At the center of the troubled economy of Pakistan, development remains the main subject of people’s interest at different forums. This topic has repeatedly accumulated much attention on multiple platforms, generating debates and discussions both locally as well as on an international level.
One of these discussions occurred in Islamabad at an event called ‘Margalla Dialogue’ – a conference organized annually by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). The main agenda of the dialogue is to spark new ideas and cogitate on the future of the quickly changing political and technological world.
The 3rd Annual Dialogue this year focused on the presently unfolding geopolitical realities across the globe, and was attended by notable Pakistani leading personalities including the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister Javed Jabbar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Former Senator, and Former COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and others.
Ali J. Siddiqui – Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the USA – was one of the speakers at the event, wherehe presented a 25-year forecast of the country’s economy at the current level of development.
As per his estimation, Pakistan shall grow by 3.5 times in the upcoming 25 years if the present economic development rate stays at 5%. However, this rate is likely to be less than the growth rate of Pakistan’s peer nations like India, Indonesia, Iran, and Bangladesh.
While Pakistan is to see an exponential population growth by 55% in the next 25 years, its neighboring countries are forecasted to grow 10-20% in population as per estimation. This means that Pakistan will only be able to shell out a fragment of what its neighbors spend on healthcare, nutrition, education, necessities of life, and a general improvement in quality of living on its 100th anniversary.
If the circumstances remain unchanged, Pakistan will be left behind in human development compared to the other nations.
Our share of world prosperity is estimated to remain stagnant with an increasing population. Research predicts Pakistanis will not have a better life compared to peers like Bangladesh, where a 12-time higher growth rate is projected.
To become a prosperous Pakistan at 100, Ali J. Siddiqui said that we must realize that we are decades behind from other countries, and 25 years of endless effort can significantly improve the overall situation.
In his words, the ‘dramatic and thoughtful redesign’ of economic policies from tax structures to public finance is imperative in these times. “Marginal changes at this point will not bring significant change in our citizens’ quality of life,” he said.
A well-known Pakistani diplomat and entrepreneur, Ali Siddiqui has also served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the USA. He even served in government and business advisory councils, institutions of policy making, and commercial entities such as JS Bank.
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