LAHORE - Speakers at a seminar at the Government College University Lahore have laid a stress on the government to focus on rural poverty and public services, saying that inclusive policy is a must for the economic growth and national security.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah chaired the one-day seminar organised by the university’s Economics Department to debate on Pakistan’s economic policies in the light Shahid Ahmad’s latest book “RENTIER CAPITALISM”

In his opening remarks, Shahid Ahmed, a banker and former editor of United Nation’s Asia Pacific Development Journal, said that the success of East and South-East Asia had not been accidental; rather it had been driven by action to reduce rural poverty.

He said that Pakistan had never confronted the problem of rural poverty since 1950s, nor invested in public services. This failure is a reflection of the power of the landed gentry and its urban allies. He said that the government must need to focus on the education and health services and develop infrastructure such as roads, ports and railways in rural areas to develop particular industries there.

Shahid Ahmed believed the now country's ruling elite sharing out the spoils amongst themselves rather than taking measures to grow the size of the economy so that all might share in the resulting prosperity.

Addressing the seminar via video link, Dr Ijaz Nabi, a world renowned economist, said Pakistan needs an economic model which ensures inclusive growth which is must for its national security. He said that inclusive growth must be the part of Pakistan’s national security policy.

He said in Malaysia, it was ethic confrontation which forced their ruling elite to adopt the policy of inclusive growth for their survival; especially the provision of equal high education opportunities to all. Dr Ijaz Nabi said that what should incentivize or motivate the ruling elite in Pakistan to have inclusive growth is national security.

Speaking on the occasion, Mirza Khalid Baig, the former chairman of Competition Commission of Pakistan, said that Pakistan taxation system had become highly complicated. He says “it’s not going to work and would promote nothing but tax evasion.”

He said Shahid Ahmed in his book had very simply explained the reasons behind Pakistan's failure to bring prosperity to its people when compared to other East Asian and South-East Asian countries.

Vice Chancellor Prof Hassan Shah, Artists Association of Pakistan Chairman Prof Mian Ijaz ul Hassan and Economics Department Chairperson Uzair Ahsan also spoke at the seminar.