Economist calls for better balance between defence, uplift

Below is an article from our Affirmative Action Media Monitoring Project. These articles represent a wide variety of views. These views do not necessarily represent the views of AAPF but instead are intended to provide you with an overview of the current affirmative action debate. April 9, 2011

By Rasheed Khalid

Economist Dr. Parvez Hasan has said that confrontation with India costs Pakistan dearly adding we should maintain a better balance between defence and development and between investment and consumption.

Dr. Hasan was speaking at launching of his ‘My life my country: memoirs of a Pakistani economist’ organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies in collaboration with Ferozsons Limited here on Friday.

Dr. Hasan said that Pakistan achieved many things like strong defence, nuclear deterrent, vibrant female presence at all levels of society and a free media and role of civil society cannot be ignored. But, he lamented, we have an existential threat from extremists who are misrepresenting and distorting our religion.

He said that strong motivation to write the book was the ‘qarz’ he felt his generation owed to the creation of Pakistan. He said that as a Punjabi boy in British India, he grew up with Hindus and Sikhs who, contrary to belief, are normal people like us.

He said that creation of Pakistan was the strongest affirmative action in the 20th century. He pointed out that well-to-do class mostly do not pay taxes and public education is a mess, population control was neglected, and balance between defence and development became seriously distorted with the disastrous 1965 war with India. We messed the export development and opportunities and it had been on a downward slide for a quite long.

Earlier, ISS Director Ashraf Jahangir Qazi said that a large amount of Pakistani population is living below the poverty line and gap between the poor and the rich is increasing alarmingly.

He said that Pakistan’s population today mainly comprises of youth, which due to lack of resources and stagnant economy are disqualified from the start. The education level is highly unimpressive and most of the youth is primary educated and cannot afford further education. Shahid Javed Burki, and Sakib Sherani also spoke on the occasion.