Self-reliance: the only panacea | By Waqar Hassan


Self-reliance: the only panacea

THE world has a brief but mind-boggling past. Historians have vividly sketched the ascent and downfall of nations in the pages of history. Throughout history, the ability of nations to survive on their own decided their fate. National growth and collapse are the product of the ability of a state to develop the attribute of self-dependence. Self-reliance builds the fortune of nations. Wisdom speaks that self-reliance paves the path toward self-discovery and unleashes buried treasure.

Self-reliance functions for individuals and nations as well. Nations prosper when there is a meager dependency on foreign states. Self-reliance is the mother of sovereignty in all domains. A nation that is self-sustaining never intends to seek assistance from lenders. Self-reliance means going all out to use the resources to bear the burden of the country’s needs. Japan is a country that relies on its human capital to assemble commodities it trades with the entire world. From 1868 to about 1885, Japan remained dependent on imported technology in its industrial sector.

However, Japan invested in its human resource to build the competence to produce locally. Japanese professors had gained scientific education from overseas professionals. Later, they trained their people. The outcome of these efforts for securing self-reliance was that The Earthquake Prevention Research Council, set up in 1892, recruited all Japanese-trained staff. In the 1950s and 1960s, self-reliance proved a column of the Japanese industry, curtailing its dependency on imports and improving self-sufficiency in manufactured goods. The self-reliance that Japan gained was based on the following foundations: cutting down imports of manufactured goods; supporting domestic industries with friendly policies; and making technology transfer from the developed countries a reality.

Resultantly, Japan picked up the momentum to compete with America in many realms of technology. Japan soon started selling products at competitive prices in other countries. Today, Japan is a self-sufficient economy. Unfortunately, foreign dependency has trapped Pakistan in an economic quagmire. If we dig out the reasons behind this fall from grace, it will become clear that the country relies on the economic and technological support it gets, repeatedly, from other countries. No country can imagine securing economic gains without taking a lead in exports. Our failure to boost our local industry has made us reliant on offshore lenders. Pakistan can avail herself of the resources through self-reliance.

Self-reliance calls for developing the human capacity to produce the needed outcomes. Every human acts like a unit to reinforce the economic and technological infrastructures. Investing in education is the sole panacea for attaining the strength to lessen reliance on foreign countries. When a country cannot maximize the competence of its people, bolster the economy, and bring technological modernization, the scourge of dependence of the country on foreign lenders grabs control of the affairs of a state. Prioritizing advancement in science, in the contemporary era, sets the pace for any state to outshine the world. Admittedly, technology is the tool that makes a nation adept at retaining its economic and technological influence.

The geography of Pakistan connects it with CARs and the rest of the world. Gwadar carries the potential to bring fortune to the country. It requires proper planning and genuine grit to enforce the plan to get the required advantages from the geographical location of Pakistan. Our energy sector needs sincere treatment. Pakistan has the potential to generate electricity through dams, wind turbines, and solar panels. It can allow the country to become independent of oil import, which throws a huge import bill on our tables. The mineral wealth of our country speaks volumes about the fact that Pakistan can develop itself into a self-reliant economy. Above all, Pakistan has the potential for the tourism industry. The country needs a stable and conducive environment to boost its tourism sector. Sadly, the bane of terrorism has taken away the capability of a state to perform in this sector.

Self-reliance is a product of the attitudes of the leaders of a country. It is the power of self-belief of a leader to take the courage to rely entirely on the national capacity to make the country independent of external support, both in terms of economy and technology. Self-reliance calls for taking steps that can crush the chains of foreign dependence. Pakistan, since its inception, has remained dependent on loans from the IMF to support its economy. The country imports machinery and technology from foreign countries. But there are many areas where Pakistan can perform to choose the pathway of independence in economic and technological realms.

There is a need to take advantage of our available workforce. Pakistan has got talented minds. Pakistan has brilliant engineers, doctors, scientists, and manufacturers. Wistfully, many of them have been hunting for greener meadows owing to the failure of the state to provide them with job opportunities. In such a scenario, the much-desired element of self-reliance will become an inaccessible dream. Nations such as Singapore have transformed their destiny. Their leaders took appropriate steps to crush the menace of foreign dependency. Until Pakistani politicians and political parties agree to pursue self-reliance, there will be no progress. It demands sacrifice and commitment. Verily, great things take time. Nevertheless, the time has unmistakably proven that Pakistan should abandon its practice of relying on its lenders.

We must recognize that we must resolve our issues on our own, and no nation in the world will take an interest in improving the lives of the people of Pakistan. The adversaries of Pakistan desire the nation to depend on other countries in economic and technological sectors. It is the time to uplift our people. It is the right of the people of Pakistan to experience a life of peace and prosperity. Self-reliance is the source of our internal strength. This nation can only gain progress and accomplishment by embracing the treasure of self-reliance. If the nation does not rely on its own resources, it will remain shipwrecked in the stormy waters of economic and technological reliance.