In a recent article,
“Turning Challenges into Opportunities”
we argued that Pakistanis are a brave, resilient, and highly intelligent people who, under a strong, determined, and patriotic leadership, can surmount any crisis. Furthermore, there are many reasons that Pakistan could become a global superpower within few decades.
Of course, in the sublime sense, the only superpower is the Almighty Allah. However, in more mundane terms, a superpower can be defined as having the ability to influence events and project power on a worldwide scale. Unfortunately, the traditional definition of a superpower represents a raw and crude psyche that only exacerbates violence, environmental decay, inequality, tyranny, and instability.
We must then redefine “superpower” to emphasize morality, international cooperation, world peace, clean and healthy environment, eradication of poverty, and promotion of equality among nations. Pakistan can take up the challenge under a two-pronged doctrine, namely possessing an effective and successful deterrence against aggression and the will and the means to enhance international cooperation, peace, and prosperity.
The defeatists, uttering doomsday scenarios, will question our proposition. These elements have always infused distress, despondency, and despair among the masses. Pakistan has survived many odds since its birth. To the dismay of its detractors, Pakistan has achieved a reasonable degree of self-sufficiency in food and other essential commodities. The poverty level has declined to 25%, while wealth distribution has been relatively much better compared to many developed and developing countries.
In the vital fields of agriculture, science and technology, industry, medicine and engineering, nuclear technology, art and architecture, as well as in sports, cultural, and the literary world, it has won a respectable place in the community of nations. The Pakistani people have courageously defied what the proponents of gloom and doom had wished. At the time of its inception in 1947, the country lacked the basic infrastructure for development, but it had the romance of youth, the diversity of its people, and a kind of mysticism for survival. The birth of Pakistan in less than ten years since the idea of nationhood was conceived in the 1940 Resolution is truly a gift of Allah to the Ummah. And its survival is a miracle.
Many serious analysts believe that with proper management and governance, Pakistan can become the sixth biggest economy within the next fifteen years and one of the most developed economies by 2050 AD. (Adjusting for unreported economic activities and comparative prices, the current GDP estimates can actually be four times higher putting Pakistan in the middle-income category.) Moreover, with an estimated population of 350 million by 2050, it will be fourth largest country in the world. Similarly, the literacy rate, 52% at present, is expected to reach 90% in next twenty years.
However, Pakistan’s biggest asset is its 100 million people below the age of 25, a highly productive age, which can play a vital role in the economic development of the country. These young people have entered the phase of their economic life cycle, whereas in many other countries most of the population is aging. Moreover, some ten million overseas Pakistanis, with estimated assets of $500 billion, constitute a huge reserve and strength as well as a source of considerable remittances and investment.
On the geo-physical scene, Pakistan has adequate natural resources. For example, of a total land area of nearly 882,000 sq.km. (ranking fifth among the developed countries while it is larger than France, Germany, Britain, Japan, and Italy), it has over 30 million hectares of land under agriculture. It has rich soils, favorable agro-climatic conditions, one of the most extensive irrigation systems in the world, and a hard-working farming community. Pakistan also has a...