Staff ReporterSunday, September 11, 2011 - Islamabad—-Prominent economic wizards on Saturday said 9/11 terrorists attacks had also inflicted devastating social and economic cost on Pakistan- still reeling under their impact. In hindsight they were having a pragmatic look at the impact of Pakistan’s decision to join the global war on terror on its economy and infrastructure.
Despite heavy cost, Islamabad remains committed to eliminate extremism and militancy from its soil. “The 9/11 attacks have not caused damages to the United States as much as it has been inflicting on Pakistan,” they said while commenting on the terrorists attacks on twin towers in New York as the world is observing 10th anniversary of colossal event today.
“Pakistan has suffered a loss of US $ 67-68 billion since 2001 but we have been unable to explain this heavy loss to international community”, Ashfaq Hassan Khan former adviser to finance ministry said. The attack on USA has put a negative impact on the economy of Pakistan as well. Former Finance Minister Dr.Salman Shah said after 9/11, Pakistan suffered a lot in terms of negative investment and negative exports besides severe damages to infrastructure due to terrorist attacks in its major cities killing and maiming thousands of people. The 9/11 episode inflicted disastrous damages to Pakistan, both socially and economically, and the country is still bearing its aftershocks even after the passage of one decade, said Ashfaq Hassan. “We are a peace-loving and hardworking nation and abhor terrorism and extremism”, remarked Salman Shah.
Shah called for joint efforts to improve a soft image of the country as a peace loving nation at global level for attracting more investments into the country and called for eliminating the menace of terrorism and extremism from the society. The war against extremism and militancy have affected Pakistan’s exports, prevented inflow of foreign investment and affected the pace of privatization programme. It slowed the overall economic activity,reduced import demand, reduced tax collection,expenditure over-run on additional security spending. Besides domestic tourism industry suffered badly due to this war while thousands of more jobs could have been created had economic activity not slowed.
Dr. Ashfaq called upon the top leadership and economic managers including foreign minister to explain properly the material and human losses caused to Pakistan at international forums like UN, IMF, World bank meetings and other foras due to its role as frontline state against war on terrorism. “We have lost 30,000 to 35,000 people including the personals of law enforcement agencies besides damages to schools , hospitals and other infrastructure facilities in the country due to participation in war against terrorism”, he remarked.
Senator Haji Ghulam Ali President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said that Pakistan’s participation as frontline state has negatively impacted trade, industry and economy of the country. He was of the view that Pakistan’s sacrifices in war on terror were tremendous but the financial reward from the US against these sacrifices was “nominal”. The examples of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) promised by the US for the help of affected people of the war on terror but no progress has been made so far in this regard, senator Ali said.
Senator Haji Ghulam Ali said that European Union granted free trade facility to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Srilanka and Maldives but despite sacrifices this facility was withdrawn for Pakistan. He regretted that the foreign debt of Egypt and other countries were written off but Pakistan was not granted this facility.
Former President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Zahid Maqbool said that the incident of 9/11 had totally changed the social and financial system of the world especially of Pakistan. He said that even if the terrorism was eliminated, its impact would last for several years to come. Maqbool said the government should tell the whole world about the details of losses it faced due to war on terrorism and seek the assistance to counter the losses.
According to official sources, Pakistan’s economy is under pressure due to war against militancy. The economy was subjected to enormous direct and indirect costs which continued to rise from $ 2.669 billion in 2001-02 to $ 13.6 billion by 2009-10, projected to rise to $ 17.8 billion in the current financial year (2010-11) and moving forward, the direct and indirect costs to the economy is most likely to rise further.