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FIVE YEAR PLAN FOURTH (1970-1975)

FIVE YEAR PLAN, FOURTH (1970-1975) The formulation of the Fourth Five Year Plan was undertaken at an exceptionally difficult time for Pakistan There was active debate among politicians and economists on two issues First, there was a widespread perception that the rapid growth of the economy during the administration of President Muhammad Ayub Khan (1958-1969) had increased income inequalities in the country A number of influential political figures-the most important among them being Zulfikar Ali Bhutto-demanded that the government actively intervene in the economy to correct this situation The “twenty-two families speech” by Mahbubul Haq, the chief economist of the Planning Commission, lent credibility to this point of view Second, there was a growing resentment in the country’s eastern wing-present-day Bangladesh-that the domination of the national economy by West Pakistan meant the continuation of a subservient role for that province in economic matters Again, powerful political forces wanted a direct role by the government to correct this imbalance By now, the country was back under martial law, with General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan as the president and chief martial law administrator The Planning Commission, working under the guidance of Mian Muzaffar Ahmad, its chairman, responded by setting up two panels of economic experts, one from East Pakistan and one from West Pakistan, with the mandate to provide information on what had actually happened to “inter-regional income disparity” and what could be done within the framework of a five-year development plan to improve the situation if income disparities between the two provinces had indeed widened The two panels could not agree on the Plan’s priorities



The debate over the Plan document produced a political crisis when the government announced the allocation of public funds for fiscal 1970-1971, the first year of the Fourth Plan period The Bengali ministers in General Yahya Khan’s cabinet threatened to resign in bloc, and the president, succumbing to this political pressure, decided to send the Planning Commission back to the drawing board The Fourth Five Year Plan was formally launched on 1 July 1970 Its twin objectives of reducing interpersonal and interregional income disparities were given great prominence in the official proclamation that accompanied the launching of the Plan Events in East Pakistan in 1971 made the Plan largely irrelevant, however After the defeat of the army in East Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh, the administration of President (later Prime Minister) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which took office in December 1971, did not revive medium-term planning, and the Fourth Plan was shelved for good

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