YES Pakistan can live without foreign aid, but it has to make some tough choices. Currently, its economy is in a bad shape because of mismanagement, corruption and war against terror. According to estimates, Pakistan economy has suffered direct and indirect losses of up to $67.93bn because of its role in the war against terror. In recent times Pakistans foreign debt has crossed $58bn mark. Our economy is heavily dependent on aid from World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan, China and the United States. Now this is time to realize that Pakistan has the potential and means for its development and growth. Pakistan is a blessed country; it has skilled manpower/young people, abundance of natural resources and an effective Diaspora abroad. But what we lack is a visionary leadership. As of today, 70% of Pakistani population is below the age of 35. It is a blessing that we are the youngest nation on planet earth. We have to utilize this asset. Our youth is optimistic as far as the future of Pakistan is concerned. They are hopeful that the night of misery and dismay will soon be over and they will be able to see a bright and shining Pakistan. This youth needs a leader who can lead them and show them a way out of this impasse. Our leaders must benefit from this young population and formulate a long-term far-sighted policy to make the most of this young force, only then can we ensure a bright future for our coming generations. Pakistan is among the few countries in the world that are blessed with immense natural resources. It possesses wide-ranging energy resources, including the natural gas, oil reserves, coal fields and large hydropower potential. Pakistan is sitting on huge coal reserves. According to different estimates, it has 175 billion tons of coal, which is equivalent to 618 billion barrels of crude oil, which is more than Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Qatars oil reserves. The estimated value of Thar coal is $25 trillion. These resources can change the destiny of Pakistan in next few years. What we need is proper utilization of these resources. Our energy problem will be solved forever. Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, who is running a pilot project on Thar coal reserves, says: Thar coal reserves value $25 trillion; we will not only generate electricity for 500 years, but also save about four billion dollars in overwhelming oil import bill every year. But due to lack of political will and other gruesome reasons these reserves are not being utilized. Pakistan also has immense reserves of oil and gas in Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of Pakistan. A few years back in Karak District huge reserves of oil and gas were discovered by the foreign companies. Pakistan has to develop expertise in the exploration of natural resources because there are huge reserves lying in the mountains of KPK and the deserts of Sindh and Balochistan that are yet to be discovered. Pakistan is also blessed with a fertile land with the worlds best irrigation system in place. It produces best quality of cotton and rice. Almost 30% Pakistan's land area is under cultivation and is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. The most important crops are cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize, sorghum, millets, pulses, oil seeds, barley, fruits and vegetables, which together account for more than 75% of the value of total crop output. Due to vast coastline of about 900 km Pakistan has enough fisheries that remain to be fully developed. Fishery and fishing industry can play a vital role in the development of Pakistans economy. This industry has the potential to catch foreign markets but what it needs is a helping hand from the government to improve their techniques and meet the foreign standards. Pakistan is also rich in other minerals like Gold and Copper. In Balochistan Reko Diq area, almost $270 billion USD of proven and $3 trillion USD estimated gold and copper reserves are lying. Foreign companies are striving hard to get the contracts of exploration and mining in this area. SUNDUS NAZIR QURESHI, Islamabad, July 30.