Prof. Dr. Ehsan Rashid Memorial Lectures: Vision and Strategy for Regional Development: The Case of Balochistan Province, Pakistan


Despite seven decades of independence of Pakistan, large parts of the country remain woefully undeveloped with poor infrastructure and limited income generating opportunities. Balochistan stands out in this respect. However, development is possible. Balochistan has a manageable population, comprising just 1.5 million families. At one job per family, Balochistan needs to provide just 1.5 million jobs. This is eminently feasible and it is possible to create an almost zero-unemployment economy in Balochistan.

There are a number of theories of under-development and of growth. The theories that best fit Balochistan are ‘Big Push’ and ‘Unbalanced Growth’. The two theories postulate that the injection of a large project in any one sector creates an imbalance with respect to other sectors. However, the project performs the role of an ‘engine of growth’ and propels growth in other sectors.

Balochistan is, as yet, a primary sector economy of Pakistan; more specifically, it is essentially a pastoral economy. As such, it is prudent for the province to concentrate scarce fiscal resources in selected sectors and aim to obtain maximum impact. More importantly, it is necessary to chart a vision and set a direction. A vision sets the direction, which – sequentially – enables a strategy to be formulated, a policy to be framed, plans to be drawn and, accordingly, schemes to be prepared and implemented. Today, the development process has been turned on its head. Schemes are prepared and (half) implemented without the context of a plan, a policy, a strategy, a direction, or a vision. The result is expenditure of billions of rupees in the name of development, without any meaningful development.

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