The International Trade Centre chief’s first-ever visit to Pakistan is another sign of the positive trajectory that the country’s economy seems to be taking. In her comments Director Arancha Gonzalez said Pakistan’s economy has managed to achieve stability. She also spoke about the new infrastructure coming in with new road and communication networks developing across Pakistan. Good news and positive notes on the economic front keep coming from various sides. Economic growth reached an eight-year high of nearly 5% in the past financial year and the stock exchange keeps reaching new highs and breaking old records. Over the past 12 months, the benchmark index soared over 61%, making Pakistan’s stock exchange one of the world’s top performing indexes. In fact in late January, it touched the 50,000 barrier for the first time in history.
Just some weeks ago, in an index in The Economist magazine Pakistan was termed the fifth growing economy in the world. And more recently, in an article published by The Wall Street Journal, Pakistan’s middle class was said to be on the rise, leading to greater interest of international companies. Although according to the World Bank, poverty has also reduced, Pakistan needs more equitable growth. Housing and access to basic necessities remains a very crucial problem. While property market is soaring, reliable and secure housing is out of reach for a majority of people. While we celebrate our successes, it is also important not to forget how far ahead our neighbours are from us. While things are moving forward for Pakistan, India and China are light years ahead. We should not only compare our circumstances from our past selves, but care to come on a par with countries with whom we share borders and a common history. It is hoped that Pakistan will not only be satisfied with current-and short-term numbers and gains, but look ahead to the future with long-term and pro-poor stability in mind.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2017.