The aridity of the climate and the poverty of the soils only allow a form of extensive agriculture, based on cereal cultivation (1975: wheat, 76.7 million q; millet, 3.1 million; sorghum, 3.7 million; rice 38.1 million; barley 1.3 million q; corn, 7.8 million). The spread of irrigation practices, thanks to some barriers on the Indus (Lloyd dam near Multan, and Tarbela dam, also under construction by Italian companies) has favored the development of crops such as cotton (10.2 million q of seeds and 5.1 of fiber), tobacco (610,000 q), sugar cane, rapidly increasing. Other good productions are those of potatoes, legumes, fruit (citrus fruits, grapes, apples, pears, dates, bananas, pineapples). From the forests we get work timber (8.9 million m 3). The zootechnical patrimony is conspicuous and mainly includes cattle (13.1 million heads), goats (12.7), sheep (18.1), buffaloes (10.2) used, the latter, in the rice fields.
The most widespread mineral resources, currently insufficient to meet national needs, are coal and lignite from Quetta and Rawalpindi (1,500,000 t in 1973); oil from the wells of Khaur, Dhulian, Joya Mair, Balkassar, Karsal. (350,000 t in 1976), which is refined in Morgah, Rawalpindi and Karāchi; but above all natural gas (4,600 million m 3 in 1976), which is extracted from various fields (Sui, Mari, Khandkot, Mazarani, Khanpur) connected with gas pipelines in Karāchi, Lyallpur and Islāmābād.
Electricity is calculated at around 8000 million kWh, thanks to the moderate contribution of hydroelectric plants (Tarbela and Multan dams).
In industries, the most active sector is the textile one (cotton, jute, wool), with factories in Karāchi, Gujranwala, Bannu; the steel and mechanical industries are underdeveloped. Important cement factories are located in Karāchi, Sukkur and Rohri. The most diversified center from an industrial point of view (textile, chemical, electrical, footwear, tobacco, and beer industries) is Karāchi.
The old capital has been replaced by the new Islāmābād still partly under construction, about 15 km from Rawalpindi, in a better climatic position, which is about to become the new cultural center of the country.
According to ebizdir, the Pakistan stands in the world context as one of the poorest states, with a per capita income per year around 90 US dollars. The lack of capital, skilled labor and sufficient sources of energy has long hindered adequate industrial development. Towards 1960, a considerable export of cotton and jute, connected with a rational import of consumer goods, favored a rapid and unexpected industrial development, which negatively affected agriculture, the traditional source of the Pakistani economy, which it absorbs 74% of the active population. To overcome this stagnant phase of the agricultural sector, it was necessary to resort to foreign aid and completely renew the cadres of the local economy, initiatives that resulted in a surprising growth in production during the five-year period 1960-65. Subsequently, however, the war with the
The political instability of the government and its often irrational planning choices ultimately contribute to the fluctuation of the trade balance and weigh heavily on the economic and social structures of the nation.
Economically, the Pakistan is still a developing country: in 1975 the gross national product per capita it was 98,800 lire; according to an OECD statistic, out of 150 countries, Pakistan occupies the 106th position. The serious economic situation that characterizes the country is, at least in part, mitigated by international aid. In 1974 the Pakistan imported 2.6 million tons of oil (consumption was 3.04 million and national production 400,000 tons) which cost him about 108 billion lire, 78 more than the previous year.: figures are much lower than the aid received by OPEC countries alone. From international aid, Pakistan received 267.3 billion lire in 1974 (from OECD countries and other world organizations), equal to 40.6% of its exports of goods; in the same year it received loan commitments of 465 billion from OPEC countries, equal to 73.7% of exports of goods; again in 1974, China undertook to pay 50.8 billion, the highest figure among those granted to countries it helped. The accumulation of various aids amounts to 810 billion, a figure higher than that of all the country’s exports and equal to 13% of the gross national product. National income developed, in the period 1960-1976, at an average growth rate of 9% per annum; after a violent fall of -33% in 1970, it started to grow again, reaching + 22% in 1973 and + 29% in 1974. The gross national product, after having marked an average rate of increase of 6%, for the period from 1961 to 1969, suffered a heavy fall in 1970 from which he has not yet recovered.
In the last five years the trade balance, except for a brief period in 1972-73, has been in serious deficit. The same is true of the balance of payments, which does not take into account international aid and which led to an increase in foreign exchange reserves: 281 million dollars in 1972, 480 in 1973, 461 in 1974 and 406 in 1975. I wholesale prices from 1960 to 1970 grew at an average annual rate of + 3%, while they marked much higher values for the most recent years: + 31.7% in 1973, + 33% for 1974 and + 24% in 1975; consumer prices have had the same trend. The period 1974-75 saw a slowdown in development, the growth rate of the gross national product was estimated at around 2.6%. This result is due both to the poor agricultural year (−2.0), terms of trade by Pakistan (estimated at around 20%). Nor was the trend in industrial production satisfactory (+2.0 against +4.0 the previous year), while significant delays were felt in some projects of strategic importance for development, such as for example. that of Tarbela. The employed in agriculture are about 55% of the workforce, about 20% are the unemployed. Underemployment is extremely widespread. The structure of imports is given for 20% by final goods, by 40% for raw materials for consumer goods, by 10% for raw materials for capital goods and 30% for final investment goods.
Exports are made up in equal parts of raw materials and products of the manufacturing industry. However, the percentage of the latter on total Pakistani exports has been significantly decreasing in recent years.