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Pakistan struggling for economic independence

Pakistan came into existence on August 14, 1947 as this was not merely an incident but had its roots in the long and consistent political struggle spread over 100 years. There are various versions, sometimes even conflicting, as to the reasons why Muslims endeavored for a new country. Some analysts attribute this struggle to a separate religious identity others see it in lack of economic opportunities for Muslim minority in the Indian sub-continent while few identify combination of both these aspects leading to the creation of Pakistan. Every school of thought has its own reasons and is quite adamant to its own version of the events leading to independence of Pakistan. Here, our scope is not to justify any of these thoughts but to acknowledge that, in the modern world, it is the economic stability and financial strength helping nations to reinforce their independence. The era of colonialism has gone. It is now the neo-imperialism and not the direct military control that decides the supremacy of any usurper country. The financial control exercised by the big economic powers holds the countries slave. By controlling the economy of cash-starved countries, the economic powers influence their decision-making, implement their agenda in that respective region, and fight their proxy wars.

Some sectors, unfortunately including our own people having all the good intentions, sometimes, seen complaining that our country has failed to prosper and is far behind the other developing countries. We cannot enviously claim that Pakistan is going leaps and bounds to defeat the rest of the world in the economic and social sectors but still we have lot to cherish. Our intent, in this article, is to see the extent to which our beloved country Pakistan has been able to grow especially in the economic field since its independence. Moreover, how effectively it has been successful in remaining out of the shackles of this neo colonialism.

Pakistan started with a population of 60 million in 1947 with approximately 27 million people living in West Pakistan, the territory that constitutes the present Pakistan. Pakistan has now grown to 220 million people. This quite a robust population growth rate making Pakistan the sixth most populous country of the world. The population growth rate of Pakistan is presently 2 percent, which is comparatively higher than that of India and China, also higher than 1.1 percent global population growth rate. This population growth rate can still be considered as controlled when we compare it with 3.4 percent during 1980s. This decrease in population growth rate after 1990 shows the instance of maturity among people, which is indebted to the improved literacy rate especially emphasis on female education.

Literacy rate of Pakistan has also improved from 11 percent in 1947 to 60 percent in 2018. This literacy rate needs to be improved further with an emphasis on quality of education. There is an awareness as to the importance of education among masses. Parents are showing concern for their children’s education improving primary enrolment rate from 5 percent in 1947 to 75 percent. More and more students including female students are enrolling for the higher education.

 

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per capita income has also increased. GDP, which was US$3.8 billion in 1947, has now ballooned to US$312.6 billion. Per capita income has gone up from US$85 in 1947 to US$1,640 in 2018. Road network including both low and high type roads has expanded from 50,367 km in 1947 to 264,401 km in 2018. Pakistan’s major cities are now connected through a strong reliable network of motorways and highways; our villages now have better roads facilitating access of the farmers to the commodity markets. We have developed airports having international standards of aviation facilities in major cities. We have well developed seaports especially after the Gwadar port getting operational we will be the center of shipping activity in this region facilitating global trade.

Pakistan has also improved its performance in the agriculture and industrial sector as well. Agriculture produce has improved significantly. At the time of its independence Pakistan was a food deficient country that had to rely mainly on food items imported from abroad. Now the Pakistan has become self-sufficient to meet its domestic needs of wheat, rice, sugar, milk etc.

Similarly, industrialization is also thriving and has progressed at a significant pace. There was almost no industry in Pakistan in 1947 but later within 2-3 decades and till now Pakistan has developed and strengthen variety of industries including Cement, Steel, Chemicals, automobiles, sugar, fertilizer, cloth, ghee, vegetables etc. not only to meet domestic needs but also for export to the international markets.

Pakistani people are quite talented performing well in educational and social sectors. We have two noble laureates Dr. Abdus Salam and Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan. Our documentaries and movies have also won some international recognition and awards. Our achievements in the sports are also commendable. We won various awards including World Championship in Hockey, Squash, Cricket, Snookers and performed well in other sports like Boxing, Weight lifting as well. Pakistan is seen as major world competitor in various games.

Our armed forces have also worked very hard to attain excellent professional competence. Our forces are among one of the best armies of the world. We all remember and are proud of Air Commodore M. M. Alam , a Pakistani fighter pilot who downed nine Indian Air Force aircraft during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Among seven Nuclear Powers of the world, we are the only Muslim country, which is a Nuclear Power.

We should not be demoralized or disheartened by the politically motivated slogans that Pakistan is a failed state and has not developed and progressed like its neighbours and other countries of the same age. Yes, our progress may not be ideal; we could have avoided some mistakes in economic and political fields, which would have helped us to progress even better. Nevertheless, there is no legitimate reason to believe that we as Pakistanis have failed or have not been able to perform at all. Despite having some bottlenecks and very serious geo-political difficulties, Pakistan has prospered well as is evident from the facts mentioned above.

(The writer is a sales and Business specialist based in Islamabad. He can be reached at nadeem_naj@hotmail.com)

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