Infrastructural development and Pakistan
Shanzey Minhal Mustafa
ON the 14th of august 1947, Pakistan was born and so did the problems. Consequently, someone had to come up with a uniting solution. The newborn country had little to no infrastructure or offices to better administer the state. In this scenario, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah took the initiative and directed the whole nation towards improving the infrastructure and administration of the country in a uniting manner. As a result, following 4 decades from the year 1947, Pakistan’s economy grew at an impressive rate of 6% per year. According to an eminent Pakistani economist, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 48% to 18% by late 1980’s.
Cities are the engine of growth. It is believed that infrastructure is the very fuel needed for that engine. When investments are made in infrastructure developments, the focus is mainly on wider economic benefits. Once when the goal of connectivity is achieved through these developments, new jobs, increased revenue and enhanced GDP are also easy to achieve. Hence, it is a recognized fact that when a country starts focusing on properly managing and improving its infrastructure, it is groomed. Japan is an open example for the world to follow for that matter. It emerged from the rubbles of attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki into a strong economy because it placed its focus on attaining the goal of development and infrastructural embodiment.
Today, once again, Pakistan is in dire need of fully equipped and up-to-date infrastructure and development projects. Once again the country has inflation, poverty, illiteracy, poor transportation and almost all the problems that existed back in 1947. However, the current PML (N) government seems focused on the theme of development with the aim of diverting savings from these development projects to other important sectors of the society. These include the provision of free education, health services and rights of the people.
Recently, the government successfully saved a remarkable amount of Rs 215 Billion from the development projects. For instance, in the Baloki Power Project, the Punjab government was able to save Rs 39 Billion. A sum of Rs 37 billion was also saved in the Bhikki Power Plant Project. Another sum of Rs 34 Billion was saved in the Haveli Bahadur Shah Project as well. Another huge amount of Rs 78 Billion was saved in the Orange Line Metro Train Project-a milestone in itself! The most recent and the most debate prone mega project of the Punjab government these days is the construction of Pakistan’s first ever metro train project: the Orange Line Metro Train. With a large majority of the population in favour of the project on the one hand and only a small percentage of people (a group of people) against the project on the other, the project would prove to be a milestone in the development sphere of the country.
On a societal level, over the last decade and a half, Lahore has experienced a rapid growth in both vehicle ownership and population. By facilitating more than 250,000 commuters from day one of its projection, the Orange Line Metro Train would be able to cater to the travel demands of a large population of the city, especially referring to the underprivileged. China, one dear friend of Pakistan has the highest population (1.375 billion people, 2013) in the world and also has the highest number of metro train systems: sums up how very interconnected population is with the need of mass rapid transit systems and development of a country. With the Orange Line Metro Train welcomed by Lahore, it would benefit the whole country and not just one city in particular. Economically speaking, on a global level too, the project has been able to gain a lot of international attention. There was a time when due to an ongoing threat of terrorism and lack of overall interest of international investors, little to no foreign investors participated in any economic activity. Today, owing to proper forward thinking and long term planning, the government has been able to not only attract foreign investors but also kick-start an almost chain reaction of economic activity in the country.
For now, Pakistan is in that phase of development where car use is only increasing at an immense rate. The need of the hour in this stage is to move both people and vehicles alike because proper infrastructure is the key to restoration. This is also one of the factors of an economic paradigm shift in public transport. There has been a huge shift towards the increasing trend of using public transport over personal transport in Pakistan because affordability has declined.
Once again, history seems to be repeating itself. With the same zeal, courage, determination and the sense of winning, Pakistan is taking all the right steps when it comes to the development of the country. Much appreciable is the fact that today’s Pakistan knows where to start from-infrastructural development. If the efforts only improve with each passing moment, Pakistan is bold to welcome an era of opportunities because of the domino effect of the projects of the current government. The government has left no stone unturned and is making progress in every sector, be it health, education, or social sector. This true face of development would cross paths with benefits to every sector. In view of these aspects one can say that the nation is moving towards making Pakistan great again with all the integrity it holds.