web analytics

This is not a Myth that in Dictatorship Pak economy flourishes!

Mr. Shahram’s article forced me to write my views on his article “The myth of Musharaf’s ‘economic boom’ needs to die”. Well, His article itself is a big myth. He presents his views on solely technical grounds, where there are certain flaws, which I will highlight, and also present other indicators that show the clear picture that as everybody expected and feel that in dictatorships the economy flourishes.

The first thing is that I am totally agreed with him about the benefits of Real GDP per capita. Yes, this is the more accurate presentation of the country’s economy. But unfortunately, he is unable to capture the Dollar exchange rate fluctuations; and used current dollar rate. While it is recommended that when we compare the governments’ performance within the country, we should use Local currency unit so that any dollar rate fluctuations will not affect the real growth/decline. Which he himself aggress that the real GDP should be free from any externalities, so, dollar rate fluctuations is missed in his analysis. There are thousands of different data available on different set of indicators for different analysis requirement and the data he used for making comparison for the intra-country’s performances is rather used for the comparison for countries. So, the data I choose is excluding of all these externalities and is more relevant for the comparison for governments. In addition, the data he used lack the shinning era of Pakistan, which makes his comparison irrelevant. Although the data source is the reliable one but for Pakistan the major international data source is either World Bank or IMF, which makes regular reviews of the country’s economy. So, I go for data from World Bank.

Now, I have classified the era starting from Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan, the first military dictator rule. Then, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s era which is democratic period (following socialist economy). This era ends by Zia-ul-Haq, the third military dictator. The democracy-chair game starts after the death of Zia-ul-Haq through plane crash. The military rule that interrupted through plane crash, returned when Gen. Musharaf landed from the plane to the power. This period then further ended by the democratic transition to PPP. In the table below, I have highlighted the average real GDP per capita (LCU) growth rate for the above-mentioned periods:



Average GDP per Capita(LCU) %age

Average Gross Capital formation (annual % growth)





Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto








Nawaz+Benazir 90s












*Due to lack of previous data we used from 1961.

The Table above clearly highlighted, as it is expected by the common man and proved from ground realities, that the highest growth rate is in the Ayub Khan’s period and consequently, the top position three positions are held by three military dictators. The worst growth rate is experienced in the last PPP government. As predicted, the second lowest position is held by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, since it follows socialist economic model that usually have lesser GDP per capita figures.

Well, highlighting only single measure to compare the governments is not worthwhile; Just look at the capital formation rate and you will find the same result that the highest is in the Ayub Khan’s period which everyone remembers for their many long-term projects. While, second is the Zia and then Musharaf’s period. Whilst, as expected the most horrible is the last PPP period with negative capital formation rate means, they not only contributed anything in the capital formation but even reverse the previous era’s gains. The second lowest is Shahram’s ideal Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government.

On the other hand, The Musharaf’s government spent higher in education and health sector as compared to the existing PPP government and similarly much higher is the percentage of Zia-ul-Haq’s government then the 1990’s democratic governments.

Well, this explicitly makes the point that on the economic front the military rulers easily beat the performances of the democratic governments. But, I cannot conclude that they are successful in all respects of the society since, economy is just a one benchmark. But undoubtedly there is no question to outweigh the economic triumphs of the military rulers.

Facebook Comments