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The Challenge

Pakistan - the nascent state with a population of 37 million in 1947, has already grown into a mass of almost 230 million people. Within a generation, the country will double its population to 360 million, overtaking Brazil and Indonesia to rank as the fourth most populated country in the world. Our burgeoning population continues to put incredible strains on our economy, government and its infrastructure, yet subsequent Pakistani governments and the country’s bureaucracy have failed to set policy priorities, carry out long term planning, deliver basic services, and implement needed reforms commensurate to the magnitude of challenges at hand. Pakistan’s administrative capacity continues to suffer from endemic and structural weakness. In most public institutions, knowledge management and use of research and evidence are non-existent, resources are routinely and consciously mismanaged, while networking and collabrative capacities have long been exhausted, producing sub-optimal policies and unimaginative solutions to a plethora of problems the country faces today.

Pakistan has fragmented and unequal distribution of recources, and widening social disparities with a 45% chance that a Pakistani is born to a poor, food insecure family that is unable to invest in education, health, or a decent shelter. Later in life, this Pakistani will have to jostle for resources in an environment that is increasingly water and energy deficient, and where agriculture yields are the lowest in the region, or will be seeking livelihood in an economy that is generating fewer jobs, and is suffering from increasing inflation, massive state debt, and alarming fiscal, trade and current account deficits.

In his/her daily struggles if this Pakistani ever gets embroiled in a legal altercation, survives the police system, and gets to the court, there is an 80 percent chance that his/her case will take two decades to reach either provincial or the federal level appeals. All this adds to the diminshing public support for the state, allowing room for non-state actors to fill the void, stoking militancy, worsening violence, with regional and global consequences.