Obstacles in Socioeconomic and Political Development of Pakistan – Way Forward

Date: Monday 08 May, 2023

A One-day National Seminar was conducted by Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN), titled “Obstacles in Socio-Economic and Political Development of Pakistan: Way Forward,” on 8th May, 2023. During the seminar, distinguished speakers from relevant fields across Pakistan shed light on the current socio-economic and political development challenges and issues of Pakistan. Among the attendees, representatives from Provincial government, IG Police, five Vice Chancellors of provincial universities and 90 students from three local universities, attended the event. The seminar started with the national anthem, followed by the opening remarks of Head of BTTN, Brig Agha Ahmad Gul (R). He welcomed all the guests and students and extended his gratitude to the panel speakers and chairs. He discussed the historical development of the constitution of Pakistan and added that the constitution provides a road map for countries. He further commented on the current state of Pakistan’s economy and stated that there are five reasons for this situation: political instability, massive population growth, neo-colonial living, growing poverty due to inflation and unemployment, and huge corruption. He emphasized that these self-destructive approaches, if not addressed, will lead Pakistan to very serious security threats.

The first session in the seminar was focused on Pakistan’s System of Governance: Evaluation and the Way Forward, chaired by Ambassador (R) Qazi Khalil Ullah. In his opening remarks, he said that Pakistan’s current political, economic, and financial predicament is a serious concern for everyone. He further stated that the political instability, despite 75 years of existence and the experimentation of different economic models by democratic governments and undemocratic regimes, has brought the country to the edge of a precipice.

While discussing the Constitution, Status of Social Contract, and Fault Lines: Way Forward, Owais Ahmad Ghani, Former Governor of Balochistan and KPK, added that the power structure in any society and nation-state is always multipolar, and a carefully calibrated power equation is needed for political stability. He further elaborated that this power equation in Pakistan has become visibly skewed, resulting in worrisome disconnection within the government structures. In addition, while shedding light on the Colonial Heritage Overhang, Dr. Jahanzeb Baloch elaborated that colonialism is not only the control of a particular region and the exploitation of their resources but also the reshuffling of an entire mindset; thus, we need to restructure our minds and curriculum to get rid of the colonial mentality. Professor Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed stated in his talk on Pakistan’s imbalanced federating units that Pakistan is a federal society, and only federal arrangements and federal institutions can ensure the unity of the country.

The second session of the seminar was on Strategic Pressures of Budgeting, Major Powers, and Climate Change, chaired by Ambassador (R) Ali Sarwar Naqvi. In his opening address, he added that Pakistan, in its current state, is confronted with political turmoil and terrorism, which have prevented it from achieving socio-economic development. He further elaborated that these political obstacles remained unchecked, thus threatening the nation’s security at large. While discussing the macro-evaluation of the annual budget, Mr. Mehfooz Ali Khan stated that currently the state runs on borrowing, and when we borrow, we have certain obligations. Also, Pakistan’s large debt comes under considerable repayment pressure. From April 2023 to June 2026, Pakistan will need to repay 77.5 billion dollars in debt repayment services. Talking about climate change, Dr. Sanaullah Panezai added that the impact of climate change includes the depletion of natural resources; in this context, Pakistan has ignored the western basin, which is vital for the country. He further added that to have our eastern side of water preserved, we should have good relations and treaties over water with Afghanistan.

In the epilogue, Gen. Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (R) said that the constitution of 1973 has been duly amended time and again, which has created hurdles for the general populace of the country. We own this Constitution, and we should responsibly respect it. Furthermore, Pakistan would regain its ability to make sovereign choices and regain its economic sovereignty, which is currently compromised.

In concluding remarks, the current governor, Mr. Abul Wali Kakar, appreciated the efforts of the Balochistan Think Tank Network and added that Balochistan lacks such a kind of research think tank; therefore, we have to promote research culture through establishing more empowered think tanks.

In the end, the one-day national seminar was concluded with the presentation of souvenirs to the guests.