COAS on economy and security

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ADDRESSING a seminar in Karachi on Wednesday, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa comprehensively touched upon the economic and security situation of the country. While expressing satisfaction over the progress made in the energy and infrastructure sectors, he also highlighted the areas where an honest and dedicated vision is required to strengthen country’s economy.
There is no doubt that in today’s world both security and economy are strongly interlinked and as stated by the Army Chief there is dire need to strike a right kind of balance between the two. Unless we achieve economic sovereignty, our security will always remain at stake, as foreign lenders will continue to dictate their terms and conditions. Similarly, improved security situation is of paramount importance to achieve economic targets, attract foreign investment and improve living standards of our people. The very address of the army chief once again highlights the importance of greater coordination between the civilian and military leadership to achieve progress both on economic and security fronts. While we are witnessing much improved security situation in the wake of anti-terror operations, it is high time that political leadership takes the right kind of decisions and initiatives to fix the economic problems haunting the country for the last many decades. In order to break the begging bowl and achieve self-reliance there is need for creating sufficient fiscal space through tax reforms, diversifying export basket and encouraging savings to fund mega development projects. Promises are always made for enhancing the tax to GDP ratio but the fact remains that the affluent class is still untouchable and it is only the employees who are paying the taxes in full. According to government figures, our overall debt has soared to $ 62.5 billion and if we continue to give tax exemptions to strong and powerful, this burden will continue to balloon in the months and years ahead multiplying the problems for the country. It is time that government takes genuine and sincere steps that bring new people in the tax net instead of overburdening those who are already fulfilling their responsibility. The leadership must declare their domestic and foreign assets, accordingly pay due taxes and lead people of this country through personal examples of honesty and simple living so that State of Pakistan earns due prestige in comity of nations.