Pakistan gained independence in 1947. The regions that formed Pakistan included Bangladesh, which had been the richest state in Mughal India. Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula, 23, put up a valiant resistance to the East India Company, but lost due to his inexperience and the betrayal of his infamous traitor minister Mir Jafar. After the fall of Bengal in 1756, Robert Clive, accompanied by only five Englishmen, entered Bengal and became its imperial governor.
British policies impoverished Bengal to such an extent that the famine of 1943 saw people literally fall and starve as they made their way to the elite English colonial club of Bengal. This is something that deeply disturbed Major General A OMitha, then a young officer in the Indian Army, who later raised the illustrious SSG of the Pakistani Army. Culturally and financially rich, Bengal has become synonymous with poverty and hunger thanks to British machinations. Dr Muhammad Yunus then pioneered microfinance in the 1970s with his famous Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.
As for the other constituents of present-day Pakistan, the Punjab was identified as a martial race by the British and recruited into the army. It also supplied all of undivided India with food due to its agriculture.
The Punjab was divided during Partition, and we got a quarter of the State of Punjab – which before Partition included the present-day Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and India. Himachal Pradesh. Bahawalpur, in what is now southern Punjab, was a separate princely state.
Having a strong military tradition has made Punjab Province the saving grace of Pakistan, which has secured our sovereignty to this day. However, despite being the main agricultural supplier to all of undivided India, the current Pakistani Punjab has fallen behind in agricultural production. We suffer from food insecurity, mainly due to the political decision taken by General Ayub Khan in the 1960s to mechanize production and introduce the use of chemicals and pesticides. Not only has this destroyed soil fertility but also created usurious loan mafias that control agricultural inputs. It has put farmers in debt and impoverished, destroying our agricultural base.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provided limited agricultural products, but the tradition of tribal allegiance outweighing loyalty to the state and a history of opium production have had serious consequences for Pakistan since the 1980s. Balochistan’s mineral and gas riches as well as its prized port have not served their true potential in the recent past due to widespread militancy. Sindh had a limited agricultural base, but serfdom hampered progress. The massive migration of multi-ethnic immigrants from North India during the partition of India enriched Sindh intellectually and culturally. The foundations of the Pakistani civil service, foreign service as well as fundamental institutions like the State Bank of Pakistan have been laid here. The industry was created and Karachi served as the national capital until the 1960s.
The crisis that plagues every leader is how to generate money to run a country.
However, ZA Bhutto’s divide-and-rule policy fanned the flames of ethnic hatred and resulting violence from the 1980s. Damaging Karachi meant damaging Pakistan because it is Karachi’s economic base. Karachi can play a big role in saving Pakistan because, like New York City, it welcomes talents from all over Pakistan. It offers opportunities based on merit. Karachi’s technical talent is underutilized. Technical talent is also abundant in Punjab province and to some extent also in KPK.
We must follow the example of India, where the computer industry generates billions in export revenues. The future of the world lies in IT, and Pakistan has the potential to ride this wave if our leadership intensifies.
Mark Zuckerberg alone earns $ 40 billion a year from Meta, which is just a little more than India’s total export earnings of $ 35 billion. Pakistan certainly aims to match Indian exports.
No nation can prosper where food insecurity reigns despite a strong agricultural base.
Similar to the negative impact on Pakistan, the Green Revolution of the 1960s also affected India. Water scarcity and soil erosion have forced many farmers to withdraw from farming. They were eternally buried in a vicious cycle of debt.
Zero Budget Natural Agriculture (ZBNF) is a set of farming methods, as well as a grassroots peasant movement. The movement originated in Karnataka State, as a collaboration between Mr. Subhash Palekar, who merged the practices of ZBNF and the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha State Farmers Association (KRRS). The KRRS, being a member of La Via Campesina (LVC), the international peasant movement, was able to intelligently execute this revolutionary change.
Since then, the ZBNF has spread to various states in southern India.
Andhra Pradesh is now on the way to becoming India’s first 100% organic state. It is important to note that the area of Andhra Pradesh is about 80% of that of the Pakistani Punjab. Their experience can easily be replicated in Pakistan. This is especially true as the Punjab has the highest education rate and teledensity in Pakistan. Its population is technophile and industrious. It has enormous potential which only needs good policy at the highest level.
In the absence of any vision of an effective economic policy, the crisis that plagues every leader is how to generate the money to run a country.
The reign of General Musharraf saw a socio-economic revival. Even in the darkest days, when he took over an empty treasury in 1999, he only took out a billion dollars loan from the IMF.
However, as soon as General Musharraf was forced to resign in 2008, Yusuf Raza Gillani took over and wasted no time in handing out the begging bowl in front of those he called “Friends of Pakistan”. . They include the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, the United Nations, and China.
Yusuf Raza Gillani betrayed the nation in a major way in 2008 when he signed an unprecedented $ 7.6 billion loan from the IMF. According to the calculation by Transparency International (TI), Pakistan has lost an astounding US $ 94 billion in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance in the last four years of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s tenure. A TI adviser said during this period that Pakistan did not need external funding if it could control corruption and ensure good governance.
It is important to note that it was Benazir Bhutto who joined the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP). Imran Khan, the current prime minister, has appointed an IMF man as finance minister.
Compliance with IMF conditionalities has caused double-digit inflation in 2020 and 2021. We are living in really difficult times with food insecurity affecting more than a third of the population.
Religious activism and aspirations for global jihad must be curbed by the state instead of stoking such emotions through state patronage of dramas such as Ertugul and the planned collaboration with Turkey of a drama on the Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi.
Promoting peace, leading an organic farming revolution and energizing the IT industry is the three-pronged strategy needed to transform Pakistan.
The writer is an independent researcher, author and columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]