A new programme for capacity building of bureaucrats, a new government narrative and a new standard operating system are the need of the hour to put the country on the road of development. However, in a country like Pakistan where political system is unstable, corruption has been institutionalized and bureaucracy blindly follows red tap as an official policy, there is little hope that the country will make progress in the near future. Now the former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Husain has expressed the same opinion which needs to be listened to carefully. Husain holds lack of institutional reforms responsible for Pakistan’s low economic growth since 1990 rather than external factors like security issues and terrorism. Pakistan has been achieving a constant rate of development since independence and it managed to grow over 6 percent on an average until 1990. Despite enduring two wars, dictatorships and US sanctions, the rate of development in the country remained higher than China and India. The country also faced many other challenges and suffered due to war in Afghanistan, lack of planning and shortage of funds, but despite losing East Pakistan in 1971, the growth rate of the country was significantly higher than many leading countries in the region.
According to Husain, Pakistan’s economic growth remained within the top 10 countries of the world for decades and leading economists from around the world came to study our economic model. Currently there is a need to introduce institutional reforms to achieve a breakthrough in the economic affairs and break the monotony. Pakistan is hardly attaining a growth rate of 5.3 percent to its gross domestic product, but it is the clear that the potentials of the economy have not been fully utilized. Pakistan should have a minimum growth rate of 8 percent for a sustained period of time to meet the challenges.
As a matter of fact, the country needs structural reforms in every sector of the economy. There is a need to bring revolutionary changes in the institutions to improve their functionality and launch capacity building programmes for the policymakers. However, the political leadership will have to adopt a new narrative to inculcate in the people that it means business. Unfortunately, all the government departments are strictly following the rules and regulations of the colonialists which need to be changes. As an independent nation, the people should be regarded as our own and the government should rid itself of the image that it is the representative of the colonial masters.