Prof. Ahsan Iqbal
There are more than two hundred nations whose flags fly outside the UN Headquarters. Every nation aspires to become a developed country but the reality is that there are only a few dozen nations that are either developed or on the high growth trajectory to join this league of developed nations. Pakistan was on the way to becoming a developed nation during the early 60s, but lost its way.
Later during the early 90s it again led the way in South Asia but again within a decade lost its direction. Today, we find many countries which were lagging behind have forged ahead and overtaken us. It is a moment of introspection and reflection, particularly on the eve of our 68th independence anniversary.
Pakistan was not carved out by either geography or race. It was created on the basis of an idea, a dream and a vision. "The Pakistan Dream" envisioned for Muslims of South Asia to showcase to the world that they could establish a state based on justice, dignity, security, and prosperity without prejudice and discrimination. Unfortunately, that dream didn't materialise, not because we weren't capable of doing it or we were lacking resources but because people were denied the opportunity of nation building for almost half of the nation's history. In the process, we lost half of Pakistan in 1971. It is said that if everything is lost, future still remains. We too can either live in the past and keep mourning and criticising or start a new journey to build a better future for ourselves by learning from the past mistakes and from the success stories of other nations. Poverty to Prosperity is not an indefinite journey; it can happen in one generation's lifetime. Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Turkey have done it.
Today we face multiple challenges, on the domestic front we face problems that can be tackled as other countries have also addressed them such as energy crisis, inflation, unemployment, poor social conditions, extremism and security challenge. Many of these problems are a product of either poor planning or no planning for the future. But, on the global level, we face unprecedented challenge of a new Knowledge Revolution era, which is impacting the developing and developed world alike. As the new forces of technology, information, globalisation, and innovation are shifting the paradigms of development and wealth creation. This calls for fundamental changes in the social, political, and economic behaviours and structures of societies to create new capabilities and capacities. Failing which, nations will find themselves redundant in the new economic game even if they manage to tackle domestic challenges. Hence, we need a framework for development that not only solves our immediate problems but also addresses the long term growth and development challenge of the Knowledge Revolution age. All successful countries and organisations have achieved success by developing shared visions.
All successful countries and organisations have achieved success by developing shared visions. In China, Deng Xiao Peng in 1979 gave a vision for 2049 for China to be a middle income country, which it will achieve much earlier. In Malaysia, PM Dr Mahatir in 1992 presented Malaysia Vision 2020 to make Malaysia a developed country, in Turkey PM Tayep Erdogan presented Vision 2023. In the corporate sector, there is no concept of an organisation achieving sustained success without having a clear and shared vision. Vision is a simple and motivating articulation of destination and direction, which is realised through translating it into mission, goals, strategies, and plans under a framework of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress and implementation. Development is no longer an abstract process, it has become a science which if pursued in the right way with commitment delivers results.
One major distinguishing factor, which played defining role between countries that developed and Pakistan was our political instability. Japan , China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Turkey every success story has enjoyed stability and continuity in policies. In our case we became a swinging pendulum between martial laws and democracy and it took sixty six years for the first democratic government to complete its tenure. This way, year 2013 was a milestone in Pakistani history, which witnessed first ever democratic transfer of power in the country. If we preserve this hard earned political stability by respecting the mandates and tenures, there is no reason why Pakistan can't move fast on the development path because political instability and development don't go hand in hand.
Pakistan Vision 2025 lays down a foundation to put Pakistan on a fast track of development with the ultimate goal of transforming it to become one of top ten economies in the world by 2047, its first centenary. By 2025, it envisions Pakistan among top twenty five economies of the world and a upper middle income country. More importantly, creating a balanced platform for development by building strong social foundations without which any dream of becoming a developed country shall remain elusive. In terms of economic indicators, Pakistan is a middle income country but in social indicators it falls amongst least developed countries. Our goal is to create a modern economy which is competitive and caring. The 5+7 model, five enablers and seven pillars, offers an integrated formula for development and prosperity. Our primary focus is to create a world class software for development by investing in human resources and governance. Our approach to development is people centric. Development has to be of people, for people, and by people. Therefore, our vision of development is based on inclusiveness and social justice. We are not just driven by economic indicators such as GDP, GNP etc but seek holistic and integrated development by establishing a sound socio-politico-economic structure, which fosters and preserves good society, good politics, and good economy with responsibility towards our future generations measured by Gross National Well Being (GNWB).
Pakistan Vision 2025 has been developed after extensive input and deliberations of all stakeholders. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired 1,000 plus stakeholder consultation conference on 22 Nov, 2013 in Islamabad. Later, provincial and federating unit level consultations were held to extract the shared vision in spirit of partnership. Private sector, academia, professionals, and diaspora were involved extensively to get quality input as well as create broad based ownership.