‘Governance failure’ root cause of economic troubles

Speakers discuss Pakistan’s need for a new economic paradigm at IPS book launch

News Desk March 02, 2019
Speakers discuss Pakistan’s need for a new economic paradigm at IPS book launch. PHOTO: FILE

Experts, while speaking at the launch of the third revised edition of Pakistan’s Economic Journey: Need for a New Paradigm authored by former chief economist of Pakistan Fasihuddin, pinpointed governance failure as the root cause of all economic troubles of Pakistan.

Published by the publishing arm of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) – IPS Press the book’s earlier two editions were co-authored by Akram Swati in 2006 and then in 2009. Its third and latest edition has come out almost after a decade of hard work by the veteran economist. Its Chinese version has also been published earlier by Pakistan Study Centre, Sichuan University, Chengdu.

Introducing his book on the occasion the author said that over the years Pakistan’s economy has grown and diversified, infrastructural facilities have expanded and positive steps have been taken on many fronts, yet the performance is neither fast enough, like some comparable economies, nor up to its potential. Moreover, it fails to reflect the ideological objectives of the creation of the country. A lot of ground is yet to be covered for which a new approach needs to be evolved.

Fasihuddin said that the vision of ‘developing an Islamic, just, equitable, progressive and prosperous nation' as enunciated by the father of the nation, requires an integrated and comprehensive paradigm. Such a paradigm is presented as the solution for all ills in this book in a simplified manner.

The event was chaired by former secretary-general finance and revenue Saeed Ahmad Qureshi, and addressed by IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan, Muslim Youth University Vice Chancellor Dr Tahir Hijazi, and PMAS Arid Agriculture University Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Dr Abdul Saboor .

Qureshi viewed that ever since its independence, Pakistan has been plagued with issues of inefficient governance and the results were duly reflected on the state of the country’s economy. He mentioned various aspects pointed in the book where the inadequacy of governance was proving to be fatal for the country.

Terming that the systems in place in the country were chronically insufficient, inefficient and favouring the powerful, Dr Masood saw administration and provision of justice as the key area to focus upon in order to improve governance, and consequently the economy.

Dr Hijazi highlighted various economic issues where the quality of governance was at the heart of the problem. He presented the cases of energy production, water depletion, and agriculture as examples where the lack of a clear vision and research work were depriving the country from adopting the available viable solutions.

Dr Saboor said that the book delivers important policy messages in between the lines, alongside detailing many areas that need urgent attention for the country's economic uplift.

The speakers lamented that while the economic issues highlighted in the book were very much true in case of Pakistan, their solutions were very much available in the teachings of economic and social justice provided by Islam. It was unfortunate however that people in the policy circles lack the desire to benefit from a faith-based framework.

The panelists commended the author for his wonderful work, maintaining that there were very few books covering the economic picture of Pakistan in such perceptive detail.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2019.


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