For six decades, Pakistan has faced, and overcome, conflict and calamity. Despite many obstacles, the country’s economy has grown steadily. At critical junctures, successive governments have adopted strategies suited to the circumstances of the day, and the nation has developed steadily due to these particular well-conceived initiatives. Yet, as a consequence of the reactive nature of policy formulation and implementation, the institutions of government are conditioned to think in terms of projects rather than strategies to support growth.
Today Pakistan confronts a new round of immediate challenges and urgent demands. Yet, it is precisely at this moment of apparent crisis—in the aftermath of a devastating flood and with security concerns continuing to dominate the national agenda—that the need to change the discourse about the country’s development has become most apparent. Reactive tactics and dependence on external aid are not helping Pakistan to develop or to realize its potential.
Sustained and sustainable development cannot come from a collection of projects, no matter how well intended. A New Development Approach is needed: Building markets. Building opportunity. Building cities. Building good governance. Including youth.
To realize Pakistan’s 21st-century potential, the nation’s political and business leaders must not only meet the demands of the present, but also—and perhaps more importantly—create a space for the future.