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Pakistan, Economy

Pakistani leaders, defense spending, economic order, foreign debt, Debt repayment

Like most developing countries, Pakistan is confronted with the problems of rapid population growth, sizable budget deficits, and heavy dependence on foreign aid and loans. The economy is strained from supporting a large military establishment and from providing for the needs of Afghan refugees.

Pakistan receives considerable economic assistance from foreign countries and from international organizations. Over the years Pakistan has accumulated a foreign debt of about $40 billion. Debt repayment, defense spending, and general administrative expenditures consume 80 percent of Pakistanís annual budget. Only 20 percent is available for development of the social sector. After Pakistan exploded a nuclear device in May 1998, it faced the imposition of international sanctions. The fact that the country survived the sanctions without a collapse of its currency or violent street demonstrations is generally regarded as proof of the countryís resilience. Heading into the 21st century, Pakistani leaders have a chance to seize the moment in order to modify and build a sound social and economic order that may steer the nation to a more durable path of progress.

In 2000 Pakistanís gross domestic product (GDP) was $61.6 billion. The government budget in 1999 included $9.5 billion in revenues and $12.8 billion in expenditures.

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