Friday, October 1, 2010

Musharraf Launches Party, Offers Third Major Option For Elections in 2013

With Pakistani economy near collapse and the country's major political parties thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the people, former President General Pervez Musharraf has launched a new political party and vowed to galvanize Pakistanis to wage "jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness".

While launching his bid to return to power, Musharraf showed rare contrition for his mistakes during his tenure by saying "I... sincerely apologize to the whole nation" for the "negative repercussions".

"I am aware of the fact that there were some decisions which I took which resulted in negative political repercussions, repercussions which had adverse effects on nation building and national political events, and my popularity also, may I say, plummeted in that last year. I take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to the whole nation. Ladies and gentlemen, only God is infallible," Musharraf added.

Mr Musharraf said he had learned his lessons and vowed not to repeat them.

As part of his campaign, Musharraf has gathered the support of almost all of the PML factions (notably Q, Ejazul Haq and Pir Pagara) with the sole exception of the group led by Sharif brothers.

In addition to using the widespread public dissatisfaction and anger with the rapid deterioration of economy and security situation, Mr. Musharraf can run on his record during 2000-2008 which the current PPP government hailed in its 2008 MOU with the IMF as follows:

"Pakistan's economy witnessed a major economic transformation in the last decade. The country's real GDP increased from $60 billion to $170 billion, with per capita income rising from under $500 to over $1000 during 2000-07". It further acknowledged that "the volume of international trade increased from $20 billion to nearly $60 billion. The improved macroeconomic performance enabled Pakistan to re-enter the international capital markets in the mid-2000s. Large capital inflows financed the current account deficit and contributed to an increase in gross official reserves to $14.3 billion at end-June 2007. Buoyant output growth, low inflation, and the government's social policies contributed to a reduction in poverty and improvement in many social indicators". (see MEFP, November 20, 2008, Para 1).

Given the corruption and mismanagement by the PPP and PML(N) parties in what is now called the "lost decade" of the 1990s, and again since 2008, there is clearly a need for a third party to give people a wider choice if genuine democracy is to be sustained in Pakistan. Musharraf's party, called "All Pakistan Muslim League", has an opportunity to force the PPP and the PML(N) to deliver, or be replaced by a third option.

Per Capita PPP GDP

Here are video clips of Musharraf launching "All Pakistan Muslim League":

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Ishrat Husain: Structural Reforms in Pakistan's Economy

Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding

US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?

India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition

UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Financial Services Sector

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

Asia Gains in Top Asian Universities

BSE-Key Statistics

Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

India-Pakistan Military Comparison

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Energy Crisis

IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies


Anonymous said...

Musharaf won't make a comeback because his support base is educated middle class and secular a very tiny percentage.Besides the army hates him the establishment hates him and the feudals hate him so....

Anonymous said...


“the army hates him the establishment hates him and the feudals hate him”

Do you mind providing us the proof?

The last three years of mayham has made Musharraff look like an angel.

G. Ali

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder report on ADB's insistence on IMF prescribed reforms in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD (updated on: October 02, 2010, 19:37 PST): Pakistan should stick to an IMF reform programme in order to secure enough financial support to rebuild after devastating summer floods and stabilise its economy, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

Heavy financial support was critical for Pakistan long before one of the country's worst natural disasters struck. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform package agreed in 2008 had helped keep the economy afloat.

Although pressure on Pakistan eased after the IMF approved a $451 million emergency fund to help it rebuild after the floods, the ADB said delaying reforms would only hurt the country.

"What Pakistan should not have a problem with is continuing with the reform agenda. I am sure actually (this would) underpin a lot of donor support for not only the floods but for the stabilisation of the economy," said Juan Miranda, ADB's director general for its Central and West Asia department.

"We must continue with the reforms. This is our position. That's the way in which you can help people in the longer run.

Pakistan turned to the IMF for an emergency package of $7.6 billion in November 2008 to avert a balance of payments crisis and shore up reserves. The loan was increased to $11.3 billion in July last year, and the central bank received a fifth tranche of $1.13 billion in May.

The emergency fund is not part of the loan programme. Under the loan programme, the government pledged to implement tax and energy sector reforms and show fiscal discipline. However, the country has been missing the IMF targets regularly.

"We still have a programme with the IMF, and that is not something that you stop and then you start again. The economy will benefit by a continuation of the reforms. It's not a question of just money," Miranda said in a telephone interview.

"My biggest worry is that the reform agenda gets derailed. That we lose momentum."

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are completing a damage assessment for Pakistan, which will give the government and donors an estimate of how much rebuilding will cost.

The floods could knock Pakistan's economic growth this year to as low as 2 percent because of heavy damage to crops, said Miranda, lowering his forecast from 3 percent in late August. Pakistan's official target was 4.5 percent.

Pakistan's central bank said this week economic growth for fiscal 2010/11 could fall to 2.5 percent.

Agriculture is Pakistan's second-largest sector, accounting for over 21 percent of gross domestic product. Nearly 62 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Reconstruction could cost tens of billions of dollars. The World Bank said on Thursday it had approved over $400 million in credit to help Pakistan rebuild from massive flooding. It said the funds were part of the Bank's $1 billion commitment to Pakistan in this fiscal year.

The World Bank and the United States have urged Pakistan to take steps to reassure donor countries it is capable of using aid responsibly and that it can enact reforms.

Miranda agreed, saying periodic audits should be conducted and made available to the public through the media.

"It's not just following the rules but showing people that you have followed them. It has to be good, sound, smart oversight," he said.

Unknown said...

The growth of the economy during Musharraf's time also coincided with a global economic boom (or rather bubble). He lost power just about the time the bubble was bursting, so doubt if one could give him all that credit for the 2000-08 economic growth. Even during his rule, other South Asian economies outperformed Pakistan's, so he's not got all that much to crow about.

Despite all the misgovernance under Zardari, one has to admit he got a pretty sour deal to start off with - Mumbai attacks ending the peace process, global recession dragging down the Pakistani economy, Afghan insurgency spilling over deep into Pakistan ... and now the biggest floods in the history of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Vivek: "Even during his rule, other South Asian economies outperformed Pakistan's, so he's not got all that much to crow about."

Pakistan's economy has consistently performed better than other South Asian economies from 1947 to late 1980s. Its growth was 2 to 3 times greater than India's growth of 2-3% a year, often described as the "Hindu growth rate".

Pakistani economy grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year through the first four decades of the nation's existence. In spite of rapid population growth during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 46% down to 18% by late 1980s, according to eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. This healthy economic performance was maintained through several wars and successive civilian and military governments in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s until the decade of 1990s, now appropriately remembered as the lost decade.

Vivek: "Despite all the misgovernance under Zardari, one has to admit he got a pretty sour deal to start off with - "

This is nonsense. Zardari government inherited a relatively sound economy on March 31, 2008. It's badly mismanaged it by not appropriately responding to the exogenous shocks of food and fuel prices in 2008 causing a payments crisis.

Economist Dr. Ashfaq Husain Khan describes some of the missteps that led to it: "While the country was moving rapidly towards the IMF, the ministry of finance had prepared the plan to bring $4 billion by June 30, 2008 through four transactions. A kick-off meeting was scheduled on April 23, 2008 at the ministry to give a final touch to the various roadshows. These transactions were canceled on April 20, 2008. Who ordered the cancellation of $4 billion transaction? This cancellation prompted balance of payment crisis and the rest became history."

Zardari inherited foreign exchange reserves of $13.3 billion, exchange rate at Rs62.76 per US dollar, the KSE index at 15,125 with market capitalization at $74 billion, inflation at 20.6 per cent and the country's debt burden on a declining path. The government itself acknowledged in the same document that "the macroeconomic situation deteriorated significantly in 2007/08 and the first four months of 2008/09 owing to adverse security developments, large exogenous price shocks (oil and food), global financial turmoil, and policy inaction during the political transition to the new government". (Para 3 of the MEFP, November 20, 2008)

Anonymous said...

Pakistan's economy has consistently performed better than other South Asian economies from 1947 to late 1980s. Its growth was 2 to 3 times greater than India's growth of 2-3% a year, often described as the "Hindu growth rate".

yes but that was over 20 years ago!!!
The Indian economy has consistently outperformed the chinese economy from 1947 to 1979....
It also avoided things like the great leap forward,cultural revolution and other upheavels...
No one gives a damn!
What matters is here and now.

And i see a long dark tunnel for Pakistan at least for the next 5 years.

Riaz Haq said...

anon:"And i see a long dark tunnel for Pakistan at least for the next 5 years. "

And I see little hope for the 7000 Indians dying of hunger every day, and two-thirds of them defecating in the open, as you promote the "Shining India" PR around the world.

anoop said...

I want Mushy to come to power. Atleast he can muster enough power to complete the agreement India and Pakistan had worked out during his tenure.

Advantage India if he becomes the PM. Very unlikely he will though.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excepts of a Washington Post story on President Musharraf's speaking circuit and hiring of a lobby firm in Washington:

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, a regular on the foreign policy speaking circuit in this country, is seeking access to top U.S. lawmakers as he plans his return home after several years of self-imposed exile. And so he’s hired a local lobbying firm, to the tune of $25,000 a month, to help facilitate the effort.

So far, the investment appears to have paid off. Early this month, Musharraf met with six U.S. senators — including Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking committee Republican John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the senior minority member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Musharraf also sat down with former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who just four years ago denounced him as delusional and undemocratic after he suspended Pakistan’s constitution and imposed emergency rule.

The congressional meetings were widely publicized in Pakistan, where Musharraf has struggled to maintain an image as an international player as he plans to return and run for president.
According to a foreign agent registration filed here last month, Musharraf has retained Advantage Associates International, a lobbying group of seven former House members headed by three-term Texas Democrat Bill Sarpalius, who was unseated by the Republican House takeover in 1994.

The seven-month, $175,000 contract is financed by Philadelphia-based Pakistani-American Raza Bokhari, a wealthy physician-turned-entrepreneur and long-time Musharraf backer.

Advantage “helped facilitate those meetings” with Congress, Sarpalius said in a telephone interview. “We just help open up some of those doors where he can meet with some of those members and tell his story.”

Musharraf, Sarpalius said, is “not looking for any endorsements or anything like that. He’s basically been letting people know that he is looking at going back and running for president, and wants these members to understand his views and what he sees are some of the main issues facing Pakistan.”

Along with Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Musharraf spoke recently at the Washington Ideas Forum, co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. He called on the United States to be more understanding of Pakistan’s “sensitivities” about India, and said the two South Asian countries were engaged in a “proxy conflict” in Afghanistan. India, Musharraf said, was “trying to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan.”

Musharraf also said he had no knowledge, while president, that Osama bin Laden had been living for years in the town of Abbottabad, where a U.S. Special Operations raid found and killed the al-Qaeda leader in May. He said Pakistan may be guilty of “negligence” in failing to find bin Laden, but not of “complicity” in his concealment.

As part of his current 12-city U.S. tour, Musharraf will speak this month at the Clinton presidential library in Arkansas and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He also plans to return to Washington for an appearance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace....