of the main, longstanding economic problems of Pakistan as well as the principal underlying cause of the current crisis. The stated official policy of Pakistan has been to annihilate this gap and to achieve income equality, but absolutely no progress has been made in executing this policy. On the contrary, the discrepancy has been growing. Over the last decade, total national income in West Pakistan rose by about 6 per cent per year while in Last Pakistan income increased by only 4 per cent a year, most of which was eaten up by population growth.
One of the most bitterly contended issues in Pakistan is whether the official policy of eliminating the income disparity has been implemented sincerely. No one contests that policy has been completely frustrated. There are instances and shreds of evidence on both sides of the debate and I cannot resolve it in the few moments available to me. The best indication, in my view, is the allocation of investment between East and West Pakistan, because public investment is directly controlled by the Government while private investment is indirectly controlled by the systems of industrial licensing and foreign exchange allocation. Public investment in East Pakistan has never been as great as West Pakistan, though 55 per cent of the people live in the East. In the past half-dozen years public investment in East Pakistan has climbed from about half of what it is in West Pakistan to approximately 90 per cent of the amount in the West. Private investment is even more disproportionate; it is about three times as great in West Pakistan as in East Pakistan. So all together more than 60 per cent of investment occurs in West Pakistan where only 45 per cent of the people live.
This distribution of investment appeals to me as a strong indication that the day-to-day activities and programes of the Government have not implemented the announced policy of closing the income gap. There are other indications 100, as well as some contrary ones. At any rate, the East Pakistanis find the results disheartening and are convinced that the great preponderance of Government programs favor the West and at their expense, almost as-if they were an economic colony. I have to say that 1 personally agree with them.
It should be mentioned in extenuation of the foregoing data that the bulk of promising investment opportunities, both public and private, are located in West Pakistan. The United States and other donor nations have tended to allocate their funds in accordance with the normally sound principle of supporting the projects which promised to contribute most to economic development. So West Pakistan received a disproportionate share of foreign aid. We rarely asked whose economic development the projects contributed to, But that is a critical question in a bifurcated country such as Pakistan since projects in one part of the country make virtually no contribution to the advancement of the other part. By following this normally sound principle, we have contributed to the economic deprivation of East Pakistan. We can see now that that policy was a grievous mistake and bears some of the responsibility for the current crisis-so much for history.
I mentioned in my opening paragraph that we cannot avoid heavy responsibility for the course and outcome of the current struggle. In principle, of course, this is an internal Pakistani affair and the United States ought to try to avoid intervening, however we may feel about the rights and wrongs. The problem is that we are so heavily involved already in the economy of Pakistan that whatever we do in our efforts to maintain neutrality will