The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a public discussion on the role of the international financial institutions in Pakistan’s development with Mr. Abid Hasan, a former operations adviser at the World Bank and Pakistani newspaper columnist.

Mr. Hasan’s discussion was followed by comments from Mohsin Khan, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The Government of Pakistan acquired 251.6 billion dollars (22 trillion rupees) by means of taxes and donor aid in the last decade. However, in the past decade, the government also managed to fall into 114.4 billion dollars (10 trillion rupees) of debt and, from the Pakistani taxpayer’s perspective, has very little to show for its expenses. Despite corruption and lack of accountability in managing financial resources, can the economy avoid complete failure? Can Pakistan’s government implement deep reforms for a more efficient and transparent public sector?

Mr. Abid discussed where the money has gone throughout the country. He analyzed issues such as: defense expenditure on fighting terrorism and protecting nuclear assets; extortions by law enforcement agencies; the education gap between privileged and poor; and how subsidies for many industries have failed to trickle down to those in need.

A discussion with

Abid Hasan
Former Member, Pakistan Economic Advisory Committee and Federal Board of Revenue Tax Reforms Group
Former Operations Adviser, World Bank

Commentary by

Mohsin Khan
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Abid Hasan worked at the World Bank, from 1975-2006, retiring as operations adviser. From 1997-2006, he was operations advisor for the Pakistan Program, and as deputy head of the Country Management Team, he was responsible for relationship management with cabinet and senior policymakers. He advised and oversaw implementation for the World Bank and supported key structural reform programs in sectors including energy, human development, water, governance, public financial management, provincial reforms, and tax reforms. Upon retirement, Abid Hasan moved to Pakistan and has served as a member of the Pakistan prime minister’s Economic Advisory Committee and Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue Tax Reforms Group. He is on the board of several nongovernmental organizations and one of Pakistan’s largest corporate firms. Mr. Hasan lectures at Pakistan’s National Defense University, is a frequent op-ed contributor to major English newspapers, and frequent guest on television talk shows on economic issues.

Mohsin Khan has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics since March 2009. Before joining the Institute, he was the director of the Middle East and Central Asia department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2004 to 2008. He also served as deputy director of the Research Department and director of the IMF Institute. He has published widely in academic journals and has edited several books, including Economic Development in South Asia (2005) and Macroeconomic Management: Programs and Policies (2002). 

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