Not poor, but poorly managed

  • Pakistan has many resources, but is still poor


By Sheikh Shakil ur Rehman


Pakistan, the dream homeland of the Muslims of subcontinent, is facing stiff economic challenges. The country’s economy has so far been unable to make a take-off and the rising inequality between the haves and have-nots is giving an impression that the country is poor. The double-digit inflation, particularly in food items, and the growing unemployment has pushed more and more people into poverty.

However, Pakistan is not a poor country, but a poorly managed country. Nature has blessed Pakistan with abundant resources, but due to the mismanagement by the political and bureaucratic elite, it has failed to capitalise and materialise the level of its governance. It is high time that the government eschews maladministration and focus on good governance to change country’s fortune. It is a great country with tremendous resources regarding minerals, water resources, land, good industries, strong manpower, flourishing weather and all those blessings which any developed country can have, but false policies and poorly managed plans let it down to the category of a Third World country.

Coal, which is also called black gold, is found into huge quantities in Thar, Chamalang, Quetta and other sites. There is enough coal in Pakistan Thar area (though a part of coal is not of good quality). 175 billion tons of coal reserves have been estimated, which is equivalent to 618 billion barrels of crude oil. This is more than twice if we compare it with oil reserves of UAE, Qatar and Kuwait, and equal to the total oil reserves of the top four countries, Canada, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait. It can be used for power generation for the next 100 years without relying on other resources, such as hydel or thermal.

There are so many examples that prove the mismanagement of the country. Like it is an agricultural country and is exporting wheat in larger quantity, which results in shortage of wheat in Pakistan and high prices of wheat

If like KSA, we utilise the equivalent of about 10 million barrels per day, it would suffice for more than 200 years. Pakistan has enough coastal area where we can plant wind mills from where we get energy which is enough to overcome our energy crises, and we can even export to Afghanistan.


Other than that we have the largest gold and copper ore deposits in Balochistan at Reko Diq dying to be exploited. Deposits of copper and gold valued at $1.2 trillion.

As far as the agricultural sector is concerned, we have four seasons for agriculture. About 75 per cent of Pakistan’s population depends upon agriculture sector. About 25 per cent of Pakistan’s total land area is under cultivation and is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world (Pakistan irrigates three times more acres than Russia). Unfortunately we don’t have enough wheat to feed 204 million people.

Pakistan is Asia’s largest camel market, second largest apricot and ghee market and third-largest cotton, onion and milk market. It has ranked 20th worldwide in farm output. In 2005, Pakistan produced 21,591,400 metric tons of wheat, more than all of Africa (20,304,585 metric tons) and nearly as much as all of South America (24,557,784 metric tons) according to FAO.

Pakistan’s Military active troops, ranked seventh out of 166 countries. On the basis of size of armed forces, it is ranked 7th in the world. On the basis of number of total troops, it is the 12th largest country.

What do Islam Say about Mismanagement? The Noble Qur’an 11:85 “And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption. The Noble Qur’an 11:113. And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor you would then be helped.

Now starting from the education sector which is the most important sector of any country. As far as Europe and other developed nations are concerned, they all invest in human capital. The main problem is that we designed different policies but we cant implement it.

Here is an example of plans that were designed from 1965 to 1993 and unfortunately none of them is accomplished.

Plans Declarations Total Female Total Female
1st plan (1995-60) The country may reasonably hope to achieve a universal system of free and compulsory primary education by about 1975 20,975 11,003 5,704 3,168
2nd plan (1960-65) Girls will be provided by much greater facilities for education and this will be done by admitting more girls to the existing schools 23,731 12,448 5,990 3,490
3rd plan (1965-70) The objective of third plan is to greatly increase enrolment at primary level in order that universal primary education may be achieved 26,721 14,221 6,725 3,915
Non-plan period (1970-78) The aim is to create a literate population and an educated electorate by mobilising the and its resources 32,811 17,875 8,566 4,772
5th plan (1978-83) The plan will provide 100% coverage to 5-year-old boys in class 1, so as to lay the foundation of universal enrolment by 1987 37,269 20,639 9,642 5,451
6th plan (1983-8) Serious efforts will be made to institute universal education by ensuring that all boys and girls of the relevant age group get enrolled in class 1 by 1988 42,372 23,926 10,540 6,045
7th plan (1988-93) It will provide primary education facilities to all children in the age group of five to nine years 49,000 28,000 9,377 5,828

There are so many examples that prove the mismanagement of the country. Like it is an agricultural country and is exporting wheat in larger quantity, which results in shortage of wheat in Pakistan and high prices of wheat. Only four to five per cent of the USA’s population depends upon agricultural sector and they keep such a balance that after providing wheat to their country, they still export the rest. This is a genuine reason that we cannot manage our budget. We export major share and as a result we face shortages which ultimately leads to inflation.

On the basis of literacy rate, Pakistan is 159th out of 177 countries. This is an alarming situation. We must invest in human capital. The education sector has a meagre share in the GDP of around two per cent, which is very low.

So, the country itself is not poor. It’s all about the management that we are still facing off these challenges.