Thursday 26th May 2011, 5.30pm to 7pm, Room NABLG09, New Academic Building, LSE
Speaker: Ehtisham Ahmad
Chair: Ruth Kattumuri
Over the past 50 years, successive governments in Pakistan have used a strategic location to extract aid (or "rents") at the expense of domestic resource mobilization--including in the 1960's and 1980's in the cold war against the Soviet Union. But each time with the resumption of normality, Pakistan's importance declined, as did bilateral assistance, especially from the US. Since 9/11 Pakistan was seen as a critical ally in the war on terror, and again the significant inflows of capital led to a relaxation of efforts on domestic resource mobilization. Consequently, Pakistan was ill-prepared to deal with the economic crisis of 2008, and had to resort to a mega-IMF loan, in which the main condition was the completion of the domestic resource mobilization agenda. Three years later with abundant external resources, the country has continued to rely on its strategic importance, and domestic resource mobilization has been pushed to the back of the political agenda--leading to an effective suspension of the IMF Program, dangerously high debt levels, and paralysis on tax reforms. With the increasing trust deficit following the events in Abbottabad in early May, can the country continue to bank on strategic importance over " effectively breaking the begging bowl?"
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