Prime Minister Imran Khan in visit of Malaysia hinted at replicating Malaysian model of economic growth. He eulogized the leadership of Malaysian leader Mahatir Mohammad who totally transformed the country, the per capita income and gross domestic product.
Malaysia was far behind Pakistan in terms of economic growth in the decade of 1960s and Pakistan has more natural resources than the former. It was the policy of nationalisation of private enterprises and banks by Z.A Bhutto government which halted the progress of the economy. The successive governments deliberately did not invest in human resource development and knowledge economy. Shady deals of power generation were made which vitiated the economic environment and the country slipped to 147th position on the World Bank Index of Doing Business. PPP and PML-N greatly weakened state institutions and institutionalized financial corruption. It is not easy to clean the Aegean Stables overnight.
It is the technology and entrepreneurship that transforms the economy and brings prosperity. These factors were consistently neglected. Malaysia imported and indigenized the Japanese technology but for its absorption it gave priority to advancing its own scientific and technological base. At the same it facilitated its entrepreneurial class to introduce innovations to acquire a competitive edge in the export markets.
There is a dire need for establishing an institutional framework to give impetus to economic growth. Economic progress will not occur automatically unless climate is favourable to it. The people of a country must desire for progress and their social economic and political institutions must be favourable to it.
The political structure dominated by the feudal and mercantile classes is least interested in promoting knowledge economy which has proved to be the main driver of growth and prosperity in the 21st century. China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore invested heavily in knowledge economy. Most of these countries invested heavily in their higher education institutions and research establishments, sent hordes of students abroad fro advanced studies particularly in science and technology, engineering and mathematics. On return they were given jobs. But in Pakistan, hundreds of PhDs took out protest rally a few months ago in front of Islamabad Press Club because of their unemployment. A candidate with outstanding academic record in Physics burnt his degrees. A young outstanding engineering graduate from NUST committed suicide when he did not get even, a low level job, on merit. This dismal situation which has been created by the corrupt political ruling elite has accelerated brain drain from the country.
The young students from South Asian Countries worked in cutting edge laboratories, collaborated with experts in their fields and published their work in international prestigious journals. In sharp contrast, Pakistani research scholars cannot publish their works in foreign journal due to lack of ‘Pay Pal’ account facility to remit the publication fee. The most talented and voracious researchers are victimized in the public sector universities and exploited in private sector institutions of higher education. The contract of an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in Islamia College University was not renewed by the Vice Chancellor merely out of professional jealousy by the inefficient and lethargic old guard faculty. He was denied appointment on TTS in Kohat University of Science and Technology and Hazara University despite his three years teaching experience and a number of research publications in the world number one top notch research journal “Nature.”This rare gem of scientific knowledge and high caliber researchers has no other option but to abandon for ever Prime Minister’s Imran Khan Naya Pakistan for which the stalwarts of PTI will also be responsible.
South Korea sent numerous missions to the United States and Europe in 1980s to attract back Korean scientists and join the academic and research organisation with hefty packages of pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits. The academic and research organist ions were equipped with stat-of-the-art technological equipments. On the contrary, in the previous PTI government in KhyberPukhtukhwa, for Chief minister Pervaiz Khattak, minster for higher education Mushtaq Ghani and Provincial Assembly Speaker grossly violated merit in faculty appointments in public sector universities.
China encouraged expat scientists, engineers and ample technical staff to return to their country. To replicate the Malaysian Model, expat Pakistanis need to be encouraged by ensuring 100 percent merit, state-of-the art academic and research organisations. But keeping in view the ways and psycho of Pakistani Political leadership, it does not have even the remote possibility in Naya Pakistan as well.