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Jinnah’s dream of a prosperous Pakistan


August 14, 2020

Every year on the August 14, we commemorate the independence of Pakistan with a sense of gratitude to Almighty that Muslims of India were able to achieve a homeland after a long ideological and political struggle. A homeland, where Muslims would be able live their lives without fear and will have opportunity to form a welfare state in accordance with the principles of Islam, where all citizens will be equal and will have freedom to perform their religious practices as stated by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his historic speech to the first Constitutional Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947.

Today, after 72 years of freedom, our youth have the right to ask whether we were able to fulfill the dream of the founders of Pakistan to build a prosperous Pakistan, where primary education, citizen’s health, maintenance of peace and, provision of economic opportunities in terms of commercial activities and job creation will be our prime priorities.

The answer to the above queries are not easy to find because unfortunately, we did not follow the foot prints of those nations who kicked off with the similar financial situation as that of Pakistan but now after six decades are among the top economies of Asia and the world, while Pakistan is still lagging far behind. This means we have had examples of great successes and achievements around us but we didn’t learn anything from those countries and are still struggling to achieve some success.

Do we know about the Korean War? It was relatively a short period of war between Soviet-backed North Korea and pro-western backed South Korea with a duration of 03 years only but it was the bloodiest war claiming more than 4 million lives from both sides including, forty thousand American soldiers. Today, South Korea is one the most-recognisable technology market leaders where only one company “Samsung” produced about a 5th of its total exports with an estimated 208 billion USD revenues in 2018, followed by “LG Corporation” with a revenue of 174 billion USD in the same year. If the question arises, why do we need to talk about other countries like South Korea on our Independence Day? The answer is simple; we desperately need to study sane people and nations so that we could learn about human development and the role of quality education and expertise in science and technology.

About two weeks ago, during an online lecture of Anthropology, we discussed about ideal culture and the real culture while taking examples of what our former and existing governments claim about the developments in Pakistan but what are actual conditions in terms of infrastructure such as public transport and roads, right of free health and education for the common citizens etc. For instance, students who were born after 1990 in Karachi merely know about public transport in practical as they had never seen one in the city. Furthermore if we ask them from which public or private school, they had done their schooling, we will find more than 90 percent students from private schools and yet we talk about a promising Pakistan, ready to face 21st century economic challenges without providing them an established and credible state school system like we see around the world. And if we think we can carry forward the same performance for another twenty years or so and we will be successful, then what uniqueness we have that prevented us to realise that without standard education, human development, justice for all and equal rights for all citizens, without producing our products rather than relying on imports and above all without the introduction of Made in Pakistan to other markets as our exports, we will not be able to survive with a stable economy and better social condition!

Here everyone agrees that Pakistan came into being with an ideology, where all functions of the state will be based on the principles of Islamic teachings and no one will be above these principles. Unfortunately, again we do not find such a Pakistan today. We have more than 220 million population in Pakistan, it can be our game changing success, if we have better planning for them, more economic opportunities on mass level, providing opportunities to our youths to learn and achieve high skills in different trades so that an economic revival can be imagined otherwise Pakistan will further rely on imports and it can further increase our budget deficits.

What Pakistan needs at the moment from its citizens and rulers is that how we can establish our institutions like other successful countries in the region. Initially, Pakistan was long known as the agricultural country and after 2000 we are known as an atomic power. We can take opportunities from our both identities. These opportunities are needed to revamp our irrigation system, introduce modern methods of agriculture and to look after the welfare of our farmers as they are the backbone of our economy. On the other hand, Pakistan is facing worst shortfall of energy and electricity due to our massive population and consumption, Pakistan shall take a start to use atomic energy to meet its energy needs.

As far as the development policies are concerned, historically speaking we had better policies in the 60s and 70s regarding water reservoirs. In 1965 while at war, we were able to build Mangla dam on Jhelum river of circa 138 metres height in Mirpur district in 1967 and again in 1971, despite losing its East Wing, Pakistan managed to build Tarbela Dam on Indus River of circa 143 meters height at District Haripur in 1974. However, now these water reservoirs are filled with soil due to natural erosion and other climatic issues and their 35 percent of capacity seems to be reduced, so the construction of a new dam is inevitable. There are reports that Pakistan is working on the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam at Diamir and Gilgit Baltistan on the Indus River and its capacity or height will be more than 250 metres, and it will require a huge amount of more than 1400 billion rupees to build it.

We cannot imagine ourselves to be called a developing country who is doing well as a member of the world community without progressing in science and technology. We must manufacture our products to discourage the trends of importing every item of our need but be able to export our own products abroad. We should focus our exports to products like textile and garments, utensils, home appliances and wood work both classical and modern furniture to increase our exports and to introduce Made in Pakistan to the world’s markets. Our target should be at those high standard products through which the world could recognize what actually “Made in Pakistan” means.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan needs a long spell of democracy, where governments work for the welfare of people, for human development and to resolve administrative issues and where local governments could be established with powers vested in the hands of municipalities who in turn work for town planning, primary and middle schooling, health services and registration of local small businesses, which bring small business opportunities for local people.

Finally, we need to establish that along with loving our history, we must be vigilant about our present to secure our future. Pakistan has faced numerous challenges throughout the years since its independence, at domestic as well as international level. We must realise that to fullfill the dream of our founder Quaid-i-Azam we require a successful and effective foreign policy and a strong economy without which we cannot achieve a prosperous Pakistan.

—The author is Assistant Professor at the Department of History at the University of Karachi and teaches South Asian History and Cultural Anthropology. He can be reached via email to [email protected]