Monday, June 7, 2010

Pakistan's Development and Energy Challenges :Two new books by Akhtar Ali.

(Post by Meherzaidi)

Pakistan today, a nation of 180 million, stands at the beginning of the 21st century facing a myriad of challenges, some big ,some small, non of them undauntable. The Pakistani identity is a passionate hot mixture of sheer nationalism, Muslim identity, hospitable friendliness, almost naive innocent enquiry, ability to face innumerable challenges and rise majestically from the ashes and glow and shine. This vast and variable mixture of races, religions, intellegent thought, deep saintly wisdom, music and cultures strives to be known in the world as Pakistan, an identity of millions who exist as one , with undauntable spirit and passion. It is authors like Akhtar Ali who spend money, time and gather their sheer energy and intellegence with unquestionable love and sincerity to serve this beautiful land. It took him more than two years and almost all his days and nights, to research and bring out the wisdom of enquiry and finding doable , solutions to the challenges facing Pakistan.

Pakistan's Energy Development, the road ahead describes the Energy industry, background, present facts, including developmental and political, in Pakistan. It discusses in detail the development, growth potential and international picture comparisons to derive at a logical solution. The "key recommendations" in the beginning of the book give the reader an ample direction which he has to take , be it , policy recommendation, growth and development in the sector, private enterprise , investment, foreign and local and on the whole a viable blueprint for growth and development of the economy. Almost all areas such as Electricity, Oil,Wind, Natural Gas, CNG and LNG, Coal including the entire feasabilty of Thar Coal, Hydro, Thermal and Geo, Cogeneration, Nuclear, Energy Coservation and Efficiency, Solar are vastly covered. The issues of Power pricing, taxation, tarriffs and future planning are discussed in detail. All best practices in the world are taken as example and a synthesis for action given.

In Pakistan's Development Challenges, Federalism, Security and Governance , the author has taken contemporary pressing issues that Pakistan faces today that is governance, federalism, security and gives the solutions to be developed for the progress and growth of the nation and economy. As the Book describes :
In this highly intense and provocative book, the author examines the scope, need and challenges of the socio-economic development of Pakistan in the context of myriads of problems and constraints. He focuses on federalism, governance and security as three pivotal issues which in large measure shape the political and economic milieu and momentum of the country. The author lays out a framework for strengthening the federation and federalism, decentralization and devolution of power including provincial autonomy and effective local government. He debunks many myths and explodes the conspiracy theories, which in his view, has misguided public opinion and has kept the successive governments from taking the right decisions based on ground realities. He rejects the notion that fast economic growth can only be achieved by military regimes which in his view has given rise to boom-bust economic results and argues for a liberal and libertarian plurality and diversity along with stable and democratic governments and organized political parties. He argues for reforms in governance and economic policies, to foster faster growth in social sectors, improvements in quality and quantity of education and health infrastructure, achievement of Millennium Development Goals and reduction in military expenditure.

He argues that most mineral rich countries of the world except the developed countries are the so- called failed states, having national incomes lower than Pakistan. Misplaced notions of mineral wealth, according to him, create separatist tendencies and tribal feuds. He argues for a fair deal to similar provinces especially good share in natural resource income, transparency and autonomy while counseling the separatists and nationalists that their best interest and future lies within Pakistan and that they are better off even now as compared to many mineral countries of Asia and Latin America. He draws the attention of the elite in particular and of people in general to the deteriorating ratings and rankings of Pakistan on various well-accepted scales and indices. Sadly on most good things Pakistan is at the bottom of the list, and in most bad things Pakistan is at the top. A host of data from World Bank, Freedom House, Transparency International, World Economic Forum, Fund for new governance etc has been reproduced in readable form showing Pakistan’s status vis-à-vis other Asian and Muslim countries, although he has conceptual problems with the characterizations such as the notion of failed state. He also has interesting and useful suggestions in the area of broadening the industrial base, bridging the trade gap and boosting the productivity and competitiveness. The book also has chapters on energy, food and water, the areas in which Pakistan is either facing crises or may face one in near future. In many ways, this is not a typical book usually written by academicians. It has a high content of advocacy bordering on uneasiness and discontentment and a natural bias towards and in favor of Pakistan’s national interests, development and the prosperity of its people. Those looking for academic dispassion, remoteness and neutrality may be disappointed. However, those in search of solutions, breakthroughs, new ideas, change in status quo and passionate discourse would be pleased to read this book.
In his own words "My four decades of involvement in Pakistan's development as a consultant to private and public sector and as executive and manager at top levels, gives me a rather unique insight and vantage over issues, which would benefit my readers and policy makers and managers of economy, politicians, academia and people of media". To this I would add international policy makers, diplomats, students of social sciences, international relations, politics and economics and even culture. This book opens up a mind towards thinking Pakistan's development including that of its economy and growth in terms of the myriad socio-political challenges it faces today and arriving at a proactive, consensual approach to solutions.
These books are published by The Royal Book Company, BG-5, Rex Centre, Fatima Jinnah Road, Karachi-75530. Ph: 92-35653418, 92-35684244. email: Available at with shipment.'s%20energy%20development&x=0&y=0&catalog=yhst-60028183600056

1 comment:

  1. This book is available at Liberty Book Stall, Karachi and Mr Books Islamabad.