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I’ve heard many times from fellow Pakistanis that Bangladesh has made phenomenal progress in comparison to Pakistan. Those who say this usually cite as proof that the Bangladesh Taka is stronger than the Pakistan Rupee (one Taka is equal to PKR 1.11). However, the exchange rate does not reflect the true picture of a country’s economy. The Indian Rupee, for instance, is much stronger than the Pak Rupee, but it does not portray that almost 80% (836 million) of India’s population is struggling to survive on less than half a dollar a day (if proof is needed, please visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/10/idUSDEL218894 and many other web sites).

As the data below reveals, Bangladesh is lagging behind Pakistan in all sectors, except the growth rate, which is natural, as Pakistan is fighting a war in which more than 30,000 of its citizens have been slaughtered. It should also be remembered that Bangladesh was at the same stage of development as (West) Pakistan when it was “liberated” by the Indian Army in 1971. Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) already had a steel mill (which West Pakistan did not have), it had a huge industrial base including jute mills, a large paper manufacturing factory, textile mills, an automobile assembly plant, etc. I would like to add here that these industries were set up and developed almost exclusively by residents of West Pakistan after 1947.
The comparative data of the two countries is given below:

GDP (purchasing power parity):
Pakistan: $488 billion (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: $282.5 billion (2011 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
Pakistan: $204.1 billion (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: $115 billion (2011 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
Pakistan: 2.4% (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: 6.3% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
Pakistan: $2,800 (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: $1,700 (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate:
Pakistan: 5.7% (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: 5% (2011 est.)

Population below poverty line:
Pakistan: 24% (FY05/06 est.)
Bangladesh: 31.5% (2010 est.)

Budget:
Pakistan: revenues: $26.3 billion, expenditures: $40.6 billion (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: revenues: $12.67 billion, expenditures: $17.15 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
Pakistan: 12.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: 11% of GDP (2011 est.)

Electricity consumption:
Pakistan: 89.23 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Bangladesh: 23.94 billion kWh (2009 est.

Natural gas consumption:
Pakistan: 42.9 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: 20.1 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Current account balance:
Pakistan: $540 million (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: -$372 million (2011 est.)

Exports:
Pakistan: $30.9 billion (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: $23.86 billion (2011 est.)

Imports:
Pakistan: $39.35 billion (2011 est.)
Bangladesh: $31.75 billion (2011 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Pakistan: $17.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Bangladesh: $10.98 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

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