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Pakistan’s unsustainable debts-Part I

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(By Maqsood A Butt) Up to four years after the creation of Pakistan, we were debt-free. Then came the World Bank that convinced our then rulers to borrow from the bank, promising it would jump-start the economy. Whether the economy jumpstarted or not, it is now clear that the unfortunate foundation of reckless borrowing was laid. That also gave our rulers the easiest way of creating money to be spent on unproductive projects that did not create any real revenue ... Read More »

Govt. plans to further contract $8bn foreign loans

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(Khaleeq Kiani):  Despite a 39 per cent cut in assistance from the United States, the government plans to contract $8 billion foreign loans, including $1.8bn through international commercial bonds and Islamic Sukuk, during 2016-17. In the budget documents submitted to parliament, the finance ministry has estimated Rs1.2bn US assistance for public sector development projects next year, compared with Rs1.8bn during the outgoing financial year. In addition, the authorities do not expect any assistance under the Kerry-Lugar programme, which contributed Rs304 million ... Read More »

Debt will Choke Pakistan

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  (Ayaz Amir): We have taken on debt and continue to take on more so recklessly that it is now getting to be beyond our power to service. The old legend used to be that we spent most of our money on defense. We still spend a whopping amount on that – more than we can afford – but debt payments as a portion of our annual budget now far exceed expenditure on defense. This is what comes from living ... Read More »

Beyond GDP – is it time to rethink the way we measure growth?

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(By Ross Chainey) Is our love affair with GDP coming to an end? If you were following this year’s Annual Meeting in Davos, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is indeed the case. In three separate sessions, two giants of the financial world and one leading academic were all in agreement: gross domestic product – the estimate of the total value of goods and services a country produces – is up for review. Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, ... Read More »

Inequality Didn’t Just Happen. It Was Created

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(By Joseph E. Stiglitz) American inequality didn’t just happen. It was created. Market forces played a role, but it was not market forces alone. In a sense, that should be obvious: economic laws are universal, but our growing inequality— especially the amounts seized by the upper 1 percent—is a distinctly American “achievement.” That outsize inequality is not predestined offers reason for hope, but in reality it is likely to get worse. The forces that have been at play in creating ... Read More »

Saudis shower more aid to Pakistan

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(11 March 2016) Saudi Arabia increased financial assistance to Pakistan and signed an agreement of $122 million in economic aid on Thursday, the highest amount Riyadh has officially given to Islamabad in the last five years. The signing ceremony for the grant, which includes a $67 million package, took place the day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif were attending the closing ceremony of the multi-nation ‘Thunder of the North’ military exercise in Saudi Arabia. US budget ... Read More »

Pakistan Risk Surges as $50 Billion Debt Bill Coming Due: Bloomberg

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Faseeh Mangi  and Divya Patil (February 15, 2016) Bets are rising that Pakistan will default on its debt just as it starts to revive investor interest with a reduction in terrorist attacks. Credit default swaps protecting the nation’s debt against non-payment for five years surged 56 basis points last week to 620 points amid the global market sell-off, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest since January 2015 and the steepest jump after Greece, Venezuela and Portugal among ... Read More »

No Right to Housing?

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By I. A . Rehman ( 18 February 2016) BY announcing government plans to legalise some of the illegally established housing colonies in the capital city, the federal minister of state for Islamabad`s development has provided an opportunity for a discussion on the mess in the country`s housing sector. That the 109 or so housing colonies in Islamabad that have been declared unauthorised/illegal by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) should be regularised is quite understandable. Quite a few of the people living ... Read More »

The scourge of rising inequality–A case of Pakistan

U.S. Army soldiers from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade relocate Internally Displaced People from Matlatan to Rubicon in support of the Pakistan flood relief efforts in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan Sept. 26, 2010. Starving Pakistanis and their children wait to be transported in a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Wayne Gray/Released)

Abdul Khaliq (25 January 2016) The issue of inequality, which was shunted aside amidst rapid growth over the last few decades, has resurfaced with a vengeance, particularly after the global financial crisis. The trend has been rising in most of the countries despite rapid economic growth. Oxfam reports that by 2016 the 1% will control more wealth than the rest of the 99% and this gap is likely to widen. The impact is so severe that it has afflicted the ... Read More »

Debt domination is sophisticated violation of Human Rights

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(22 January 2016) Abdul Khaliq Shah is the Executive Director, Institute for Social & Economic Justice (ISEJ) and Focal person of Campaign for Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) Pakistan Chapter. Following is an edited transcript of the conversation BR Research had with Mr Abdul Khaliq.  BR Research: Tell us about your organisation?  Abdul Khaliq Shah: Institute for Social & Economic Justice (ISEJ) is not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation, registered under Societies Act 1860. It is made up of social activists and ... Read More »