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Can Imran Khan Lead Pakistan to the Next Level?

Pakistan graduated from low-income (level 1) to lower-middle-income (level 2) status at the end of Musharraf years in 2008, according to the United Nations.  Can Prime Minister Imran Khan lead his nation to upper-middle-income (level 3) ranks by the end of his first term in office? What are his chances of accomplishing this ambitious goal?

Health-Wealth Levels. Source: Gapminder.org

Four Levels of Development:

The extensive data compilation and research by Professor Hans Rosling of Sweden has shown that the binary categorization of nations into developed and developing is no longer useful. Instead, he has proposed using 4 levels of development based on health and wealth indicators, a proposal that has now been accepted by the United Nations and the World Bank. Here's how Rosling and the United Nations define these 4 levels:

1. Level 1: One billion people live on level 1. This is what we think of as extreme poverty. If you’re on level 1, you survive on less than $2 a day and get around by walking barefoot. Your food is cooked over an open fire, and you spend most of your day traveling to fetch water. At night, you and your children sleep on a dirt floor.

2. Level 2: Three billion people live on level 2, between $2 and $8 a day. Level 2 means that you can buy shoes and maybe a bike, so it doesn’t take so long to get water. Your kids go to school instead of working all day. Dinner is made over a gas stove, and your family sleeps on mattresses instead of the floor.

Level 3: Two billion people live on level 3, between $8 and $32 a day. You have running water and a fridge in your home. You can also afford a motorbike to make getting around easier. Some of your kids start (and even finish) high school.

Level 4: One billion people live on level 4. If you spend more than $32 a day, you’re on level 4. You have at least a high school education and can probably afford to buy a car and take a vacation once in a while.

Imran Khan's Ambitious Agenda:

Imran Khan laid out his agenda in his first speech to the nation after taking the office of the prime minister.  It was more like a fireside chat in which he spoke directly to the people to explain his priorities that emphasize education,  health care and human development. These are the keys to leading Pakistan from level 2 to level 3. In order to pursue his priorities, Mr. Khan needs to first address the more urgent economic crisis which he acknowledged. Pakistan needs to deal with excessive public debt and pay for the necessary imports to move forward.  He must also deal with financial corruption and mismanagement to free up the resources for his ambitious agenda of economic and human development of the nation.

Mr. Khan will almost certainly face stiff opposition from the status quo forces which stand to lose from the changes he seeks. They will fight to preserve their patronage networks and their power and privilege. They will try to bring down his coalition government with all they have got. They might even threaten his personal safety and security.

Democracy and Development:

Professor Hans Rosling has compiled extensive socioeconomic data and done serious research to understand how nations develop. He has shared his work in "Factfulness" that he co-wrote with his son Ola Rosling and daughter Anna Rosling Ronnlund. Here's an except on democracy and development from Factfulness:

"This is risky but I am going to argue it anyway. I strongly believe that liberal democracy is the best way to run a country. People like me, who believe this, are often tempted to argue that democracy leads to, or its even a requirement for, other good things, like peace, social progress, health improvement, and economic growth. But here's the thing, and it is hard to accept: the evidence does not support this stance.


Most countries that make great economic and social progress are not democracies. South Korea moved from Level 1 to Level 3 faster than any other country had ever done (without finding oil), all the time as a military dictatorship. Of the ten countries with the fastest economic growth, nine of them score low on democracy.


Anyone who claims that democracy is a necessity for economic growth and health improvements will risk getting contradicted by reality. It's better to argue for democracy as a goal in itself instead of as a superior means to other goals we like."

Summary:

Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan has laid out an ambitious agenda that could take his country from level 2 to level 3 of socioeconomic development. It is achievable but the odds are against him because he faces stiff opposition from the status quo forces. The powerful dynastic duopoly of PPP and PMLN still dominates Pakistan's Senate whose support will be required for major reforms. The research by Professor Hans Rosling shows: "Of the ten countries with the fastest economic growth, nine of them score low on democracy." It's also supported by Pakistan's economic history where pace of development has consistently been faster under military governments than during civilian democratic rule.

Views: 173

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 22, 2018 at 9:47am

The ‘new’ is synonymous with broad and deep reforms in critical areas of governance, social and economic policies and provision of services to the people, including fair and speedy justice. The idea of change has two sides to it. One, it shows dissatisfaction with the way things have been in the past — the problems, the failures and institutional decay. Pakistan’s problems are too many, too deep-rooted and structural in nature. They have accumulated over a long time because of political expediency, personal interests and lack of will and imagination of previous military and political governments.


https://tribune.com.pk/story/1786127/6-making-new-pakistan/

Imran Khan and the PTI, in my view, represent the popular and grassroots level narrative of plunder by the ruling elites, misappropriation of public resources by the two political dynasties and concentration of political power in few individuals that have controlled the party politics in the past few decades. The reason Imran Khan’s first speech to the nation won ordinary people’s hearts is that he spoke what has been on their minds. The social and political movements against the ruling oligarchies succeed when the challengers are able to do an objective analysis of the causes of failure and offer, doable and realistic solutions.

Khan’s understanding of the problems of Pakistan is reflective of his close observation, intimate experience and interaction with ordinary people. This is the most authentic way of gaining political knowledge of a society that successful leaders master, articulate and express in a simple language that people understand. In this regard, Khan was at his best in engaging the nation in a conversational style. He was pure, natural, sincere and deeply touched by the problems that we have faced. In about 90 minutes, he placed before the nation, a long list of challenges that have largely gone unaddressed, or partially attended to. Khan has done the diagnosis part of the issues the best before and during the election campaign.

Second, most important and difficult part of ‘change’ is translating a vision into reality. All human societies, no matter how deep-rooted their problems are, can change for the better, and they have in many parts of the world. Khan presented evidence from history with frequent references to the state of Madina and the West. While societies might differ in the character of the people and in variables of time and space, the principles of collective success — achieving progress or creating good and just society are universal.

It is a test and challenge of a leadership how it sets the priorities right and how it effectively utilises the principles and policies that have produced educated societies, scientific communities and economic development. Chief among them is, rule of law, a point that Kaptaan has emphasised for two decades and also in his maiden speech. Why is it so important a principle? It ensures human dignity, equality, fairness and accountability. It is not just in Pakistan, but in every post-colonial state where corrupt regimes, first and foremost, destroyed the rule-of-law principle. They couldn’t amass illegal wealth and privileges or defend their rule without doing so. Bringing the rule-of-law principle will be the beginning of reforms.

Change is possible but not that easy. It has to be brought about through rusted and corrupted government institutions that have traditionally worked hard in preserving the vested interests. All reformist leaders embarking upon a path of reform and reconstruction have faced resistance, and one must expect it coming in many forms. The challenges we face will test Khan’s political will, tenacity and leadership skills.

What gives optimism about success this time around is the popular support IK enjoys. His integrity, deep commitment to public good and sincerity are beyond any doubt. More importantly, his vision of new Pakistan has popular resonance.

Comment by Mehmood Malik on August 24, 2018 at 8:55am

Imran Khan and his team are going to do a great job pulling Pakistan back from the financial obis that Sharif and his corrupt friends have brought the country to,Imran Khan is a man who’s trackecord shows us how passionate, committed and how fearless he is, a leader who leads from the front and inspires others to greater hights.The people of Pakistan, young and old have been searching for a leader who will put them at the top of his agenda and finally they have found a leader who will do that.I invisage a Pakistan under the leadership of this great man to be a country where everyone will have an equal share in the country and also to be treated with respect He will pursue policies which will benefit Pakistan and the Pakistani people, we will not be dictated to by so called friends  who have used and abused us in the past.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 27, 2018 at 8:57pm

#China will increase #FDI in #Pakistan, build special economic zones and upgrade #Pakistan's #manufacturing capacity and expand #export-oriented industries. China will also actively expand its #imports from Pakistan. #CPEC 

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201808/28/WS5b8487b1a310add14f3880c5...


Developing China-Pakistan relations has always been a priority of China's neighborhood diplomacy. China is looking forward to strengthening cooperation with the new Pakistani government, bringing more dividends of the CPEC to the grassroots and the general public in Pakistan, making it a model project for the benefits of both peoples.

China will actively promote investment in Pakistan. The Chinese government will firmly promote industrial cooperation, expand China's direct investment in Pakistan, and encourage Chinese enterprises to actively participate in the construction of special economic zones. Its focus of cooperation will be upgrading Pakistan's manufacturing capacity and expanding export-oriented industries.

We will continue to organize delegations from the private sector in China to visit Pakistan and set up various platforms for business-to-business cooperation. We will also continue to promote the transfer of high-quality and advanced industrial technologies from China to Pakistan, establish more joint ventures, and strengthen the brand of "Made in Pakistan".

China will also actively expand its imports from Pakistan. In November, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where, as one of the "Chief Guest" countries, Pakistan has been invited to send a large delegation of exporters and set up exhibitions at both the national and export levels. It is hoped that Pakistan will make full use of this opportunity to promote its superior products to China.

The Chinese side will also promote cooperation between the customs and quarantine authorities of both countries to facilitate the further opening-up of China's agricultural product market to Pakistan. China will, under the framework of free trade cooperation between the two countries, provide a larger market share for Pakistani goods, and strengthen cooperation and facilitate local trade between Gilgit-Baltistan and China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. And China will take further visa facilitation measures to encourage more Pakistani businesspeople to visit China.

Improving Pakistani people's livelihoods

Besides, China will focus more on helping Pakistani people improve their livelihoods. It will actively promote cooperation between the two countries' universities, establish more vocational and technical training centers in Pakistan, provide aid for building 50 schools in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (that is, in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas), expand the primary school in Gwadar "donated" by China. The purpose of this is to help Pakistan improve the quality of its human resources, especially of the youth.

Besides, China will consider setting up an agricultural technology demonstration center in Pakistan to improve local agricultural technology, production efficiency and value-added agricultural industry. It also will strengthen scientific and technological cooperation with Pakistan, establish a China-Pakistan Joint Research Center on Earth Science, strengthen scientific research on disaster reduction and prevention, promote ecological and environmental protection, and help develop green and sustainable growth in Pakistan.

Moreover, Beijing will encourage Chinese companies to fulfill their social responsibilities and play a more active role in sponsoring livelihood projects. We will also explore more pragmatic cooperation with Pakistan in such areas as poverty alleviation and healthcare.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 16, 2018 at 7:47am

23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better. #poverty #hunger #health #literacy #longevity #mortality #optimism https://www.vox.com/2014/11/24/7272929/global-poverty-health-crime-... via @voxdotcom

For most Americans, these feel like bleak times. We have a massively unpopular, scandal-plagued president whose aides are being convicted of serious federal felonies. Overt, old-fashioned racism is publicly visible and powerful in a way it wasn’t only five years ago. More than 200 admired, powerful men have been accused of sexual misconduct or assault.

This is all real, and truly alarming. But it would be a mistake to view that as the sum total of the world in 2018. Under the radar, some aspects of life on Earth are getting dramatically better. Extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, and life expectancy is increasing in poor countries — and there are many more indices of improvement like that everywhere you turn.

But many of us aren’t aware of ways the world is getting better because the press — and humans in general — have a strong negativity bias. Bad economic news gets more coverage than good news. Negative experiences affect people more, and for longer, than positive ones. Survey evidence consistently indicates that few people in rich countries have any clue that the world has taken a happier turn in recent decades — one poll in 2016 found that only 8 percent of US residents knew that global poverty had fallen since 1996.

It’s worth paying some attention to this huge progress. The people benefiting aren’t missing it — 50 percent of Chinese respondents in the 2016 poll said they knew poverty had fallen — and you shouldn’t either. Nothing’s permanent, and big challenges like climate change and the potential collapse of liberal democracy remain, but the world is getting much, much better on a variety of important, underappreciated dimensions.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 26, 2018 at 9:55am

#PTI govt unveils five-year plan for #Pakistan’s #economic growth. Small #farmers' support, low-cost #housing, digital #payments, a higher share for Islamic #banks and #SME loans are the targets of the government’s new strategy for growth. #ImranKhan 

https://www.samaa.tv/news/2018/12/government-unveils-five-year-plan...

Small farmers, low-cost housing, digital payments and a higher share for Islamic banks are the targets of the government’s new strategy for growth.

Access to finance is super important for economic growth that a country can sustain and that includes everyone. With this in mind, the government has unveiled a National Financial Inclusion Strategy for the next five years.

As of 2015, only 16% of Pakistan’s adult population had a bank account. The number of accounts for women was even lower at 11%. This strategy adopted by the previous government led to substantial progress, but more needs to be done. This is why the sitting government has decided to prioritize NFIS as part of its 100-days agenda for the five-year period till 2023.

A person’s ability to access finance is critical to ensure that opportunity is evenly spread in society. It is also linked to helping the poor, the finance ministry said in a document released on Wednesday. However, Pakistan’s level of financial inclusion is one of the lowest in the world, it said. The Prime Minister office will directly monitor the implementation of this plan.

More digital payments

The strategy will help Pakistanis make more digital payments. This includes 100% digitization of government receipts and payments. The government has set a target of 65 million active digital transaction accounts with 20 million accounts by women.

Increase bank deposits through innovative products to attract people’s savings

The government has also set a target to increase the deposit-to-GDP ratio to 55%. Banks will develop innovative and specialized products to encourage people, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, to put their savings in the banking system. This will encourage higher savings.

Promote SME finance

The government’s plan includes giving loans to 700,000 small and medium enterprises to ensure the sector forms 17% of total credit to the private sector. To achieve this target there will be a national SME policy, which will strengthen state institutions that support SMEs. The plan particularly focuses on IT and tourism. The government plans to incentivize banks by offering them tax rebates.

Increase agriculture finance

The government plans to enhance agriculture loans to Rs1,800 billion in its five-year term and serve 6 million farmers through digital solutions. A Kissan Digital Portal will be created. The government will provide subsidies on agricultural inputs to 3 million small farmers through this digital channel.

Enhance Islamic banking
The government plans to enhance the share of Islamic banking to 25% to cater to the people who stays away from interest. The government envisages that the outreach of Islamic banks would be around 30% of total bank branches.

Low-cost housing

The government plans to standardize and simplify the application form and scale up housing microfinance and revive housing finance companies. The government has planned after holding an industry-wide consultation and analysis.

The government believes that this five-year plan can create 3 million jobs, and lead to a $5.5 billion increase in our exports through enhanced access to finance to SMEs. It will allow reduced income tax (about 20%) on income earned by commercial and microfinance banks on SMEs, housing and underserved areas for priority sectors.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 28, 2019 at 1:52pm

#Pakistan #PMImranKhan at #NamalConvocation explaining #UCDavis' Prof James Hill's speech on how #Pakistan can produce a lot more food than #California. Hill is Project Manager of US-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security https://youtu.be/KuPpcJAK5S4

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 21, 2019 at 5:05pm

#Malaysian Leader in #Pakistan to Sign $900M #Investment deals in #informationtechnology and #telecom sectors. . #MahathirMohamad will also be the chief guest at the #PakistanDayParade. #technology https://www.voanews.com/a/malaysian-leader-in-pakistan-to-sign-900m...

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrived Thursday in Pakistan on an official three-day visit, where his high-powered delegation is expected to finalize investment deals worth nearly $900 million, officials said. 

The Malaysian leader will also be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day military parade Saturday, the Foreign Ministry announced. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's adviser on commerce told reporters that business leaders accompanying Mahathir would sign three memorandums of understanding on Friday covering up to $900 million worth of investments in information technology and telecom sectors.

The adviser, Razak Dawood, said the deals with Malaysia would also provide Pakistan a new opening toward membership in the Association of South East Asian Nations. He said Malaysian businessmen had also indicated they would like to invest in other sectors, including energy and textiles, to help Pakistan improve its exports. 

Officials said that Malaysia's Proton carmaker signed an agreement late last year with a Pakistani partner to set up an assembly plant in the southern city of Karachi that would be its first facility in South Asia. Khan and his Malaysian counterpart are expected to officiate at a symbolic groundbreaking of the Proton plant Friday.

Looking for investors

Since taking office last August, Khan has approached nations that have warm relations with Pakistan, including China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malaysia, to bring investment and financial deposits to help reduce a widening current account deficit and shore up foreign reserves.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have deposited or are in the process of depositing $6 billion in loans in recent months. The two countries have also agreed to allow Islamabad to import oil on deferred payments. China is expected to deposit more than $2 billion in the next few days. 

Beijing has invested more than $19 billion over the past six years in energy and infrastructure projects under what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative. 

Last month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Islamabad and signed investment agreements worth $20 billion, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the southwestern port city of Gwadar. 

Pakistani officials say they are also close to securing a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package reportedly of up to $12 billion.

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