Instead of coming up with out of box solution, we are back to the square.
Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar’s directive to the Ministry of Planning to craft a comprehensive five-year plan is a no starter. The five year plan is a thing which I have been hearing since childhood. The plan is merely a short-term strategy; it does not form the cornerstone of our economic vision for the next decade or more.
Kakar Sahib should address the hindrances obstructing our national development.
The five year plan has been part of economy since 1955, when the government of that time embarked on a journey towards national development, initiating the iconic five-year development projects. These projects were not only instrumental in shaping our nation but also served as a blueprint for others to follow.
Yes, these plans did well in the 60s and 70s and later on, they served the bureaucracy.
Let us reflect on our history: the first two decades of Pakistan’s existence bore witness to transformative agricultural and industrial revolutions. The agricultural sector reaped substantial benefits, witnessing increased productivity per acre and substantial exports of cotton, wheat, and rice. These successes also extended to making previously barren lands cultivable. The construction of mega-projects like Mangala and Tarbela dams revolutionized irrigation and hydroelectricity. Subsequently, the Kalabagh dam project, despite its early promise, fell prey to political considerations.
The third five-year plan saw the establishment of a national steel mill with Soviet Union support. Unfortunately, this vital asset has suffered from neglect over the past two decades, becoming a financial burden on the nation. Our economic program has faced growing sabotage, prompting the Corps Commanders’ Conference to pledge the army’s support in curbing illegal activities detrimental to the economy and investment. The Investment Facilitation Council will oversee economic activities while combating terrorism vigorously.
Population control was a central focus of earlier five-year plans, eventually culminating in the Behbood Abadi program. Although the essence of these plans persists today, their objectives and priorities are insufficient for addressing contemporary challenges. We find ourselves in the midst of the twelfth five-year plan, with ambitious goals ranging from ending power shortages to stimulating industrial growth and reviving closed industries.
Prime Minister Kakar should focus on CPEC and the Special Investment Council in our future plan. Effective planning in these areas can attract substantial domestic and foreign investments, propelling us to global economic prominence. However, amidst these aspirations, our education and healthcare sectors continue to languish. It is imperative that we allocate priorities for their improvement in the forthcoming plan.
As we contemplate the way forward, it is essential to recognize the limitations of our current goals. While they are noble, their realization on the ground remains challenging. Nevertheless, the completion of these projects is non-negotiable. Prime Minister Kakar’s directives signal a commitment to harness the full potential of CPEC and drive investment, which, if executed effectively, can usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity.
Yet, we must not lose sight of the pressing issues in education and healthcare. Despite our economic ambitions, these sectors continue to be afflicted by neglect and dire conditions. To forge a brighter future, we must prioritize the betterment of our people’s well-being through accessible education and quality healthcare.
Long story short, Prime Minister Kakar’s call for a renewed focus on comprehensive long-term planning is both timely and necessary but the rout should not be the five year plans. The path to success requires not only ambitious economic goals but also a commitment to improving the lives of our citizens through education and healthcare. With a comprehensive approach that encompasses all these aspects, we can indeed aspire to a brighter, more prosperous future for Pakistan.