Profitable state-run entities in Pakistan are deliberately doomed due to political interference, like Pakistan Steel Mills and PIA, said speakers of a lecture on Institutions for growth, equity and security arranged at the Karachi University.
“PIA was the nurturer of Singapore Airlines and Emirates airlines but is now at its low in 2017,” said Dr. Ishrat Husain in the moot held at Applied economics Research Center Auditorium, University of Karachi organized by the faculty of Social Sciences KU.
In the opening speech, dean faculty social sciences KU Professor Dr. Mohammad Ahmed Qadri took the podium and told that the reason of these lectures, workshops and seminars is to invite different specialists and champions of respective fields to deliver lectures in order to retain proximity among people and to take absolute benefit from these ideas to apply them in real life.
The Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi, Dr. Ajmal Khan was then requested to come after the audience for the key note. “Since the last 40, 50 years everyone told me that our economy is agricultural but if agriculture might be the major source of economy why would the US not take over the agriculture market?” he asked as he took the rostrum. He then said that we are using abundant water to grow rice but that massive quantity of water is causing water logging and hence water soaking of the fertile land.
He further said that water will be as precious as the oil in the upcoming years and we must save the amount of water we waste for the future. “We need to shift this agricultural economy to educational/knowledge economy” he exclaimed. He mentioned that China sent different students to the US for PhD on the government’s funds that brought about a drastic change in the development and economy of China.
He further said that investing in education can’t give an immediate result but it do gives a long lasting, long term fruit. “If the government invests in the University of Karachi, we will be able to show massive development” he said confidently.
Dr. Ishrat Hussain, former country economist in World Bank, former governor of State bank of Pakistan, the achiever of Nishan e Imtiaz and Hilaal e Imtiaz and former dean, Institute of Business Management (IBA) was then invited on the dice by the session. He initiated that the economists in early days were arrogant and they thought that capital and land were the only means of economic development but as time passed they realized that there are other things to be understood as well.
He said that Pakistan had the fastest growing economy so much so that it was more than Malaysia and Indonesia with a yearly growth of 6% but as time passed India took over Pakistan’s economic growth by 1994 and in 2007 Bangladesh outclassed Pakistan’s yearly economic growth. Pakistan’s growth was dragged down to 3-4% a year meanwhile the Indian growth was at 6-7%. Dr. Husain discussed various hypothesizes that were generated as causes for the economic decline of Pakistan.
Extremism was the first hypothesis that occurred as a hurdle between the growing economies. Economic decline of Pakistan was commenced in 1999 to 2000 but we joined hands against the war on terrorism, had multiple attacks on the president, prime minister and GHQ from 2002-2007 but still had an economic growth of 7%. This hypothesis was false and terrorism or extremism was not a catalyst of a rein economy. Other major hypothesis was that the economy of Pakistan only grows with foreign aids.
Pakistan got aids of only $800-900 Million prior but during 2008-2013 the era of Kerry Lugar bill arrived in which we got as much as $7.5 Billion but we still didn’t grow much. $1.2 Billion was given from Libya and Iran during the Bhutto regime as well. The last hypothesis that was revolving throughout was the support of west to the military governments being a catalyst in economic growth. In the war of 1965 all international funds were cut down and so in 1971, no force came to help Pakistan. In the year 1979 Pakistan was asked to stop the nuclear program from the west.
Dr. Husain discussed the Bhutto era when he removed the security of job and the abolishment of merit that caused major disappointment among the working class. The people with political backgrounds were chosen for jobs who served their own purposes and not the country’s purposes. New set of civil servants were appointed with the regime of every government.
“PIA was the nurturer of Singapore Airlines and Emirates airlines but is now at its low in 2017” said Dr. Ishrat Husain telling about the revulsion of PIA. He further told that during 1955-1990 there were only two managing directors i.e. Air Marshal Noor Khan and Air Marshal Asghar Khan but now it have as many as 20 managing directors for the tenure of just 1.5 years. Similarly Sindh got its 12 education secretaries in just few years which is leading us to an educational decay.
Dr. Hussain then gave some suggestions to make a strong an effective institutional system. The jobs must be given on the basis of commission and on merit but not in accordance with the political background. Civil servants must be given proper training and not just lectures so that they could actually know how to deal with the people. Government should have performance indicators since Annual Confidential Report (ACR) doesn’t really justify the performance of an employee. Governmental institutions of Pakistan have promotional pattern with respect to the time only. Promotions should be commenced according to the performance of employees and not just on the basis of seniority.
Compensations and benefits are the major factors that must be given to the employees so that there would be no use of corruption and transparency should be the motive of all government institutions and organizations.
Prof. Dr. Ahmed Qadri was then requested to conclude the lecture and he said that we must exhibit positive traits and positive vibes in order to take economic growth to an irretrievable positive growth. Moreover he said that we all need to come towards an identical focal point in order to initiate this growth.
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