Pakistan’s inaction and complete neglect of the economic side of the pandemic challenge have exposed again the disconnect between the state and society. The discontent of the business community of Balochistan is spilling over in streets already. The border closure has dealt a crippling blow to the fragile economy of the restive province. The province shares a long border with Iran and Afghanistan and depends disproportionately on cross-border trade. Some believe that its economy is integrated more with neighbouring countries than with the rest of Pakistan.
The Asian Development Bank has projected a loss of $5 billion to the Pakistan economy in case of a major outbreak. It would sink the GDP by 1.5 per cent and trigger joblessness, depriving 946,000 of their livelihood. The bank expects the private businesses to be hit the hardest, losing as much as $1.9bn, followed by agriculture and mining that may take a blow of $1.5bn, hotel and restaurants $254 million, light and heavy engineering $671m and transport $566m. In the best-case scenario, the loss could be contained at $16.2m and in a moderate-case scenario, Pakistan could suffer a $34.2m impact.