The IMF seems satisfied with Pakistan, and a visiting delegation stated that it is meeting the required targets, and has projected a growth rate of 2.7 percent for the financial year of 2013-2014. Before we leap out of our seats in celebration, let us consider a few facts. The previous PPP-led government; whom it has been a national sport to love to hate, had a growth rate of 3.59 percent in its last year in power. Not only that, their average growth rate for the last five years was 2.9 percent. So in just six months, the new government has shown us that things can indeed get worse, and rock bottom now has a new meaning altogether. In a country with 50 percent of its population under the age of 30, there is a glaring lack of employment opportunities, and it seem the situation is unlikely to improve. If we add those under 20 to this figure as well, with 70 percent of the population falling under this bracket, one is at a loss as to how to describe the appalling lack of opportunities for them in the years ahead. The future is dark for our young generation, and the government is no closer to changing this. It is no mystery therefore, as to why frustrated individuals are so prone to being manipulated by terrorists to take up arms against the state. We need a growth rate of at least 7 or 8 percent for things to start changing. Bangladesh has a growth rate of 6 percent, a figure which seems dreamlike for the Pakistan of today.
The government, from the word go has been fairly sensible in pointing out the problems we face, starting from the energy crisis to laying the blame where it’s due; especially in it highlighting the bailout of public firms as taking away a big chunk of public spending. But so far, nothing tangible has been done to fix these issues, and patience is wearing thin from onlookers waiting for something, anything to happen. With a population exceeding 180 million, 2.75 percent is not even close to being enough to sustain an acceptable quality of life for the public. It is time we start seeing the progress that was promised, instead of waiting for the last year of this government’s tenure to see hasty improvements which will not suffice. Pakistan needs to move forward, instead of making excuses for being in the same sticky situation it has always been in. The PML-N is filled with astute businessmen, who have displayed their financial acumen time and again. Perhaps the same skill with which they fill their own coffers could be applied to improving the health of the national kitty as well.