Jun 162008

By Maria Amin

We have been unable to exploit our growth potential due to distrust among the
    federating units of the country. By harnessing the potential of each province Pakistan could become a leading global economy in a decade. Pakistan came into existence as a nation by integration of different regions speaking different languages but united on the basis of religion. In this sense Pakistan as a nation is different from Marxist definition of nation equates one language with one nationality.
The four provinces of the country have distinct economic advantages. Baluchistan the largest province by area is bestowed with natural resources like gas, minerals and oil. These resources have not been exploited fully because of the mistrust of the local tribes against the federal government. Pakistan could become self-sufficient in energy and could export minerals if by giving the local population their due share in the natural resources. It harbors could be developed to provide the shortest sea route to the land locked states of Central Asia.
Sindh is rich both in cultural heritage and industrial infrastructure. Karachi as financial capital of the country could play a vital role in country’s development only is a permanent peace based on harmony and co-existence is restored in the city. It could well become the hub of large industries in the region only if the investors are assured of full writ of the government on civic affairs and rule of law becomes a norm. Sindh’s agricultural potential has been under utilized as it farms are being over watered under political pressures from vested interests.
Punjab should have been the granary of the country but unfortunately we import food items worth over $4 billion annually as agricultural planners fail to boost the productivity in the province. Punjab is the hub of textile production of the country as well. Textiles account for over 63 per cent of country’s exports. The Northern Punjab could well become a tourist attraction if the hill stations are upgraded and global perception about the country is improved.
The North Western Province of Pakistan (NWFP) has the potential to produce most of the hydroelectric potential of 54000 MW present in the Indus water system. It is the gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The development of road infrastructure and peace in the region would go a long way in making Pakistan the hub of trade transit activities in the region. The NWFP is bestowed with one of the most picturesque sites in the world. The people of hilly area are hospitable. Its locations are more charming and enchanting than Switzerland. The only drawback is that tourism as an industry has not been properly developed and the infrastructures along with reasonable hotel chains are missing from the region because terror tag attached to the area. Otherwise NWFP has the potential to earn more foreign exchange from tourism than current exports of Pakistan.
The concept of nationality has been found to be less than adequate to address some major and minor concrete issues of group identification. Whenever we meet someone we tell him/her that we are Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, etc but we always forget that firstly we are Muslims then we are Pakistani

Source: The Nation, 16/6/2008

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