Its very easy to defeat someone, but very hard to win someone, said our beloved APJ Abdul Kalam. Perhaps, understanding this, India has tried everything to win over Pakistan by being a friendly and supportive neighbor, despite receiving back-stabs in return time and again. Finally, it looks like Indians have decided to go the ‘laatoan ke bhoot, baatoan se nahi maante‘ way. What next?
Pakistan was born a day before India, and yet, while the latter has got its flag on the moon, the former is still trying to get a slice of the latter’s territory. India, a country that wants to focus on growth and development of its people, has tried enough to befriend Pakistan to avoid unnecessary issues, but Pakistan has taken this friendship game without any seriousness. It is in interest of Pakistan to focus on its internal affairs, and work for the welfare of its people. This will happen when the youth of the country call the Govt’s bluff, and march towards economic progress.
The state of affairs in the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ are no secret, and the world if aware of everything that transpires in the country. Yet, while some speak up, some choose to remain quiet. So, without talking much about the regular stuff that we get to hear on the television everyday, I tried to read and find what exactly Pakistan is. Just a ‘terrorist nation’ like we know, or there is something more.
Starting with the demographics, Pakistan is about 880 th sqkm (~24% of India’s size) and has a population of 200m (6th largest by population). It is the only country in the world created in the name of Islam. However, India is host to over 180m muslims, just a tad lower than the entire population of Pakistan. 39% of population lives in Urban area (9% Karachi, 4% Lahore, 2% Faisalabad), much higher than India’s 33% (India however has many bigger cities). Some 35% of the land is agricultural, and over 70% of this is irrigated, a phenomenal advantage for any country (only 34% of India’a agricultural land is irrigated). Another important distinction for the country is the median age of the country is 23 (India 28) meaning that Pakistan is a young country and its future for the current century will be shaped in the next 10-15 years. China was in this stage a couple of decades ago, and India is currently in this transformation. So, the next decade or two are going to be significantly critical for the country. This is exactly why the youth need to wake up, rise, and initiate change. NOW.
Pakistan’s GDP by PPP is just ~12% of India’s GDP. 25% of GDP is contributed by agriculture. By end use, 11% from exports and 17% imports, making it a current deficit country. Pakistan spends just 2.5% of GDP on Education and 2.6% on Health, a small number by global or even regional standards. It has a 6% budget deficit.
The Indus river is the biggest boon that the country currently has. Almost the entire business in the country runs around the bank of this river. On the western side, its more a desert. Most industries in the country are situated in vicinity to the river. On the contrary, in India, a large portion of us (especially in South India) fall short of water for all purposes. So, Pakistan has a key natural resource, which it can use to its advantage and make significant agricultural as well as industrial progress. However, the country’s agriculture sector witnessed a decline last year, largely due to a 28% decline in cotton production.
Going further, at the moment, the country’s PLR (prime lending rate) is just 6%, meaning its cheaper for businesses to borrow capital (compared to several emerging economies). Inflation is at 2.8%, another boon. Whats even more interesting is that the 2016 BMI Research report named Pakistan as one of the ten emerging economies with a particular focus on of its manufacturing hub. When the country has so much going its way, the youth should take a decisive step, come out of traditional politics of land, and create an environment conducive for growth. There is enough support from around the world to people who want to bring about such a change.
However, challenges remain. The World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation’s flagship report Ease of Doing Business Index 2015 ranks Pakistan at 138th position, and many Western companies have previously refused to do business with Pakistan, citing corruption, lack of resources, lack of infrastructure, etc. The country should focus on making it easier for businesses to run, and only then can growth kick in. On the other hand, the country enjoys significant mobile/telecom penetration but low internet penetration, and inevitably, sooner than later, more people will connect to the world through internet. Do you see the opportunity? You stand just there where India stood some 10 years ago. India built its IT companies, and some fantastic startups were founded during this period. Is it not time to build Pakistan’s flipkart? There is immense opportunity in healthcare and education as well. One can imagine the kind of opportunity staring at the country considering the fact that less than half a percentage of its population files an IT return after almost 70 years of independence.
Don’t waste your life worrying about matters like Kashmir like your previous generations. You’re just not going to get it. Legends of your country have tried everything in the universe, and they have all failed, and in the process, failed you and the entire country, depriving you of education, healthcare, social life, etc. Understand that the battle is staged for unintended purposes. Instead of being a part of a global and regional political ploy, focus on what your countrymen need, and how are you going to meet those needs, and ensure a better life for your people in the coming years. You’ll really be independent when you are independent from the global aid that your country receives. Its time to call the bluff of some leaders, and forge your way to empowering yourselves by competing to build a country that stands as an example to the world in the coming decades. Come out of the mentality of defeating, try to win someone. Focus on what you really need, and what people around you really need. And we bet, Indians would be the happiest to see you grow, become rational, achieve economic freedom and live a meaningful life; because its everyone’s aspiration to have a friendly neighbor.
Take inspiration from the 1980s of America, 1990s of China, and 2000s of India and find solutions to the problems lingering the country. You’ve a big responsibility. Its time you take it up, and make a difference.
Stop fighting the old.. Build something new..