of Iranian oil, Pakistan is losing more than 60 billion rupees annually. According to the report of the civil sensitive organization, 995 pumps are selling Iranian oil across the country, 90 government officials are also involved in Iranian oil smuggling and 29 politicians are involved in Iranian oil smuggling. It has also been revealed in the report that the vehicles of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) are also involved in the transportation of Iranian oil. Oil from Iran is smuggled in Iranian vehicles and comes to Pakistan. The report of the sensitive agency also states that 722 currency dealers are involved in the business of hawala hundi in Pakistan, the most 205 dealers are in Punjab, 183 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 176 in Sindh, 104 in Balochistan, 37 in Azad Kashmir and 37 in Islamabad. 17 dealers are doing business of hawala hundi. It should be noted that the caretaker federal government, together with the provincial governments, has started a crackdown against people involved in large-scale hoarding of dollars and other goods across the country. The same was assured to be done by Army Chief as well. A task force consisting of law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies has also been formed to crack down on gold mafia. According to sources, the purpose of the task force is to arrest gold smugglers and mafia and take legal action. Sources say that the task force has prepared lists of gold smuggling mafias and smugglers while work has been started to bring gold dealers into the tax net. According to sources, work has also been started on an emergency basis to computerize the purchase and sale of gold, which will benefit the common citizen and the country. The price of gold is already falling in the market. Talking to the media in Karachi, Malik Bustan said that the nation congratulates the army chief on the crackdown, the army chief took up the burden that the civil government had to take, due to the crackdown, sugar rates are decreasing in Pakistan today. The rates of electricity, petrol will also be reduced, the rate of the dollar is continuously decreasing, if the operation continues and the smuggling stops, then the dollar can even go up to 250 rupees.
It is first time that Army is taking keen interest in economy revival of our country as well. Army Chief’s full support to SIFC is quite evident. An important consultation was held between the Army Chief and businessmen for economic recovery, in which General Asim Munir assured of vigorous measures and said that task forces will be established for economic recovery, money exchanges will be brought into the tax net and dollar exchanges, Transparency will be brought in interbank rates. A representative delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce went to the Corps Commander Headquarters with their suggestions regarding the alarming business scenario and public concerns, where a detailed discussion was held on the Special Investment Facilitation Council. Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi was also present in the meeting held at the Corps Commander Headquarters. The delegation gave suggestions that public and business problems including heavy electricity bills should be solved, political parties should sign the Charter of Economy before the elections. Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir highlighted the important role of the Special Investment Facilitation Council, emphasizing its ability to attract substantial investments of up to $100 billion from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and other countries. He disclosed the creation of task forces focusing on economic issues and various sectors, Kashif Anwar recommended active engagement with all chambers to include the perspective of the business community in the agenda of the task force and power. Proposed reduction in income and sales tax rates on bills as people are suffering from high tax burden on electricity which is affecting daily life, businesses and common people. Furthermore, Kashif Anwar introduced a practical approach to fuel adjustment charges and suggested that they should be levied during winter months to reduce the financial burden on consumers when electricity consumption is lower. Discussing the important role of exchange rate in the economic scenario of Pakistan. He also called for greater control over the prices of the US dollar both in the interbank and open markets. General Asim Munir gave a positive response and assured that money exchange will be brought under the ambit of taxation, dollar exchange and transparency in interbank rates will be promoted. President Lahore Chamber also pointed out that the disparity between State Bank rate and Hundi rate often leads to giving preference to hundi channels in terms of remittances. He emphasized that if these rates are harmonised, remittances will naturally flow through the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). He expressed concern over the current lack of response to the proposals made by the business sector. Furthermore, Kashif Anwar called for a united commitment to political parties and suggested signing the Charter of Economy before any upcoming elections. Commenting on General Asim Munir’s remarks about the existence of a gray economy, which is 2 to 3 times the total document economy, Kashif Anwar suggested an innovative approach. He recommended encouraging the gray economy sector to transition into a formal, white economy, offering a strategic solution to tackle this pervasive problem. President Lahore Chamber said that as long as the gray economy remains unintegrated, unable to contribute to the formal, white economy, expansion of the tax base will remain impossible.
Then Pakistan Army is also a key partner in SIFC. The Special Investment Facilitation Council Pakistan, commonly referred to as SIFC Pakistan, was established by the Government of Pakistan with the primary goal of facilitating investments in various sectors of the economy. It operates as an independent body responsible for streamlining investment procedures, providing support to investors, and addressing their concerns. One of the primary functions of SIFC Pakistan is to provide a one-stop shop for investors. It simplifies bureaucratic processes and assists investors in navigating regulatory requirements, reducing the time and effort needed to start and operate a business in Pakistan. SIFC Pakistan works closely with the government to advocate for investor-friendly policies. It identifies barriers to investment and proposes policy reforms to create a more conducive environment for both domestic and foreign investors. SIFC Pakistan serves as a mediator between investors and relevant government agencies, helping to resolve issues and disputes that may arise during the investment process. The council actively promotes investment opportunities in Pakistan through marketing campaigns and by participating in international investment forums and exhibitions. This helps attract foreign investors to explore the country’s potential. SIFC Pakistan has been instrumental in enhancing Pakistan’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. By simplifying procedures, reducing bureaucratic hurdles, and improving regulatory transparency, the council has made Pakistan a more attractive destination for investors. SIFC Pakistan’s efforts have successfully attracted foreign direct investment in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and technology. These investments have not only contributed to economic growth but have also created job opportunities for the local workforce. The presence of a dedicated investment facilitation council sends a strong signal to investors that Pakistan is committed to supporting their interests and protecting their investments. This, in turn, builds trust and confidence among the investor community. The investments facilitated by SIFC Pakistan have a multiplier effect on the economy. They contribute to increased economic activity, the development of critical infrastructure, and the expansion of industries, which ultimately leads to higher GDP growth and improved living standards. The Special Investment Facilitation Council Pakistan is a vital institution in Pakistan’s journey towards economic prosperity and global competitiveness. By streamlining investment procedures, advocating for investor-friendly policies, and actively promoting investment opportunities, SIFC Pakistan plays a pivotal role in attracting domestic and foreign investment. As Pakistan continues its efforts to reform and modernize its economy, the role of institutions like SIFC Pakistan cannot be overstated. With its commitment to providing a supportive environment for investors and resolving their concerns, the council serves as a catalyst for economic growth and development, contributing to Pakistan’s emergence as an attractive destination for investment in South Asia and beyond. Army Chief has shown grave commitment with SIFC on number of occasions.
Then In the recent meeting of Corps Commanders Conference presided over by Army Chief General Asim Munir, the participants expressed their determination that the government will be fully supported to end the activities that harm the economy. According to the Department of Public Relations of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), the Corps Commanders’ Conference was held under the chairmanship of Army Chief General Asim Munir, the Army Chief stressed on maintaining the standard of professionalism during operations and the best performance during training of formations. Emphasizing the achievement, the army chief praised the commanders for the welfare of the troops, keeping their morale high and constant attention. According to ISPR, the participants in the Corps Commanders’ Conference meeting expressed their resolve that the state will deal with terrorists, facilitators and those who encourage them with full force, such elements who spread nefarious propaganda will suffer further disgrace. Those who create a gap between the state institutions and the people will be disappointed. According to ISPR, the participants declared that the economic activities under the supervision of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) will be fully supported and Army will continue its full support to government to end the activities that harm the economy. The conference participants were briefed on the strategy to respond to the challenges and growing threats to national security, the conference participants reiterated their commitment to defend Pakistan’s sovereignty against direct and indirect threats. The conference participants were briefed on the strategy to respond to the challenges and growing threats to national security, the conference participants reiterated their commitment to defend Pakistan’s sovereignty against direct and indirect threats. The participants of the conference paid tribute to the martyrs of the armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civil society. They said that the martyrs sacrificed their lives for the safety, security and dignity of the country.
During a session with Pakistani Businessmen, the pertinent topic of sugar and dollar smuggling also came up, the halting of which is viewed as quintessential for economic revival. In response to a question, the Chief expressed a willingness to clamp down on smuggling by tightening porous borders.
Due to the strict actions taken by government and army the dollar rates are also decreasing. Exchange Companies Association’s Secretary General Zafar Pracha says that the measures taken by the Army Chief are having positive effects. Describing as the best day for the Pakistani economy, Zafar Pracha said that smugglers and hoarding people are worried but it remains to be seen how long the crackdown lasts. Zafar Paracha said that as in the past, the dollar will go up again as soon as the crackdown is over and we need to get our policies right. He said that exchange companies pay billions of rupees in taxes to the national exchequer, bank licenses should also be given to exchange companies, banks would be happy to get exchange licenses. Chairman Foreign Exchange Association Malik Bustan has said that earlier people used to come to buy dollars. Bur recently it was seen that dollars were there but no one is going to buy.
Then Army Chief is quite dedicated with Pakistan Green Initiative Program which is aimed to bring agricultural revolution by adapting latest technology and techniques.
Readers, things are moving in good direction. The Asim Doctrine seems to bring good results. Things take time but the intentions and direction seems good and the day is not far when we will come out of the crises by these sincere efforts.