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Different Challenges to Pakistan

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Pakistan has ever remained under different challenges from its institutional weaknesses, weak governance, Weak economic planning with no food security, water security, energy security and demography with weak health and education areas. Now Corona pandemic has added in to these miseries.

On Institutional side our parliament, provincial assemblies, Judiciary, Defense, Bureaucracy and Business communities exist.

Parliament has given constitution of Pakistan in 1973 but now it looks doing nothing with any legislation. Its sleeping members are doing nothing but using abusive speeches against each other without speaking on peoples issues or going for any decision in peoples favor. This has raised the perception that Pakistan does not have any true democracy, however it may be remembered that democracy cannot work without functional Parliament, Provincial assemblies and Local Bodies system with full powers to make administrative decionons. In this system central government provincial governments and local bodies are independent in raising finance for their requirements. In USA, UK, and even in all European countries their democracies work with this structure.

Judiciary is also not functioning as desired by the state. In history we have seen Justice Muneer decision bringing Pakistan in to trouble. But thereafter we have seen Justice Kayani and Cornelius making decisions independently. Then there was a clash between Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and Head of State. This resulted in to winning by the judiciary. Onward 2010 Judiciary has started changing particularly, however lower judiciary have always remained corrupt. Now Qazi Essa case has raised questions about accountability of judiciary.

Our Defense and Judiciary both have their own accountability systems but they have failed in making accountable to generals and Judges. Still they have not raised any question about General Kayani who is stated to have bought an Island in Australia by incurring 10 billion dollar. Likewise Pervaiz Musharraf has not been tried for his Kargil adventure where we lost lives of more than 400-500 soldiers on the Minus 50 Mountains of Kargil. The question of Nawaz Sharif intervention though USA president to close Kargil adventure comes thereafter.

As regards our bureaucracy they are just dummies sitting in the offices either due to fear of NAB or of their own deeds. Business community is also not ready to help Pakistan in time of its current crisis.

So considering deaths and cases due to Corona virus, falling agricultural production, water security, energy security, and demographics issues, we see no institution to come up forward to counter them effectively. Only Speeches and speeches and claims are in the air with no practical step.

Agriculture comprises approximately 24 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs roughly half of Pakistan’s labor force, and is the largest earner of foreign exchange with 67 per cent of export earnings.

According to Harvard Law & Policy Review water shortages present the greatest future threat to Pakistan as a viable state and society. Pakistan faces declining water availability and growing water pollution. Added to this are the issues of allocation, access to water, and As a consequence, an estimated 40 to 55 million Pakistani citizens (around one-quarter of the population) do not have access to safe drinking water. It is also estimated that 630 Pakistani children die every day from waterborne diseases such as diarrhea.

It is estimated that Pakistan allocates less than 0.2 per cent of gross domestic product to water supply and sanitation. In response, Pakistan initiated a program to build more dams. The Diamer-Bhasha project, for instance, which was projected to cost US$12.6 billion in Pakistan essentially faces a crisis of huge proportions if it does not take immediate measures to alleviate its water shortages and ensure that its people have access to safe water resources. The best way to achieve this is to ensure the viability of its river and canal systems. This would also assist at least a partial recovery of degraded ecosystems.

Pakistan’s daily demand for electricity is estimated to be an average of 16,000 megawatts. The power generated, however, is only 12,000 MW. In the summer months, this shortfall can reach 7,000 MW daily, resulting in power outages that can last between eighteen and twenty hours a day. Pakistan’s generating capacity is dependent upon oil-fired, thermal-based power plants. A gas shortage forced power operators to switch to imports of furnace oil, the price of which vacillate. Pakistan’s daily gas requirement was estimated at 6.5 billion cubic feet, as opposed to its supply of 4.26 billion ft, a shortfall of 2.5 billion ft3.

One of those steps could be to increase solar capacity. At Parliament House, in Islamabad, a 1.8 MW solar plant, financed by China, was installed. It is expected that this plant will result in annual savings of up to US$1 million in the parliamentary electricity bill. If these savings are realized, it could provide the impetus to install solar plants across Pakistan. panels and other components  may be provided to the public with incentives as tax holidays or reduced taxation levels for a period of time.

In the interim, it is building a 600MW coal-fired plant in Karachi and hopes to import 1,000 MW of electricity from Iran. It is simultaneously working with China to construct two nuclear power plants in Karachi at a capital cost of US$ 9.1 billion.

Pakistan had an estimated population of around 220 million in July 2020, with an urban population of around 36 per cent. Its population growth rate is estimated at just over 1.5 per cent, or close to 24 births per 1,000 populations. It is expected to be the world’s largest Muslim-majority country by 2030 with 245 million citizens.

A major characteristic of Pakistan’s population is its youth. About 20 per cent of Pakistan’s 85 million voters are between 18 and 25 years of age and another 15 per cent between 26 and 30 years. Approximately two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30 and the median age is estimated as being between 21 and 22.2 years. The 15 to 24 year age bracket is estimated to rise by 20 per cent in the mid-2020s and the under-24s will remain the majority in 2030. The median age will remain under 33 by 2050.

To convert this demographic into an asset, however, requires a better education system. Any major improvement to Pakistan’s educational system will require an enormous effort. Pakistan’s education budget stagnates at around 2.4 per cent of its gross domestic product.

In corona epidemic where we have lost thousands of lives need of health sector has significantly been erupted but we are till incurring less than 2% of GDP. But this cannot be changed where current government has added in to Rs 1000 billion debt during last two years, hence 75% of  its beget is incurred on debt servicing, Defense and running government expenditure apart from Rs 3 trillion of provinces under NFC award.

In conclusion, Pakistan faces severe internal threats that need to be holistically and comprehensively addressed if there are to be positive outcomes. Apart from its many political crises it must contend with threats to its food security, water security, energy security and demography health and education. Pakistan faces the real danger of becoming a failed state if it does not do so very soon.

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