60TH INDEPENDENCE DAY OF PAKISTAN

Time to make use of our God gifted natural resources

AMANULAH BASHAR
Aug 20 - 26, 2007

People of Pakistan celebrated 60th anniversary of their independence in an environment when the world is advancing, that leaves no option for us but to advance with it.

Nation celebrated the 60th anniversary of freedom with a renewed pledge to take the fascinating and sanctified soil of Pakistan to the height of civilization, peace and prosperity for the people of this country. However to achieve that cherished goal, we have to have a model of growth. People seldom improve when they have no model but themselves to copy after.

Though our economy has improved significantly during recent years yet the volatile political conditions is a major cause of concern of the day for the people of Pakistan. It is said that political stability is a pre-condition for strong economic growth to continue. If that remains the case, growth momentum will be favorable and foreign direct investment will be reasonably strong in the days to come. The political stability however remains a big question mark. In fact, this is an area, which has always remained a cause of concern in our society.

One of the major factors, which are primarily required for sustainable political and economic conditions, is the rate of literacy and Higher Education. Unfortunately, education, which lays the foundation for economic and political stability has, comes on the lowest priority in our system.

According to the Chairman, Higher Education Commission Dr. Attar Rehman, who is spearheading an ambitious program for improvement of higher education in Pakistan only 3500 out of 11,000 teachers of 57 public sector universities are PhD while in neighboring India even an Assistant Professor has to be Ph.D.

Education, the key factor for socio-economic, and political development remained neglected in Pakistan for decades. The attitude of our leaders and economic managers can be gauged from the fact that they heavily rely on foreign scholarships for PhD of Pakistani students. This was in sharp contrast to other countries and competitive economies. Dr. Attaur Rehman has pointed out only one aspect of the complexity of the problems. It is amazing to see that the situation in the private sector universities is even worst. Most of the universities in the private sector relying upon visiting faculty members to run their core educational program instead of having their own permanent faculty. Despite announcement of various attractive programs, the process of brain drain continues. Pakistanis having opportunity to get foreign education and training are not returning home obviously due to lack of opportunities and the reward they deserve. It is the need of the hour that education should be given top priority to ensure socio-economic, and political stability in our society.

Real GDP (Sector Wise Data)
(at constant factor cost of 1999-00)

.

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

R 2005-06P

A) Commodity Producing Sector

1,754,474

,768,695

,792,972

,869,406

,041,635

,229,509

,325,295

Agriculture

923,609

903,499

904,433

941,942

964,827

,029,845

1,055,240

Crops

467,879

430,147

418,128

440,397

451,178

512,941

501,043

Major Crops

342,200

308,474

300,911

321,038

327,057

385,119

371,140

Minor Crops

125,679

121,673

117,217

119,359

124,121

127,822

129,903

Livestock

417,120

433,066

448,968

462,330

473,745

484,684

523,489

Fishing

15,163

14,715

12,901

13,346

13,611

13,916

14,185

Forestry

23,447

25,571

24,436

27,150

26,293

18,304

16,523

II. Industry

830,865

865,196

888,539

926,183

1,076,808

1,199,664

1,270,055

Manufacturing

522,801

571,357

596,841

638,044

727,439

818,809

889,036

Large-scale

338,602

375,687

388,859

416,955

492,632

569,325

620,507

Small-scale

184,199

195,670

207,982

221,089

234,807

249,484

268,529

Mining and Quarrying

81,052

85,528

90,431

96,418

111,473

122,178

126,813

Construction

87,386

87,846

89,241

92,789

82,818

98,190

107,219

Electricity and Gas Distribution

139,626

120,465

112,026

98,932

155,078

160,487

146,987

B) Services Sector

1,807,546

,863,396

,952,146

2,052,901

2,173,947

2,347,552

2,554,201

Wholesale and Retail Trade

621,842

649,564

667,615

707,145

766,693

851,744

936,091

Transport storage and Communication

400,983

422,195

427,296

445,552

461,276

477,701

512,198

Finance and Insurance

132,454

112,455

131,761

130,081

141,768

183,900

226,113

Ownership of Dwellings

110,425

114,593

118,604

122,466

126,764

131,214

135,820

Public Administration and Defence

220,291

225,152

240,585

259,148

267,321

268,826

281,496

Community, S and P Services

321,551

339,437

366,285

388,509

410,125

434,167

462,483

Gross Domestic Product (A+B)

3,562,020

3,632,091

3,745,118

3,922,307

4,215,582

4,577,061

4,879,496

R = Revised, P = Provisional

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

As far as the economic landscape of Pakistan was concerned, there is a remarkable improvement, which is quite visible in different economic and financial segments of the country. Pakistan continues to build up foreign exchange reserves and enjoy robust portfolio inflows and strong remittances, all of which will continue to strengthen the country's strong external liquidity position.

It is heartening to see that Pakistan is one of the fastest growing economies in this region. Over the past seen years, remittances have increased over five fold from approximately $I billion to almost $5.5 billion in 2006-07, while foreign exchange reserves have increased more than seven times from $2.1 billion in 2000-01 to $15.3 billion in 2006-07.

Pakistan received the highest-ever amount of $5,493.65 million as workers remittances compared to $4,600.12 million in the preceding fiscal year 2005-06, showing an increase of $893.53 million or 19.42 percent, reflecting the growing confidence into economic policies of the country. The monthly average of remittances during the last fiscal year remained at $457.80 million, up 19.42 percent when compared to $383.34 million during fiscal year 2005-06.

The strong economic fundamentals have placed Pakistan in a position where we don't have to chase the international donors for long term credits, the sword of debt servicing is more hanging on the heads of the economic managers. The fear of being declared as economically failed state is a gone by story now.

LEADERSHIP

Currently, there is a lot of hue and cry over different political issues including return of the exiled leaders before the elections, re-election of President Musharraf, the issue of uniform and the recently concluded judicial crisis.

It is said that in a free country there is much clamor with little suffering, in a despotic state there is little complaint, with much grievance. If it is true than there is much clamor in Pakistan but not by the aggrieved masses. Actually, the opposition parties in Pakistan always have a single point agenda and that is topple the government whether it is the government of Ayub Khan, Z.A. Bhutto, Gen. Zia, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf too has no exception.

Apart from political bias, the fact remains that President Musharraf has steered the country from difficult conditions to a noticeable economic progress. Whether his political opponents agree or not the fact remains that he guided the country from a position when the international donor agencies were about to declare Pakistan as a failed state to a totally reversed situation. He gave a remarkable economic turnaround to the country. He has proved himself as a determined leader with great confidence and ability to take initiative in the difficult times for Pakistan.

Human memory is short but not too short to recall the performance of the corrupt people who led this country into a total chaos just in the name of so called democracy; they had landed this country into the trap of foreign debt. IMF had become the author of our economic fate. If we have to save people from that trap again, we should have to move judiciously in the interest of the country, we should not put this hard earned position on stake just for politician interests.