Pakistan among 'five countries in deep trouble'

Feb 16, 2009
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The Hindu News Update Service

Pakistan among 'five countries in deep trouble'
Washington (IANS): Political chaos and increasing terrorist activities, coupled with a worsening economic scenario, makes Pakistan one of the five countries in deep trouble, according to a listing prepared by a U.S. publication.

"The country has already almost gone bankrupt once in the past six months. In October, only an emergency $10 billion in support from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and others prevented Pakistan from defaulting on its debt," the U.S. News and World Report noted this week.

"During that crisis, the cost of insurance on Pakistan's debt exploded. Even though the situation has calmed since then, investors are not getting comfortable with Pakistan. It still costs $2.2 million a year to insure $10 million of Pakistan's sovereign bonds."

However, the report says the economic situation isn't all that bad. The ADB has predicted that Pakistan's economy will grow 4 per cent in the next fiscal beginning in July, compared to 2.5 per cent estimated this year.

"But the wild card that could change everything is the country's political situation. Pakistan is one of the most unstable countries in the world."

The report quoted White House counterterrorism consultant David Kilcullen as saying earlier this month that a political collapse in Pakistan could come within months. A 2008 report from the US Joint Forces Command identified Pakistan as a country at risk of a "rapid and sudden collapse", one that would create a devastating security problem for the world.

The other four countries "in deep trouble" on the list are Mexico, Ukraine, Venezuela and Argentina.

And then there are five countries "to keep an eye on": Latvia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Belarus.

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