Special Report Launch
Economic Security of Pakistan: Challenges and Way Forward
August 22, 2022
On August 22, 2022, the Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a launch of its Special Report titled, “Economic Security of Pakistan: Challenges and Way Forward”. The Chief Guest of the event was Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue.
Other panellists included: Dr. Abid Q. Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI; Ambassador Seema Ilahi Baloch; Mr. Zafar ul Hasan, Joint Chief Economist, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms; and Mr. Amir Zafar Durrani, President, Reenergia.
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, DG ISSI, welcomed the speakers and shared the idea behind launching the report. In his remarks Ambassador Chaudhary stated that national security should be measured on a tripod of economic security, human security, and traditional security and the primacy given to Pakistan‘s economic security in the overall national security calculus is a step in the right direction.
In her introductory remarks, Dr. Neelum Nigar, Director of CSP highlighted the importance of economic security in Pakistan. Dr. Nigar gave an overview of the report and elucidated its key outcomes. She proposed that macroeconomics needs to shift from stabilization to sustainability, from consumption to investment, from imports to exports, and from service sector to industrial.
The Chief Guest, Dr. Aisha G. Pasha, stated that currently there is no imminent threat of default as the government has secured external financial needs for the year 2023. She also emphasized the need of structural reforms of permanent nature with the consensus of all stakeholders. She proposed increasing tax compliance and implementation of right taxation policy to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth. Dr. Pasha also stated that the recommendations and structural reforms highlighted in the report are very important and must be implemented to ensure overall economic security of Pakistan.
Dr. Abid Q. Suleri, discussed the economic history of Pakistan. He listed some of the chronic, medium and short-term challenges to Pakistan’s economic security. Moreover, he also listed challenges Pakistan is facing. Dr. Suleri emphasized on resisting the politicization of economic decision making and proposed creation of an ‘Economic Security Council’.
Ambassador Seema Ilahi Bloch in her remarks emphasized on a link between economic development and gender equality. She maintained that there is a dire need to address the barriers that impede women’s development in Pakistan as it directly impacts economic development. She proposed that economists should focus on the development of human capital, 55% of which is women. Moreover, she also recommends enacting laws that promote gender equality and population control.
Mr. Zafar ul Hasan in his remarks emphasized that in order to ensure national economic security, there is a need to develop sustainable economic growth. He highlighted that owing to multiple factors, Pakistan’s productivity is lowest in the region. Therefore, he proposed that Pakistan should redirect investment from infrastructure to developing human capabilities.
Mr. Amir Zafar Durrani, while addressing challenges to economic security of Pakistan, highlighted a nexus between elites and poor governance. He highlighted the loopholes in the taxation system of Pakistan. According to him, both fragility and disasters are human-triggered and can be controlled by controlling the actions that prompts it. Mr. Zafar suggested that only societal efforts and economic development can elevate the marginalized.
All panellists of the discussion had a broad consensus on the structural reforms in taxation system of the country, formation of an Economic Security Council, development of human capital, and elevation of women in the society which can lead to sustainable economic growth in Pakistan.
After the end of the panel discussion, ISSI’s Executive Heads along with the CSP team and esteemed panellists formally launched ISSI’s Special Report on Economic Security of Pakistan. ISSI’s Chairman BOG Ambassador Khalid Mahmood also presented the panellists with ISSI’s momentos.