Pakistan - Economic analysis of government's policies, investment climate and political risk.






PAKISTAN: Economic Policy Analysis

This site presents an analysis of the Pakistan government's economic policies compared to a list of 33 economic policies as prepared by the McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis (MIEPA). To read the analysis scroll through this site. To learn more about the background policies, click here
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    Several foreign born students living in California have completed a study of their home country governments' economic policies as compared to the MIEPA list of policies as outlined above. The study on Pakistan is shown below. The ratings herein are based on the following rating scale:


    5.0 Perfect Facilitation of Wealth Creation
    4.0 Midway between Perfect and Neutral
    3.0 Neutral Effect on Wealth Creation
    2.0 Midway between Neutral and Obstructionist
    1.0 Perfectly Obstructionist to Wealth Creation
    [Rating scale copyright Mike P. McKeever, 1996. Used herein with permission]

    To read a disclaimer about the analysis in this file, scroll to the bottom of the file.

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    Comparison of Pakistan's economic policies to MIEPA criteria as prepared by native student of Pakistan, Mr. Amjad Ali, studying in the US in November of 1997.

            1               3.5          10.5             15.0        70 %
            2               3.0           9.0             15.0        60
            3               1.0           3.0             15.0        20
            4               4.0          12.0             15.0        80
            5               3.0           9.0             15.0        60
            6               3.0           9.0             15.0        60
            7               4.0          12.0             15.0        80
            8               3.5          10.5             15.0        70
            9               3.0           9.0             15.0        60
            10              3.0           9.0             15.0        60
            11              3.5          10.5             15.0        70
            12              4.0           8.0             10.0        80
            13              2.5           5.0             10.0        50
            14              1.0           2.0             10.0        20
            15              1.0           2.0             10.0        20
            16              1.0           2.0             10.0        20
            17              1.5           3.0             10.0        30
            18              1.0           2.0             10.0        20
            19              1.0           2.0             10.0        20
            20              3.5            7.0            10.0        70
            21              1.5            3.0            10.0        30
            22              2.0            4.0            10.0        40
            23              1.0            2.0            10.0        20
            24              1.0            2.0            10.0        20
            25              3.0            6.0            10.0        60
            26              3.0            6.0            10.0        60
            27              2.5            5.0            10.0        50
            28              3.5            7.0            10.0        70
            29              2.0            2.0             5.0        40
            30              2.0            2.0             5.0        40
            31              3.5            3.5             5.0        70
            32              2.5            2.5             5.0        50
            33              2.5            2.5             5.0        50
       TOTAL               81.0          183.5           360.0        50.9%
                          =====          ======          =====        =====

    l. Freedom From Internal Control: 3.5

    Pakistani business agencies are free to move from one corner to other end of the country. They have right to register their vote in that area and they will get same benefits as local residents. Pakistan government also provides protection to people who move from one province to another; they have to inform the local "Municipal Court" that they are moved from one city to another. This is only to keep track record of that person, if they involved in any illegal activity. Pakistan government has not yet get new technology such computerized system for I.D, but still every citizen in the country is free to move around without any hesitation.

    Resources: Pakistan embassy; USDOC, Country profiles.

    2. Freedom of Speech: 3.0

    Pakistan is an Islamic country - citizens are allowed to express their feelings, but not allowed to hurt someone feeling by saying that one's own religion is better than another's. You are openly entitled to express your ideas about government, social system, politics, justice, and general policies about usual routine life. If you have any conflict about any matter you can bring it to the media and explain to them what is right and what is wrong. There is absolutely freedom of speech regarding any matter, so long as you realize that humans rights are not safe.

    Resource: Personal knowledge.

    3. Effective , Fair Police Force: l.0

    Pakistan has not fair police force and that is because there is no criteria regarding the selection of the police force. Every person who has good political background come as a police man and then they want to make money by having bribe. Pakistan has tried to correct the police force, but in vain. I think there is only one way, which is to educate the nation and make them realize that what is good for them and how to face this situation.

    Resource: Personal information(best of my knowledge).

    4. Currency: 4.0

    Pakistan has five provinces, each of which has different regions. All bank in those regions are work under State Bank Of Pakistan. Pakistan has only one currency, the "Rupee. " which is used in every region and Pakistani currency has not strong enough to compete with dollar or mark. Government has not strong policies regarding economic efficiency such as too much import and deficit.

    Resource: USDOC, National Trade Data Bank, Investment Climate.

    5. Commercial Banks: 3.0

    The state bank of Pakistan (the central bank) heads the banking system. The four public sector nationalized commercial banks (NCB) are the largest deposit institutions and the main source of short medium-term credit for domestic investment. They are the Habib Bank Limited, National Bank, United Bank, Limited and First Women Bank Limited. The twelve private sector banks include newly-formed commercial banks which began operation last year in response to the government's privatization policy. The other two are privatized Allied Bank and Muslim Commercial Bank. Of the 21 foreign banks (which include ANZ Griddles, Standard Chartered) and four American banks: American Express, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank and Citibank. The commercial banks, according to government sources, have assets of about rupee on trillion, of which roughly eight percent are held by the domestic banks and the rest by foreign banks in Pakistan. Pakistan has a good banking system.

    Resource: Statistic Abstract of Pakistan 1995.

    6. Communication System: 3.0

    Pakistan has all new ways of technology such as: 15 telephones per 1,000 residents; T.V.; radio; fax; and, email. Pakistan has just signed a contract with MCI to provide E-mail in Pakistan by the end of 1997. Pakistan is a developing country, but trying to make their communication system better.

    Resource: Investor's Marketing Handbook, 1994

    7. Transportation: 4.0

    Pakistan has railroads (8,773 Km), high ways (110,677 Km); 110 airports and two big sea ports (Gwadar and Mohammed bin Basin) for trade. Pakistan is still improving their highways system and recently they built a free high way that covers east to west and north to south. Pakistan has a good transportation system that is really helpful for trade from one city to another city.

    Resource : Personal knowledge.

    8. Education: 3.5

    Pakistan has very good education system and it is free up to graduate levels. Students are prepared to the requirements of study, and they are the assets of the nation. Pakistan spends 75% of total national budget on education. Every province has good universities and there are many international students from around the world in engineering, medicine, literature and textile engineering. There are literacy rate is 35%, out of them male is 47 percent and female is 2l percent.

    Resource: US Foreign trade Highlites 1993, pg.14

    9. Freedom From Outside Control: 3.0

    Citizens of Pakistan are free from control by any agency or force. They are free and independent. The government are not allowed to interfere with personal interaction. Pakistan also provide the protection to citizens regarding international involvement, if any body involved in any activity they are not to be taken out of the country.

    Resource: http/

    10. Foreign Currency Transactions: 3.0

    Pakistan has good strategy about the transaction of currency, every currency should be converted to Pakistan rupee. If you are importer or exporter, you will deposit the money in the bank and bank will issue you a letter of credit in rupee and every purchase should be through local currency. There is only one currency in the country (rupee) that is used to do business.

    Resource: Personal knowledge

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    1l. Border Control: 3.5

    Pakistan has very strong border control and they have made small checking posts around the country to watch all activities that is harmful for the country and nation. There are policies that your may or may not enter these goods or people in the country. Like other country Pakistan also face smuggling drugs and people from the other countries. Pakistan is trying to control at every cost and for this they are trying to make border control monitor through making it computerized and it will be very helpful for the country.

    Resource: Country profiles, 1996; Hovers Hand Book of America.

    l2.Cultural, Language Homogeneity: 4.0

    Pakistan is that country that shares common values, language and customs. Pakistan is an Islamic republic; of its population 97 percent are Muslim's, 2 percent are Christian's and 1 percent are Hindu's or Buddhists. Pakistan has very good moral values regarding cultural and language. Pakistanis use their official language and practice their Islamic laws. There is fully freedom for minorities regarding their religion, culture and language.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge

    l3. Political Effectiveness: 2.5

    It is very sad to say that Pakistan is governed by the army for the past fifty years. There is stability in the government. Pakistan and Muslim league are its main two unions which rule over the country. There is sincerity regarding the nationalist view. Pakistan has fairly political effect on the country if it is in the rural or in the urban areas, elected representative are responsible to solve their problems. Elected representatives are more often belongs to the urban, they are as important as the rural.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge

    l4. Institutional Stability: 1.0

    Pakistan has very bad atmosphere regarding to manage the organizational structure, whether that belong to the government or belong to the private sector. There are too many changes and it keeps the country from growing fast and healthy.

    Resource: http/www.jang/ (Website for Pakistan news)

    15 . Honest Government: 1.0

    Pakistan always have problems with political leaders because they are not honest. Every one try to put country down economically by helping their industries. They don't pay taxes, excise duties and utilities. Pakistan is still have big deficit in economy and there is no jobs, I think the government is not a good managemer.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge

    16. Common Laws: 1.0

    Pakistan is basically practice English common laws and there is always loopholes for those people who have power (political/wealth). There are laws but there is no enforcement. People think that laws are made to be broken. There is no practical laws that are valid for the public: laws are permitted to remain silent and look good only in the books.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge.

    l7. Central Bank: 1.5

    The central bank is influenced the by government. There is too much inflation and things are very expensive. They are controlled by the government. Central banks should be free of any restriction and they should think about the welfare of the country rather than politicians.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge.

    l8. Domestic Budget Management: 1.0

    Pakistani government has a very bad budget deficit every years because people don't pay taxes. The government has to borrow money from the IMF every year and by the end of year interest payment is more than the principal amount. Recently, upon the request of the IMF, the government imposed a tax on agricultural business activities, which might be helpful in the coming years depending on how many people pay their taxes.

    Resource: US DOC National Trade Data Bank, (economic policy).

    l9. Government Debt: 1.0

    The Pakistan government has bad debt records: in 1996 they couldn't pay their loan payment to the IMF. Government trying to improve their economic situation by attracting foreign direct investment in the country.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge.

    20. Private Property: 3.5

    Pakistani laws protect private property and create incentives for individuals to establish new ventures and that provides benefits for the country and economy. Laws are made to protect public/ individual property, no one can snatch property from you without your permission.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge.

    21. Economic Statistics: 1.5

    Pakistan is a developing country and their resources are not enough to establish new technology such as computerized data and record keeping. Every dates entry records are made by hand and there are more chances to make mistakes and misguide the users.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge

    22. Protection of Public Health and Safety: 2.0

    Government tries to regulate safety direction and also provide free health facilities, but there is no enforcement of these laws. Big companies don't want to pay attention regarding the health and safety regulations, they just want to make money. Pakistani government made many plans regarding the disease and they are try to cure from every prospective.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge

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    23. High Wage Policy: 1.0

    Pakistan has a poor economy: there are no regulation regarding wage policy, you can pay workers what ever you want to pay them. This also has a bad impact on the standard of living, because companies from overseas pay a little amount money to workers without benefits. Pakistan should enforce their laws regarding this situation and should protect workers from the money makers.

    Resource: Personal Knowledge

    24. Environmental Protection: 1.0

    Pakistan has very strict restrictions regarding the environment since many international firms have joint ventures with Pakistan Government. Recently the government told all manufacturing agencies to use recycled paper to help to clean environment. Although the government is financially strapped and unable to be effective in these areas, it is beginning to give great priority to human resources, the environment and infrastructure development. Healthcare, education and environmental protection receive major attention in the government's budget allocations for the eighth five-year plan ( 1994-1999). In addition, the government recently approved a comprehensive National Conservation Strategy (NCS) which is aimed at the protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources. Also to close a gap between economic and social growth, they prepared a social action plan, allocating more resources for education ,health and population. Pakistan has a very strong strategy for the protection of environment that will be helpful for the trade .

    Resource: U.S Department of State(Environment Control) National Trade Data Bank, 12-13-95

    25. Strong Army: 3.0

    Pakistani Armed Forces are strong enough to protect the country from other countries. Pakistan has fought with India and defeated them in 1965. Pakistan spends of 35% of total nationa1 budget for the protection of the country and I think this is too much for a developing country to spend on defense rather than education and health. It is a great threat for other countries that Pakistan has atom bomb named the "Islamic Bomb" . It is right that Pakistan has a very strong armed force, not only keeping the country safe but also helping protect the closest neighbor. Pakistan helped Afghanistan against USSR. I believe that Pakistan will never be the aggressor against some other country without any solid reason.

    Resource: National Trade Data Bank (Central Intelligence Agency),USDOC, 7-21-97

    26. Foreign Trade Impact: 3.0

    Pakistan basically relays on agricultural products such as cotton, rice and sugar cane for export earnings; but since the last three years when Pakistan suffered floods in Punjab and Sindh, the country has to import cotton and rice to satisfy requirements. Pakistan had a big deficit in term of trade, and GDP grew only $20 (million) in three years. Inflation increased up by 59 percent and foreign debts increased from $15,471 to $18,423 (Million). There were total imports and exports of ($5.0+$11.4 millions)=$16,420 millions, or 39% of GDP in 1994

    Source : Federal Bureau Of Statistic; Pakistan (1995).

    27. Protection of Foreign Currency Earning Enterprises: 2.5

    The Pakistani Government gives very good opportunities to companies which play an important role in trade such as : * Tax free zones for the exporters. * Free Letters of Credit for 90 days through National Bank Of Pakistan. * Low Tax zones for investments. * Relaxation in taxes from overseas deals. Pakistan importers, both private and public sector, can obtain "soft" financing from some other countries as a result of foreign government subsidies. There was at least one noticeable reduction of barriers to US film imports. In July I996. Pakistan central board of revenue reversed its earlier policy and stopped collecting an import duty on foreign films. Despite that change, U.S film and entertainment products still face a range of restrictive barriers in Pakistan. The provincial governments impose entertainment tax of 55 to 75 percent on all imported pictures. The federal government imposes strict licensing and on all imported activities. It is estimated that even if Pakistan government eliminated all barriers, there will be an increase in revenue from 15 to 25 million dollars.

    Resource: State Bank of Pakistan "Foreign liabilities & assets and foreign investment in Pakistan-1993". Economy survey, 1993-1994

    28. Management of Foreign Currency Budget: 3.5

    Pakistan is a poor but rapidly developing country with an annual per capita income of about $420. Real GDP growth far the past decade has averaged more than 6 percent per year, almost equal to the population growth rate, but has slowed in the past year or so. Overall real GDP growth was 3.0 percent for the year . An important component of Pakistan's GDP growth in previous years has been a strong export performance and flexible management of the exchange rate. Despite the strong growth in exports, however, the balance of payments position has remained under the pressure of rising imports. At the beginning of the year, the balance of payments position had been projected to improve considerably PFY 1994, primarily due to anticipated 19 percent growth in exports, a decline in the trade and services deficit and a rise in foreign exchange reserves. In fact, exports grew just 3.6 percent while imports were up 5.5 percent. The overall trade deficit in PFY 1993 now is expected to rise to $2.5 billion from $2.2 billion last year. The unexpected drop in exports was mainly due to devastating floods (which caused to damage to rice and cotton crops), the world economic recession and decline in commodity prices (especially cotton). Increased demand for, wheat, edible oils, plastic material, petroleum and petroleum products, and drugs and pharmaceuticals caused the rise in imports. Expatriate Pakistanis remitted $41.2 billion during July 93-March 93, about 7 percent higher than the same period in the previous year. Inflation officially is estimated at about 9.6 percent, about the same as last year (9.7 percent), a figure many private observers find somewhat optimistic.

    Resource: National Trade Data Bank (international trade relation July,1997)

    29. Layers of Collective Action: 2.0

    There is no direct way to elect the people who run social institutions. Every such person is appointed by the government: public opinion has no power. Schools are run under a board of directors which is appointed by the minister of education. Agricultural and internal road systems are organized under the commissioner who is appointed by the governor of that province. Every province has their own policies. Hospitals and roads are structured under the provincial government. Judicial and civil court judges are appointed through the chief justice and the chief justice is appointed by President of the country. When the country's situation is not good politically the chief justice requests the army to interfere and help the justice organize the country. Pakistan has very bad atmosphere in terms of politics - no one knows what will happen tomorrow. People are scared and there is no justice.

    Resource: USDOC, National Trade Data Bank (Country Commercial Guide), 7-21-97; personal

    30. Pro-business climate: 2.0

    Pakistan has known a feudal system of land ownership. These feudal barons are dominant in society. Business class is also attractive for bureaucrats and technocrats because they can use their position as a platform for their unethical activities. They bribe people who are elected as a member of national assembly and receive in return protection from crimes and police investigation for the land owners. Some of these people are also involved in drug dealing and this is very bad for country situation.

    Resource: Pakistan News, June 1996. (http.Jang/Co.Com), personal.

    31. Government Enterprises: 3.5

    Since 1988, management of the Pakistan economy has been guided by the policy framework agreed to by the IMF and the world and the world bank. This framework is designed to stabilize the principal macroeconomics variables in the short term; provide the basis for long term, sustainable growth aimed at reducing the role of the public sector; encouraging the private sector to play a more dominant role in the economy; and supporting industrial, export oriented production. The momentum of the proposed economic reforms, which begin during the government of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, accelerated significantly since the Nawaz Shrief coalition government assumed control in November 1990. . Permission/sanction to establish industries is no longer required. · Foreign exchange restriction have been removed and payment reforms introduced. · The financial sector has been exposed to market forces. · Private sector has been allowed to invest in airlines, shipping and telecommunication. · Disinvestment of public sector enterprises has moved rapidly. Apart from opening the economy, these reforms are intended to disengage the government from a large area of economic activity more suitable for the private sector, thereby releasing scarce public resources for allocation to social sectors and infrastructure development. The reforms have focused specially on the following principal areas : · Trade liberalization through the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers. · Encouraging foreign and domestic private investment through deregulation. · A relaxation of capital and exchange controls. . Dismantling state control over key areas of the economy through privatization of state-owners enterprises.

    Source: Statistical Abstract of Pakistan; Hovers Hand Book of America, 1996

    32. International Security Agreements: 2.5

    Pakistan emerged on the map of the world on August 14, 1947 as a result of the partition of British India into two sovereign Hindu and Muslim states. It stretches over 16,00 kilometers north to south, and about 885 kilometers east to west covering a total area of 796,095 square kilometers. Pakistan has common borders with China, Afghanistan, Iran and India, and is ranked as the tenth most populous country in the world. Pakistan practices British laws and regulation regarding domestic and international security agreements but Army has a control over the civil government and when the leaders want to change the political situation of the government the armed forces does it by itself. Pakistan is fully required to abide by the rules of UNO and every matter is solved by their suggestion. China is always close to Pakistan. when ever they need help. Pakistan has a main conflict with India regarding Azad-Kashmeer (State), but now they are willing to talk about this serious problem.

    Source: NTDB

    33. Protection of Domestic Enterprises from Government Mandated Costs: 2.5

    The import and investment policy changes described provide scope for a strong and growing market for international goods. Pakistan has very bad problems with the international firms so, there are very few companies are working because they are afraid of the government policies. Under the laws every company is treated equally and substantially. Many international firms have a little privileges regarding the tax, excise and tariffs because they have joint ventures with the government.

    Source: NTDB


    All the information and conclusions in each country analysis are solely the responsibility of the individual student and have not been verified, corrected, checked for copyright infringement or evaluated in any way by MIEPA or Mike P. McKeever. You are solely responsible for the results of any use you make of the information and conclusions in these studies. Use them at your own risk as interesting supplemental information only instead of seasoned judgements about the policy factors contained herein. Each student has granted permission for his or her work to be displayed here and wishes to remain anonymous - they have either created a pen name or used no name at all; if you wish to contact them for any reason, forward your request to MIEPA and the student will be notified of your interest.


    The following background information is posted with the author's permission:

    From: Haytham Mouzahem
    Monday, January 22, 2001 8:13 PM

    Influx of Refugees and their conditions in Pakistan

    7th IRAP Conference- South Africa January 2001

    by: Ayaz Latif Palijo (Pakistan)


    54 years after the 1947 Independence of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent, 30 years after the creation of Bangladesh and 12 years after the withdrawal of the last Soviet soldier from Afghanistan, Pakistan is still a country in which refugee-based politics, resettlement process and armed conflicts involving millions of refugees still continue. Dealing with issues like corruption, bad governance, gender discrimination and social injustice, South Asia today faces the struggle for survival by millions of poverty-ridden destitutes, and tomorrow threatens the future of millions of illiterate adults. In Pakistan, which has one of the lowest literacy rates and indicators of gender development in the world, widespread poverty prevails because of most powerful industrial-feudal interests and illiteracy.

    Since early 90s of the last century more than 80 million people in South Asia have become unemployed, millions of people have been reduced to absolute poverty and hundreds of thousands have been forced into crimes. Now a days when internationally more and more emphasis is being laid on civil and human rights worldwide, on creating the pre-requisite conditions for the return of refugees to their homes, on their proper resettlement and on helping them to overcome the trauma of forced exile. South Asia and Pakistan lag behind even many developing countries of the third world in terms of Human Rights awareness, refugee rights, gender balance, prisoner rights and individual security.

    At the beginning of the 21st century, we live in the worst governed region in the world where more than one-half of women and one-third of men live on or below the poverty line, where history remains distorted, intolerance is on the rise, where displacement, honour killings, child marriage and bonded labor are upheld in the name of facing poverty, traditions, development and religion, where the weaker sections of society e.g. women and refugees and minorities continue to struggle against prejudice, discrimination and denial of human rights.

    Much of the blame in the case of Pakistan for this complete destruction of our already weak social fabric rests with the 11 years of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq's regime (supported by West) during which children took refuge in abandoning books and taking up the Kalashnikov & drugs. According to the statistics of 1995 of the more than 20 million refugees of the world, 6.4 million were living in Southeast Asia (mostly Iran and Pakistan), North Africa, and the Middle East, 5.7 million in Africa south of the Sahara, 4.4 million in Europe and North America, 1.2 million in Latin America and the Caribbean and 1.9 million in the remaining countries of Asia and Oceania.

    In terms of refugees and immigrants, Pakistan (population: 140 millions with a density of 170 persons per sq km increasing at a rate of 2.7 % a year) has been facing and accepting four main groups of refugees from neighboring countries for the last 5 and half decades: 1. India (since 1947) 2. Bangladesh (since 1970) 3. Afghanistan (since 1979) 4. Burma, Iran and some African and South Asian countries.

    Refugees, Resettled and Illegal Immigrants in Pakistan

    The British ruled the Indian subcontinent for nearly 200 years (1756-1947). After the great national revolt in 1857, the British allowed the formation of political parties and The Indian National Congress, representing the majority of Hindus, was created in 1885. The Muslim League was formed in 1906 to represent the Muslim minority. The division of the subcontinent caused awful dislocation of populations, it resulted in the forced exchange of 18 millions Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and Muslims from India-the greatest population transfer in history. The subcontinent was divided and sub-divided on the basis of majority provinces.

    Four Muslim majority provinces - Punjab, Bengal, Sindh and Frontier out of total eleven provinces were separated and sub-divided to form a separate State, which was named Pakistan and seven Hindu majority provinces remained with India. As per original plan, no significant migration between the two states was envisaged. Both the Hindu and Muslim communities were expected to continue residing in the state where they resided on the partition day. But the religious fanatics and fundamentalists of both the communities and the last British Viceroy Lord Mount Batten saw to it that the partition was taken as requiring that India be divided among Muslim and Hindu population of India, so that all Indian Muslims should live in Pakistan and all Hindus should live in India.

    This huge human migration transformed for the worse the entire ethnic, linguistic, economic, social and political composition of Sindh a province of Pakistan. It took away a sizable chunk of Sindhi Peoples ' historical national resources and reduced their percentage of the total of the population of the province. In fact Sindh was independent when the British conquered it in February 1842 and later designed it as a Province. In all fairness, it ought to have been allowed to resume its previous status as a sovereign state in August 1947, when the British Raj (Rule) came to an end but on the contrary in the course of 50 years confiscatory black laws, called the Evacuee Laws, were used as a weapon for usurping Sindhi property worth billions of Rupees and the indigenous Sindhis of Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur were colonized by refugees and illegal immigrants from UP, CP, Bihar (India), Punjab and Afghanistan. The demographic shift caused an initial bitterness between the two countries that was further intensified by accession to each country of a number of princely states. On August 14-15, 1947, the princely states of Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Kashmir whose treaties with British government lapsed on partition day became technically independent, but when the Muslim ruler of Junagadh, with its predominantly Hindu population, acceded to Pakistan a month later, India annexed his territory. Hyderabad's Muslim prince, ruling over a mostly Hindu population, tried to postpone any decision indefinitely, but in September 1948 that issue was also settled by Indian arms. The Hindu ruler of Kashmir, whose subjects were 85 percent Muslim, decided to join India. Pakistan, however, questioned his right to do so, and a war broke out between India and Pakistan. Although the UN subsequently resolved that a plebiscite be held under UN auspices to determine the future of Kashmir, India continued to occupy about two-thirds of the state and refused to hold a plebiscite.

    This deadlock, which still persists, has intensified suspicion and antagonism between the two countries and has been resulting in migration of millions of people during the last 55 years. In fact no transfer of population was ever suggested at any stage of the struggle for independence from British rule. The Pakistan Resolution of 1940 itself, which is the founding document of the struggle for Pakistan, did not envisage imposing population burdens upon the new states and their constituent Provinces. It did not oblige any Province to accept a single person from any other place including India. Much less does it envisage people having their historical homelands, turned into petty minorities in these very homelands by wholesale population transfers. Nothing could be clearer on this point than Mr. Jinnah's historic inaugural speech to the first Constituent Assembly three days before the coming into existence of Pakistan, in which he directed the people to forget the bitter past and bury the communal hatchet so that the entire story of Hindu-Muslim strife and communal hatred may become a thing of the past.

    Until December 1971 Pakistan included the province of East Pakistan, in 1971, however, East Pakistan seceded from Pakistan and assumed the name Bangladesh. India claimed that nearly 10 million Bengali refugees crossed its borders, stories of atrocities by Pakistan and specially its Bihari vigilantes upon Bengalis abounded. Afterwards thousands of Muslim rightists / fundamentalists (Biharis) demanded to go to former West Pakistan a place thousands of miles away they had never seen before. Biharis have never set foot on the soil of present Pakistan, but instead of continuing to live where they have always lived after the establishment of Pakistan and where a great number of them were born, they are migrating to Pakistan as "Stranded Pakistanis" and have got settled in Karachi the capital of Sindh province destroying its socio-economic fabric.

    20 years after the 1979 Soviet support of the communist Govt, Afghanistan is still a country in which armed conflict has been supported by the neighboring countries and the western world. Throughout the following years a bitter struggle over power between the various mujahideen (fundamentalist) groups ensued and the country has in the process been devastated, producing the world's largest ever single refugee case-load (6.2 million persons). In 1998, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees assisted about 107,000 refugees to return to Afghanistan, of whom 93,000 returned from Pakistan and 14,000 from Iran.

    While this is probably the largest ever repatriation of a single group, more than 2.6 million refugees still live in exile, giving the Afghans also the unfortunate distinction of remaining the largest single refugee group in the world, for the 20th year in succession. Their numbers in Pakistan peaked in 1990 at 3.27 million and today there are still around 1.2 million in refugee settlements. This does not include refugees living in urban centers such as Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. Initially Several NGOs and HR organizations including UNHCR, Red Cross, CARE, US Committee for Refugees, SNPO, Church World Service, Amnesty International, CRS and others started new schemes to identify refugee groups in urban areas of Sindh and NWFP Pakistan but ultimately they realized that the remaining refugees were not very keen to return home due to destroyed houses, lack of employment opportunities and poor irrigation systems.

    Despite the fact that 84% of returnees reported were feeling safe, and had not experienced problems either with landmines or other personal security issues and they were able to recover their land and/or houses without difficulty, the majority was quite satisfied in staying in Pakistan where they have been earning a lot from drugs and arms business. These Afghan mujahideen, molvis and talibans have been destroying the already wounded Sindh, Balochistan and Seraiki belt, economically and socially. The ban on modern English education, NGO activities and progressive literature, repression of women, many of whom live like prisoners in their own homes, is only a harsh symptom of a larger disease. These refugees have decreed that women could no longer work and study and must be veiled in the all-enveloping chadar, or shuttlecock burqa, they can not marry the groom of their choice they can not refuse to marry elderly sick married men. They have been forced to remain in their homes and even not allowed to visit hospitals and rural health centers and to die of suffocation. Small boys as well as girls are being denied education because many teachers were women who have not been replaced, and their male counterparts who remained in the schools are often not paid and therefore do not show up. The mullas and madarsa teachers have also been found involved in sodomy on small kids. In remote villages and surrounding areas of Madarsas in Pakistan the Afghan refugee leaders have not only enforced strict rules on what women must wear, but now they have banned men from wearing western clothes, un-bearded villagers or forced to leave the area.

    These Afghan refugees and Talibans justify, encourage and facilitate the trafficking of AK47 and other weapons and use of local made drugs including NASWAR, OPIUM, HEROIN and BHANG. Their leaders and Mullas import these drugs from Afghanistan which produced 4,600 tons of opium last year, more than doubling its 1998 output and accounting for 75 per cent of the total world opium production for the 1998-1999 season, according to ODCCP. The total estimated production of illicit opium for 1999 was about 6,000 metric tons, roughly 60 per cent more than the 3,750 metric tons recorded in 1998.

    The economy of Pakistan grew by 5 % annually during the period from 1965 to 1980 and by 6 percent during the 1980s and early 1990s. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s, the majority of the Country's citizens remained poor and heavily dependent on the agricultural sector for employment. This was largely a result of the country's high rate of population increase, influx of Afghans & Biharis and political factors, such as the war of subjugating East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971, involvement in Afghan crisis and a coup d'état in 1977 which slowed economic growth and modernization.

    As for as the displacement is concerned every year government projects, natural catastrophe and man-made disasters destroy and contaminate several villages and towns of Pakistan. Cyclones in Thatta and Badin districts, drought of Thar, Kacho, Kohistan, Urenji and Khuzdar and mega projects like Tarbella and Kalabagh Dam have threatened millions of indigenous people and the poor villagers are forced to flee every year. These environmental refugees uprooted from their native land will have to be away from their ancestral homes for seasons, years or even for lifetimes. Indigenous Opinion, Demographic Aggression & Meager Resources

    If you would ever find an opportunity to discuss the refugee and illegal immigrants questions with Sindhi, Baloch and Seraiki democrats, nationalists and common literate people of Pakistan you would hear following rational and logical arguments:

    1. Grant of Pakistani citizenship to millions of Afghan, Indian and Bihari refugees and illegal immigrants is not only a matter of concern to the government of the day but is a question of life and death for Sindhis and Balochs.

    2. The province of Sindh has just so much quality and quantity of resources which are less than sufficient for its own people who have been living here and have been protecting, developing and preserving these meager resources with their sweat and blood for over a score of centuries.

    3. The mass migration of Indian Muslims after the establishment of Pakistan to Sindh has already taken away a sizable portion of Sindhi Peoples' national resources, reduced their percentage of the total of the population and consequently their effectiveness as the owners of their homeland.

    4. The Pakistan resolution which is the Political foundation stone of the struggle for Pakistan did not envisage putting of enormous Population burdens on and reduction of the economic Political and demographic status of the People who had volunteered to become parts of Pakistan.

    5. No people in the world including Afghans and Biharis have any vested or moral right to go on changing their places of residence like shirts every other day at their sweat will, to go on abusing the hospitality of one people and thrusting themselves upon another when ever they like.

    6. The Afghans had their chance to return back after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops and Biharis have had their choice after leaving Bihar, to live in their new Bengali home in fraternity with their peaceful Bengali brothers but they failed to live or rather chose not to live with their Muslim brothers in peace and chose to help turndown their chosen homeland into fire and blood.

    7. Every one knows that a number of Indian Muslims, Biharis and Afghans were supporters of General Yahya Khan's and General Zia's disastrous actions against their own people. They have already reached Pakistan illegally and are living and working here and are demanding full civil rights and facilities as Pakistani citizens and due to their presence Pakistan was beset by domestic unrest in the mid-1990s. Violence between rival political, religious, and ethnic groups erupted frequently within Sindh Province, particularly in Karachi. More than 650 people were killed in 1994 and thousands in 1995-1999 including political leaders, lawyers, human rights activists and two U.S. diplomats, the first violent incident directed at Westerners.

    8. The mass migrations of People has been one of the forms of uprooting historical owners of different territories and it has caused uprooting of natives from their own historical homelands by more powerful neighbors. History shows that all the immigrants who have legally or illegally come to Pakistan, have always converged on Sindh causing torment and destruction to the People of Sindh in the from of over-strain on their already exhausted meager resources Refugees, Jails and Violence As for as the question of Bengali, Iranian, Burmese and other refugees and illegal immigrants are concerned they are living a terrible life in Pakistan. The refugee, women and children related laws of Pakistan have a number of contradictions between customary practices, old conventions, Muslim jurisprudence, statutory law and the desires of Pakistani human rights organizations. Illegal immigrants and refugees awaiting criminal trial in Pakistani prisons outnumber those convicted of a crime by a ratio of 4-1 and more than 1500 Afghanis, Biharis, Bengalis and Burmese are imprisoned in the country's jails. Of these prisoners who have been incarcerated in different jails almost 78 % are awaiting trial, a process that can take months or even years due to the delayed submission of police investigation reports and the frequent adjournment of hearings. These helpless prisoners including more than 50 children are maltreated and manhandled in jails where they sleep without mattresses on bare cement floors, or on raised cement blocks that serve as beds and are provided with improper and sub standard food, are not allowed to meet their relatives without KHARCHI (bribe) and complain of conditions unfit for animals.

    In addition, more than one-third of the illegal immigrants do not have a lawyer to defend them and hence they languish for months in jails and police lockups. Police and prison officials frequently use the threat of abuse to extort money from these prisoners. The extent of this warped system is even more evident when the victim is a non-Muslim.

    The violence against refugee and illegal immigrant women has escalated to an intolerable level and the most worrying and disturbing factor in these crimes is the absolute impunity with which they are committed. The increasing level of gender-based violence is exacerbated by the indifferent attitudes of government institutions like the police, legal system and legislature which are deeply biased against women. In August 1999 the Pakistani Senate voted to block debate over a draft resolution condemning incidents of violence against women and only four members of the Senate voted in favor of discussing the draft. There are very few women's shelters for rape victims and for many women, prostitution and suicide appears to be the only means of escape. Child abuse is one of the most unacknowledged of crimes and the majority of the children abused are 10 years of age or less.

    Conclusions The refugee problem has several causes. For centuries refugee movements were a result of religious and racial intolerance and entire groups were exiled or deported by religious authorities in an effort to enforce conformity. Politically motivated refugee movements, frequent in modern times, have occurred intermittently since the development of governments powerful enough to oppress nonconformist minorities. People may be forcibly driven out of their country by an unfriendly government, religious fanaticism or law and order situation. Economic reasons have caused people to lose their homes and ethno-lingual terrorism has also been a frequent excuse for driving people from their homelands. While refugees normally flee from war, tyranny, or political persecution, the voluntary migrants, whether internal or external leave their homelands to seek better employment elsewhere.

    The growth in the number of economic migrants have created a shift in patterns of movement around the world and the persistence of the refugee problem has made it increasingly difficult to find places for all who have been left homeless. Often they arrive in countries like Pakistan, India and Iran that are too poor to take care of them or that are already overcrowded. The unceasing inflow of refugees has also caused economic strains and after a global economic downturn, citizens in the host nations resent the newcomers' competition for their jobs. The time has come when South Asian countries would also be confronted with the asylum and refuge question like Switzerland, Norway, France, West Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries. The large-scale movement of refugees in Asia, Africa and Latin America is bound to continue and even to intensify as the world's population continues to increase, mostly in the countries least able to provide for their inhabitants. All of us know that the land, water and sub soil resources of the earth are not inexhaustible or ownerless. These are there simply because they have been possessed, protected and developed by individuals, communities, peoples and nations. Sizable number of people cannot go from one territory to another and take a share of its resources without reducing the share of those who are there since centuries with no where else to go and no other resource to share. Our South Asian helpless and downtrodden villagers do not have jobs, food, clean water, electricity, roads, halfway decent homes, effective schools and hospitals. They have been dominated and oppressed by feudal system, the ruling establishment, aggressive refugees and fundamentalism who just want to rule something, dominate someone. Illiterate villagers, refugees, women and children are easily available and most vulnerable targets. In this catastrophic situation concern for civil, human and legal rights of refugees cannot be separated from that for the economic, social & cultural rights of the people of the host countries and the time has come when recognition and respect for and promotion of indigenous people's civil & political liberties and securities should be given prime attention and importance.

    This consciousness-raising exercise is not generally undertaking by NGOs and Human Rights groups. As for the governments in countries like Pakistan are concerned their contribution to upholding human rights is mainly in the form of rhetoric, proclamations & promises. On the one hand such governments believe that the only option available to them is to improve and strengthen law and order and set up commissions for refugees and on the other hand the Indian, Pakistani, Afghan and Iranian governments are spending billions on jingoism and defence budgets. The human rights and advocacy organizations of Pakistan have been working in partnership with international networks, coalitions and support organizations to help reduce human displacement and resettlement but they will have to do more of this by initiating political debate, influencing peace and encouraging dialogue between bordering countries and between the natives and the refugees.

    The combination of repressive and regressive religious and state policies is a formidable barrier, which these organizations are seeking to overcome with the help of sympathetic political parties and media. The sane and enlightened elements of the society are aware that many religious movements were progressive in their initial phase, but after the passage of time they were turned into the handmaiden of those very opposite forces against whom these movement had come into action. Instead of becoming the weapon of the deprived and oppressed they became the weapon of their adversaries. So is the case with the national question. Totalitarian governments and dictators like Gen. Zia used the fanaticism and made the terms national and the ethnic justice, a term of abuse for the people. Millions of our South Asian brothers and sisters have spent their lives in refugee camps, in distant lands and isolated prohibited areas and thousands of our comrades have spent several precious years of their lives in jails, bearing the pain and surviving brutalities and tortures with sheer will-power. It is difficult to determine which is the higher price to pay under an autocratic dictatorship, the price of participating in peoples movement in one's own country or that of going into exile. In truth, it is a difficult distinction to make.

    The time has come when there should be forged a broad unity in the common struggle of the peoples of this region, comprising Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives. Most of us need peace to work, to study, to live, to marry, to sing, to dance, to live like human beings with our share of pains and pleasures. And for that we will have to forge a peace movement in the shape of greater coordination in the working of all radical parties and NGOs. This can be done if they join hands to draw up an agreed programme and work with special integral focus on refugees, native populations, indigenous interests and empowerment of downtrodden masses instead of charity, so-called routine census studies and impact assessments. Empowerment alone can facilitate emancipation and it can be achieved if people are made aware of their rights and of the importance of freedom from imposed backward traditions. Additionally, explicit criminalization of all forms of domestic and familial violence in refugee and illegal immigrant communities against women is the need of the time.

    There is a need for establishment of clear guidelines for police intervention and reenactment in the case of Pakistan of the repealed provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860, with an amendment to impose a severe punishment for forced and bonded labour, child abuse and violence against women. It is necessary to speed the pace of development and relations between the various countries. What is important is to emerge out of poverty, to stop wasting our resources in the arms race. We are still in a sense an economic colony, we are still in a sense second rate citizens of the world. The recent grassroots developments and human rights initiatives have shown that there is a new global actor on the stage. This international grassroots movement can play a significant role in bringing about significant improvements in the lives of refugees and illegal immigrants in South Asia. We know that progress is always slow in an area which has been kept silent for ages. It will take hard work and relentless struggle to change the status quo. Pushing public opinion on these issues is a most important achievement and our committed people have been working for the desired changes in the status quo. We would have welcomed if there had been regional discussions and seminars on the refugee problems of South Asia where we could bring together refugee women, refugee rights groups, refugee decision-makers, academics, government representatives, UNHCR and others interested in ensuring that the refugees and the displaced receive help, guidance and protection. We should have people willing to develop the refugee law clinics to undertake the actual interviewing, counseling, country of origin research, and ultimately the representation of the refugees and asylum seeker, all in an effort to assist the governments and UN bodies in providing help, guidance and protection.

    The question of the day is not whether gross abuses against refugees and illegal immigrants are rampant in South Asian society but that how many of you have spared few moments to support our Human Rights and Advocacy groups and radical activists, and above all how many of us, who are from the same historical and cultural background, have changed our defensive and apologetic attitude and have acted against our tradition our system by refusing to subject our companions to the barbaric customs of jingoism, rural traditions, fundamentalism and governmental terrorism. I can assure you that the majority of the laboring masses of Sindh and Pakistan are ready to clasp the hand of any one who is willing to march forward with them on the path of a peaceful and democratic struggle for a better and peaceful life for all of us.

    Ayaz Latif Palijo Advocate (SRC Pakistan)


    References 1. Human Development in South Asia 1997 by Mahbub ul Haq-Oxford.

    2. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan- Annual Report 1999.

    3. People's Summit on APEC, Proceedings.

    4. Document & Reports of UNHCR, Red Cross & other Organizations.

    5. Reports of 56th Session of UN Commission on Human Rights.

    6. Kot Lakhpat Jo Qaidi (Jail Diary) by RB Palijo

    7. Amnesty International's reports.

    8. Bakh Jee Sakh Sindhi Book of Columns and Articles.

    9. Qaidyani Jee Dairy (Biography of a women prisoner) by Akhtar Baloch.

    10. Email discussions on Sindhorg, HelpAsia and LawJuC lists.

    11. Issues of Monthly Subuh Theendo & Daily Kawish, Ibrat, Sach & Jago

    [end of insert]


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