“The News” report by Sabir Shah
LAHORE: Although the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a day older than its next-door neighbour India, it cannot match the excellence of its nuclear arch rival when it comes to the secular state’s accomplishments in political, educational, economic and communication development fronts during these 65 years.
A few pro-Pakistan critics may, however, try to snatch the credit away from India by attributing the country’s superb successes to its much bigger area and its six times larger population.
Well, there is no doubt that the total Indian area of 3,287,263 square kilometers is 4.12 times larger than Pakistan’s 796,095 square kilometers and there is no denying the fact that the current Indian population of 1.205 billion is roughly six times larger than the 190.29 million Pakistani populace, but these worthy critics should also know that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India is about 8 times healthier than that of Pakistan!
A comparative study conducted by “The News International” in this context shows that Pakistan’s GDP rests at a paltry $210.6 billion, as compared to the relatively massive Indian GDP of $1.676 trillion. The writer has based his analysis from latest figures taken from the American Central Investigation Agency’s World Fact Book 2012, updated IMF reports and recent World Bank research papers
These latest July 2012 numbers further reveal that Pakistan’s GDP per capita is $2,800, while that of India is $3,700.
But then hiding behind the curtain of excuses won’t help the cause as most European nations with much smaller areas and populations have outgrown both Pakistan and India in terms of progress and human development during the last six-and-a-half decades-especially if we take into account the fact that most of these countries were completely destroyed during the Second World War.
India may be the 30th most indebted nation in the world with an External Debt of $267.1 billion, much higher than Pakistan’s $61.83 billion to make it the 54th most indebted nation though, but the quantum of Indian exports today stands at $298.2 billion-way higher than Pakistan’s export figures of $25.35 billion.
India is today the 21st largest exporter in the world, while Pakistan stands 68th in this list. With a mammoth labour force of 487.6 million (2nd largest in the world), a lot higher than Pakistan’s working brigade of 58.41 million, India today has the 7th largest foreign exchange and gold reserves of $345.8 billion.
In comparison, Pakistan’s Foreign Exchange and Gold reserves rest at just $17.02 billion-or 62nd highest in the world.
Indian’s current budget expenditures stand at $308.8 billion, while those of Pakistan are as dismal as $39.77 billion.
On the communication network front, India is again miles ahead of Pakistan.India has 35.09 million telephones installed countrywide (9th highest in the world), as compared to Pakistan’s numbers of 3.419 million (46th highest in the world).
The number of cell phones in India is 752 million (2nd highest in the world), while Pakistan has 111 million cell phones only, though this figure is still high enough to make latter the 9th largest mobile phone using country across the planet. The number of Indian Internet users is 61.338 million (6th in the world), while the number of Pakistani Internet users is just 20.431 million or 20th in the world.
With 352 paved and unpaved airports, India is ranked 22nd in the world, while Pakistan features 37th in this list with 151 airports.
The Indian rail network spans over 63,974 kilometres in the world to make it the 4th largest in the world, while Pakistan’s total network is just 7,791 kilometres (27th largest on Earth).
This is how the CIA World Fact Book 2012 has commented on Pakistan’s unhappy state of affairs: “Decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment have led to slow growth and underdevelopment in Pakistan. Agriculture accounts for more than one-fifth of output and two-fifths of employment. Textiles account for most of Pakistan’s export earnings, and Pakistan’s failure to expand a viable export base for other manufactures has left the country vulnerable to shifts in world demand. Official unemployment is 6 per cent, but this fails to capture the true picture, because much of the economy is informal and underemployment remains high. Over the past few years, low growth and high inflation, led by a spurt in food prices, have increased the amount of poverty – the UN Human Development Report estimated poverty in 2011 at almost 50 per cent of the population.”
It added saying: “Pakistan must address long standing issues related to government revenues and energy production in order to spur the amount of economic growth that will be necessary to employ its growing population. Other long term challenges include expanding investment in education and healthcare, and reducing dependence on foreign donors.”
About India, the CIA World Fact Book 2012 has viewed: “India’s medium-term growth outlook is positive due to a young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. India has many long-term challenges that it has not yet fully addressed, including widespread poverty, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, scarce access to quality basic and higher education, and accommodating rural-to-urban migration.”
It has gone on to write a few more good things about India: “Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fueling India’s rise on the world stage.” As far as the democratic achievements of both these countries of the same age are concerned, India again stands much taller than Pakistan.
India has seen 15 Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) election stints taking place in 1951, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1971, 1977, 1980, 1984-85, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009, meaning thereby that the Indian public has been electing its representatives every 4.33 years on an average since the last 65 years.
On the contrary, Pakistanis have exercised their right of franchise just nine times (the 1985 party-less polls included) during the same corresponding period, which thus signifies that the Pakistani citizens have gone to cast their ballot after every 7.22 years on an average.
If regularity of general elections in any country is deemed a vital yardstick by which the strength of democracy in any part of the world is measured by political scientists, then India has had a much smoother sailing than Pakistan.
It is imperative to note that two of these nine election stints in Pakistan—-1985 and 2002—- have been held under the supervision of General Zia-ul-Haq and General Pervez Musharraf, while both dictators were clad in khakis. The February 2008 polls were overseen by Musharraf when he wasn’t donning an army uniform.It goes without saying that he was still calling shots as the country’s elected president.
General Musharraf had resigned from military on November 28, 2007, paving way for the incumbent General Kayani to assume charge as Chief of Army Staff.By the way, between 1947 and 1958, no direct elections were held in Pakistan at the national level.
The volatility of Pakistani politics in its early days can be gauged from the fact that from the date of first Premier Liaquat Ali Khan’s murder on October 16, 1951 till the imposition of the first Martial Law on October 7, 1958, not fewer than six Prime Ministers (Khawaja Nazimuddin, Muhammad Ali Bogra, Chaudhary Muhammad Ali, Huseyn Shaheed Suharawardy, I.I. Chundrigar and Feroze Khan Noon) had held the country’s reins!! Before concluding this story and still talking of the cruelty of the Indo-Pak politics, it is worth recalling that overall, four premiers on either side of the border-two each from Pakistan and India- have been assassinated till date.
While Indian Premiers Indira Gandhi (1984) and her son Rajiv Gandhi (1991) had died unnatural deaths, the first Pakistani Premier Liaquat Ali Khan (1951) and then Benazir Bhutto (2007) had also met the same fate.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, an elected Pakistani Prime Minister and also the President once, was hanged to death on Supreme Court’s orders in 1979.
Another sitting Pakistani President, General Zia-ul-Haq, had perished in a mysterious plane disaster in August 1988.
We all know that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as “Father of the Nation” in India, was the first of all known Pak-India politicians to be shot dead while he was walking to address a prayer meeting on January 30, 1948.
And not to forget, Sahibzada Sayyid Iskander Ali Mirza, the first Pakistani President and the man behind the imposition of the first martial law in the country in 1958, had died during his long exile in London on November 12, 1969.
He was sadly denied a burial in Pakistan by the then President Yahya Khan.
One can thus safely assume after looking at the afore-mentioned historical facts that Pakistan has certainly scored a few points more than India, when it comes to the bloody nature of its politics.
There could be a host of reasons for Indian excellence in many fields over Pakistan, but perhaps the most important reason amongst all is their focus on educating their population.
A quick look at facts listed below, sourced from Unesco and World Bank, highlight how Indians have better educated themselves than Pakistan.
1. India, despite a population 6 times that of Pakistan had fewer or just 3 million out-of-school children at Primary level in 2010, compared to some 7.0 million in Pakistan.
2. Net Primary School Enrollment in India is 92.1 per cent, whereas it is just about 70 per cent in Pakistan
3. Primary completion rate in India, both for males and females is 95 per cent, whereas the same for Pakistan is only 67 per cent for males and under 60 per cent for females.
4. India spends over 3 per cent of its GDP on education, while Pakistan barely spends under 2 per cent.
5. Adult literacy rate in India is approx 63 per cent; in Pakistan it is just about 55 per cent.
6. Youth literacy in India is 81 per cent. Pakistan: just 71 per cent.
7. Female literacy rate in India is 50 per cent; it is less than 40 per cent in Pakistan.
8. Indian scientists excel in areas of defence technology, space research, electronics and avionics, genetics, banking and telecommunications. India produces 10,000 PhDs every year, about 4,000 of these in the faculties of science and technology alone. Pakistan produces just about 800 PhDs altogether.
9. India produces more PhDs every year than Pakistan has produced in the last 20 years.