National Dialogue Forum

Opinion Articles & Analysis

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In This Section

  • Afghan Refugee Crisis
  • CPEC and Environment
  • National Dialogue Forum
  • Behind the word mountains

Pakistan's export growth is meagre when compared to peer-economies in the region. The main reason for this is the country's political economy, which incentivizes real estate development over agriculture and other productive sectors. To increase exports, Pakistan needs to restructure its domestic political economy and reallocate resources from non-productive to productive sectors. This can be done by progressive taxation on unproductive sectors, agrarian reforms, and urban land reforms.

Crimes against logic

The mainstream economic prescriptions for Pakistan, such as market liberalization and export-oriented industrialization, are not sustainable or equitable. The author proposes an alternative programme of structural change, which would involve delinking from global markets and reorienting investment and industrialization towards national needs. This would require a shift in the coalition of class forces in power and a fundamentally different role for the state.

Crippled agro-economy

Pakistan is facing a food security crisis due to a decline in the agriculture sector. The government is importing wheat and sugar at high prices, and the sector is losing employment absorption capacity. The main reasons for this are high input costs, lack of research and innovation, and the influence of middlemen. The government should shift resources to farmers and establish rural transformation centres to address these challenges.

The name CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) is well-known to many people across the world. It is recognized as China’s Belt and Road Initiative’s flagship project in Pakistan. Experts are divided on the economic advantages and environmental repercussions of this project, leaving aside the political and strategic aspect for the sake of this article. However, an examination of cross-economic gains and environmental costs is required.

Urbanisation in Pakistan is not a by-product of industrialization, but rather a result of agrarian distress, conflict, and natural disasters. The buying and selling of land is a more reliable and effective strategy to accumulate capital than productive investments in manufacturing. This has led to urban sprawl, which has dispossessed locals from their livelihoods and imposed huge social and ecological costs. The contemporary model of urbanisation in Pakistan is predicated on dispossession, exclusion, and environmental degradation.

Source of life

Mangroves are a natural way to filter saline water and produce fresh water. They are also important for the conservation of sea life and the filtration of the ground water system. However, mangrove forests are being degraded due to human activities such as deforestation and urbanisation. This is a serious problem because it will lead to water scarcity in the coastal areas of Pakistan. The government should take steps to conserve mangrove forests and promote awareness about their importance.

When the taps run out

The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) released a warning in May regarding the national water crisis. This has raised consternation among concerned citizens. At this stage, Pakistan is ranked third among countries that are facing water scarcity. According to the PCRWR, the country may run out of water by 2025 if proper mitigation measures aren’t taken immediately by the authorities.

Aasim Sajjad Akhtar’s The Politics of Common Sense: State, Society and Culture in Pakistan is a much needed addition to the political economic literature on Pakistan. In line with most heterodox literature on Pakistan, the point of departure for The Politics of Common Sense is the late social scientist, academic and political activist Hamza Alavi’s work. But it marks a major break from Alavi’s statist approach by offering a dynamic and dialectical understanding of the post-colonial social formation of Pakistan.

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