Pakistan faces two existential threats to its evolution as an economically viable and sovereign modern welfare state as envisioned by Quaid e Azam. These are; unchecked brain drain and flight of capital from this country. The state has outsourced its primary responsibility of education and health to the private sector, while it has failed to enforce vital regulatory controls and financial discipline because of greed, vested interests, and myopic vision. 

In a country besieged with water and energy crisis, our federal government considered it appropriate to appoint a retired infantry general as Chairman WAPDA, ignoring reputable qualified engineers in the country. Ever wondered why Nergis Mavalval, who was on the team which made gravitational wave discovery, or Dr Abdus Salam, the Nobel Laureate scientist, or Dr Humayun Illahi, who invented the bionic eye, were forced to migrate. 

Dr Humayun Illahi is the grandson of Late Dr Illahi Baksh, personal physician to Quaid e Azam, whom he served till he breathed his last. He was appointed by Jinnah in 1947 as the principal of King Edward Medical College. In 1958 when Ayub Khan imposed military rule, Dr Illahi was harassed by the intervention of General Burki in regards to the affairs of KEMC and Mayo Hospital and was forced to resign and proceed on leave at the age of 54. Dr Illahi Baksh, a dejected man, died at the age of 56 in 1960. Talented and qualified individuals are an asset to a nation, for they can change a nation’s destiny. President Obama awarded the highest technical award to him for giving a future competitive edge to US. 

Ever wonder why talented sons of this soil were denied due recognition and not given financial assistance by the state to help in making distinctive achievements for the country? Today, our defence strategy is solely based upon our nuclear capability which was started during the tenure of Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto by a group of talented scientists and engineers. Instead of recognising his achievements and initiatives, Bhutto was judiciously murdered. There is no bigger asset for a country than its human resources. With the state has devolved itself of the imparting of education, a most important function, what chances do we have of nurturing another genius like Dr Salam who was educated in government schools? 

MALIK TARIQ ALI, 

Lahore, September 19.