As the Financial Action Task Force, a world anti-money-laundering watchdog, has started discussing proposals to put Pakistan on a list of countries which have failed to prevent terrorist financing, the economy of the country has already been showing bleak performance during the last four years of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government. The watchdog was founded in 1989 to combat money laundering and preventing terrorist financing but currently it is discussing the financial issues of Pakistan on the insistence of the United States and India. A useful forum is being misused against a country which has sacrificed billions of dollars and thousands of lives in the so-called war on terror. Unfortunately, India is using its lobbies in the United States and other influential capitals of the world to damage the economy of Pakistan which has chances of recovery in the wake of Chinese investment in Pakistan. It is equally unfortunate that when hostile countries are trying to squeeze Pakistan economically, the government had failed to introduce liberal business, trade and investment policies. If foreign entrepreneurs are given tax concessions, it will cost nothing to the policymakers who are acting as stumbling block in the way of foreign investment.
The country is being run on the crutches of foreign loans and the balance of payments problem could become a snowball in the near future. Due to decrease in imports and failure of the industrial sector to create export surplus, fiscal deficit has increased to 5.8 percent of the gross domestic product from an average of 5.2 percent last year. Economists fear the deficit would reach 8 percent mark if the current situation is allowed to linger on. However, the move to put Pakistan on the watch list of terror financing by some countries will only multiply the economic woes of the people in this country. The government should convince the world powers that Pakistan’s economy has already bore the brunt of terrorism and lost billions of dollars in the useless war. Pakistan is an emerging economy and any international pressure would not be in the interest of peace and stability in the region and the neighbouring countries would not be immune to the adverse effects of international sanctions on Pakistan. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should have to work overtime to make a strategy for the economic revival of the country before the end of his mandate in the office. This will be his best service for the nation.