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Huma Dad Khan

The Frontier Post

Published Date: Apr 8, 2015

Afghans deport ation: Security versus economy??

Considering deportation for security concerns and ignoring the economic impact of the spontaneous Afghan expulsion needs better assessment for national security interest and economic development of the country.
In terms of economy, the country growth performance is already depressed, the lowest among the region i.e. 4.1% GDP growth rate with a nation of 56% young population. According to WB report on “Doing Business Rank 2015” Pakistan has fell to 128 out of 189 countries, which
previously ranked at 127 for 2014.The report also highlights another terrible aspect of economy, the indicator “Starting a Business” shows a negative change of 7 with country’s ranking 116 for 2015 from 109 in 2014.

Due to various shocks, investment has been suffered since 2007-08. Total
investment declined to 13.9% of GDP in 2014 with its peak value of 19.3% of GDP in 2005-06. Similarly, private sectors investment is considered as the “growth engine” of economy for developing countries. In Pakistan, the share of private investment to GDP is only 8.9% (2014),
while it remained between 12-14 % of GDP during 2005-09. At the same time when private investment was blooming at its full capacity, the country witnessed tremendous economic growth till 2007-08with 5% growth rate.

In such a bad scenario expelling of Afghan investors without adopting any reliable mechanism may bring shocks to already shattered economy of Pakistan. Because bulk of Afghanis are involved in medium and large businesses, specifically in KPK and Baluchistan.

Afghans by generations have a flourished investment set up in many of the sectors, from consumer goods to logistics and supply chain process in transport etc. Employment opportunities, income generation and contribution to GDP by such investment activities would be drawn away, if deporting them with no proper policy framework and execution planning.

Sluggish economy and uncertain security situation after recent terrorist
attacks are the two endangering issues the country isfaced by present. Rising security threats to our homeland and the recent visits of COAS to
Afghanistan shows a matters of great concern for the political leadership to make a national action plan and its implementation without
any further jerks.

Pakistan has been the land to Afghan refugees from the last 34 years. According to UNHCR, around 3 million refugees areresiding in Pakistan and about 1.5 million are unregistered with Pakistani government. Trilateral decision was made betweenUN, Pakistan and Afghanistan that all the refugees will return to their homeland till end 2015. But after the Peshawar massacre,the KPK government is constantly asking the Federal Government for Afghans deportation. The KPK government particularly is not in position to take this burden, as the province remained the victim of terrorism.

On the other side, Afghan government asked Pakistani authorities to give
some time for making their strategy for the absorption of their returnees. The afghan official said we are not prepared yet for this much huge expulsion of about 300 familiespassing the Torkham border daily, since the provincial government claimed to deport the refugees.

The sensitivity of security should be deal properly taking the economy into consideration as well. After a long time of trust deficit, the bilateral relation between Afghanistan and Pakistan has taken a smooth shape. Both countries move towards in their mutual national interest and
development and start building up ties to deal with terrorism, energy crisis, education poverty and infrastructure.

The urgency of time appeals that we as a nation should go for those options and policy framework that can best determine the strength and prosperity of Pakistan. Both the countries are members of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program that aimed to promote
development by regional cooperation. It is indeed a great opportunity for us to be good neighbors, partners with Afghanistan for bright national prospects.

Likewise, our relations with India in the context of inferiority complex
and insecurity became the failure of SAARC’s chartered of regional integration. CAREC is the platform forPakistan and Afghanistan to utilize each other’s potential for promoting regional cooperation in trade policy, trade facilitation, transport, energy and would become a trade corridor to Central Asian economies.

The Afghan government has offered Pakistani business community to invest
in the tax free zones of Afghanistan with cheaper electricity and fully
secured areas for their industrial set up. Similarly Afghan students would now be enrolled in the Pakistani’s top universities for mutual benefits that will eliminate the trust gaps between us.

In the light of above facts, government officials should synthesized a significant strategy for coping up with the security situation and economy. If we jump into any unrealistic approach and adequate procedure
of exiling the Afghan refugees, we would face a very difficult time in the near future. Our country’s investment profile would be deteriorated due to capital flight and economic instability, which would eventually lead to political instability and vice versa.