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F M. Shakil

Peshawar, Pakistan
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About F
F M. Shakil is a seasoned journalist based in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, with a keen focus on the economic and financial challenges that beset Pakistan and its neighboring regions. His insightful reporting has brought to light the severe economic crisis in Pakistan, marked by a soaring foreign debt that has reached $59 billion and a precarious debt-to-GDP ratio of 74%. Through his work, Shakil has provided a critical analysis of the country's burgeoning domestic debt, which escalated to Rs 5.5 trillion by the end of 2010, and the significant rise in debt servicing costs that have ensued.

In his extensive coverage, Shakil has delved into the intricacies of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) $11.3 billion loan to Pakistan, which was accompanied by stringent economic reform conditions. He has explored the nation's trade deficit and the low tax-to-GDP ratio, attributing it to widespread tax evasion among the elite. His articles have also addressed the concerns of the business community regarding the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade agreement, particularly the fear of increased smuggling that the agreement could foster.

Shakil's journalism extends to the financial challenges in the war-torn region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where he has reported on the reluctance of commercial banks to extend financing, and the subsequent repercussions on trade and industry. He has shed light on the declining trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Central Asian Republics, underscoring the security concerns and the lack of control over trade routes. His reporting not only highlights the economic difficulties but also emphasizes the complexities of regional economic development in the face of persistent security challenges.
Content Writing Investigative Journalism Interview (Print / Radio / Podcast)
Finance Current Affairs Investigative Reporting

Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade: Business community still not convinced

18 Jul 2011  |  The Express Tribune
The article discusses the concerns of the business community regarding the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade agreement. Despite the potential benefits of the deal, there is a prevailing fear of smuggling which overshadows the positive outcomes. The business community remains unconvinced about the efficacy of the agreement in its current form, indicating a lack of trust in the measures in place to prevent illegal trade activities.

Trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics: Opportunities Missed

18 Apr 2011  |  The Express Tribune
The article discusses the declining trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Central Asian Republics due to security concerns and other factors. Militancy in the tribal areas and the unstable situation in Afghanistan have made foreign trade and investment risky. The article highlights the lack of control by the Afghan government over its territory, affecting trade routes and business operations. It also touches upon historical and political reasons for tepid relations between Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics, such as Pakistan's support for ethnic Pashtuns and its alleged role in the Taliban's rise. Despite Free Economic Zones in the Central Asian Republics and agreements like the Quadrilateral Agreement on Transit Transport, practical implementation is lacking. The absence of a double taxation treaty, Bilateral Investment Treaties, and key business support services in Afghanistan further complicate matters. The article also mentions a pipeline project with Turkmenistan and the issue of unofficial trade across the Pak-Afghan border, which undermines local businesses.

Banks holding back financing in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

11 Apr 2011  |  The Express Tribune
The article discusses the reluctance of commercial banks in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to provide financing due to the province being labeled a warzone. This has led to a significant drop in the borrowing ratio, affecting trade and industry. The State Bank of Pakistan's regional offices lack detailed deposit/lending ratios, and the central bank's quarterly reviews do not provide a regional performance assessment. The business community suggests making regional bank offices more autonomous and reviving specialized institutions like IDBP, PICIC, and NDFC to address liquidity issues and stimulate industrial activity in the province. The article highlights the need for a mechanism to ensure even economic development across all provinces.

Pakistan's Economic Crisis Worsens as Debt Soars

28 Mar 2011  |  The Express Tribune
Pakistan is facing a severe economic crisis, with its foreign debt escalating to $59 billion. The government is borrowing more funds to pay off this debt, leading to a dangerous debt-to-GDP ratio of 74%. Domestic debt has also risen sharply, reaching Rs 5.5 trillion by the end of 2010. The State Bank of Pakistan reported that debt servicing for the first quarter of 2010-11 was $1.2 billion, a 49% increase from the previous year. The IMF provided a loan of $11.3 billion with strict economic reform conditions. Pakistan's trade deficit exceeded $11.4 billion last year, despite substantial remittances from overseas Pakistanis. The country's tax-to-GDP ratio is one of the lowest globally at 9%, due to widespread tax evasion by the elite. Without significant tax reforms, Pakistan may continue to fall into deeper debt.

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