The country celebrated its 75th birthday a few days ago. The year has been quite gloomy for all of us. Increasing fuel prices, excessive electricity bills, the trade imbalance and debt crises have made this celebration somewhat less appealing.
But amid all the glum there are a few things we can look at to feel a bit better. Pakistan began from zero. Much of the assets that came from India were in horrendous conditions, and India still has not paid us our share of money that was allotted to us at the time of independence. Despite that, Pakistan has gone on to become the world’s 24th largest economy. Its per capita income has increased from USD 100 in 1950 to USD 1,750 in 2022.
Pakistan has also made changes in education and literacy. It grew from 15 percent to 70 percent for males and 50 percent for females with a steady increase in higher education. When Pakistan came into existence, poverty was rampant. The government resorted to ration cards and other such policies to help people survive. Presently, Pakistan’s poverty is less than India and Bangladesh. A survey conducted by the UN in 2019, found Pakistanis were one of the happiest people in the world.
Pakistan’s major problems lie with its neighbors, who never really accepted us, terrorism and Pakistan’s ruling elite. The political parties have always put their interests before the state’s interest. This led to implementation of arbitrary policies without considering their long term effects on the country. Resultantly, the country has seen a youth bulge with dwindling job opportunities, rise in extremist ideology and high sexual frustration.
Regardless, there is much to be proud of, and we should not give up on our efforts to be better than we were before. Hopefully, by the time we are celebrating our 100th birthday, Pakistan might be one of the biggest economies of the world.
by Amna Sheikh