Go ahead of vision

Minister Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has come up with a socioeconomic roadmap for the country named “Pakistan Outlook 2035”. The initiative will assess long-term challenges in light of the prevailing economic crisis and changing global dynamics in key sectors of the economy and identify policy choices for policymakers for the rapid socioeconomic development of the country. In a meeting, he told the Planning Commission members that the study would be launched at the start of 2023 and would act as a prelude to developing Pakistan’s vision 2035 and Vision 2047. He emphasized that Pakistan’s economy required fundamental structural changes and the development of a new export-led growth paradigm. This could only be achieved by following a consistent policy framework for at least a decade, he added. He said the previous government discarded the continuity of policies and a path of confrontation and reversals was adopted which destroyed investor confidence and progress.

Ahsan Iqbal with vast experience and unique wisdom can peep into the depth of problems, but when he talks about long periods of consistency he shouldn’t think about the rule of his own party only for that long time. A path between political parties must be paved for unity and collaboration and for the purpose of our defence and economic growth. When making such long plans and struggling with the vision of 2047 one should not forget the ground realities. Everyone knows very well that consistency in our vision and plans is a must for socio-economic progress. But that is not possible without a political will, which is to be developed by the politicians themselves by accommodating others’ viewpoints and philosophies and reaching a consensus.  Ahsan Iqbal is sitting at a very high post and he has to think about the future vision and so many other things about the country. But besides eradicating the hatred among politicians and decreasing the tension between their followers, the politicians sincere to the country must look at the ground realities and thoughts of the common people. There were times when all high-ups used to take the peoples’ input through the latest books written by our experts on different subjects, international reports, media opinions, and audience feedback, etc., but in the present era, they don’t bother about public opinion. Only TV talks or opponents’ media managers’ communication has some attraction for them. Many experts and writers attached closely to national affairs are continuously writing but their invaluable ideas and recommendations seldom are looked at by the concerned policymakers.

One can’t deny the importance of the Planning and Development Division especially when it is headed by a genius like Ahsan Iqbal, but the question is who will bell the cat?  How our politicians will come to an agreement about long-term planning? One bitter fact of this aspect is that when a new government comes into power, cunning and corrupt people from its ranks immediately think about the ongoing development programs. Everything of the projects started by the previous government looks to them like rubbish because they had not grabbed any commissions from these. If the contractors come to an agreement with them to pay commissions also to this new government then they carry on the work. Otherwise, their contracts are canceled with the excuse of wrong tendering, or some engineering faults. Many other impediments could be mentioned in this regard. Nevertheless, the first and imperative fact is the learning of politicians to reduce their differences and come together at least in the matters which relate to the very existence of the nation.

Dr. Akhtar Ahmed is the author of one dozen books. He is the man who has gathered in his books all the important facts and necessary recommendations for the welfare and prosperity of the nation. At this moment his book “Ghulba-e- Islam is with me. In this book, he has not left anything out which could be discussed for the progress of our society. I would like to mention some of his suggestions for bringing a revolution in the life of Pakistani farmers. He is not an economist, nor an agricultural scientist, people in our society generally agree with these recommendations, and experts can also not deny the easy application of these.  This is only to show that a far-flung future can’t be brightened without picking up the present ground realities. Dr. Akhtar Ahmed writes.

  1. There should be a worker of Agriculture Extension in every village for the continuous guidance and training of the farmers.
  2. All fertile uncultivated lands must be brought under cultivation for increasing food production in the country.
  3. We can convert our Thar and Cholistan deserts into green belts by following Saudi Arabia and India.
  4. Small landholders can earn much more money by growing vegetables on their lands.
  5. All farmers must be kept aware of all the changes in the world’s agricultural practices.
  6. Farmers should be trained in preparing greenhouses.
  7. There is a need to use drip and showering technology for irrigation.
  8. Farmers should know the worth of herbal crops and shrubs.
  9. We have great potential to develop our dairy farming.
  10. Small farmers should be trained in fisheries, goat farming, honey beekeeping, and poultry farming.
  11. Government should provide free electricity for tube wells.
  12. Government can save the farmers and their lands by building small dams and protection bands.
  13. Farmers should be encouraged to adopt modern ways of ploughing and irrigation. The use of solar energy and growing more trees can change their life.
  14. The supply of processed quality seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides should be made sure.
  15. For agricultural reforms, we need stern actions.
  16. We should pay some attention to growing tea, olives, Zafira, stevia, and moringa.
  17. Kitchen Gardening should be encouraged and facilitated.
  18. We must learn advanced agriculture techniques and about developed seeds from other countries.
  19. These are simple things about agriculture that have been mentioned without details. Experts and our common people know the importance of these recommendations.
With 50 years of teaching experience, Professor Dr. Shafiq Jullandhry, a noted writer and author of award-winning books, is former chairman of Punjab University's Mass Communication Department (now School of Communication Studies); also heads Elaaf Club and Pakistan Media Guild as president. He can be reached at drjullandhry@yahoo.com.

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