Of poached eggs and maple syrup
Mediterranean food in the morning is key to healthy living for all the people of littoral states. Good breakfast and health of a nation are therefore merely synonymous not a poppycock. Gastronomics is linked to the causative reason that how people thick, afterall, the garden of Aden near tigris was a mouthful of all the good foods. This reminds the scribe of few questions which echoes since long, (I never had the answers then) first, eons ago at Liberia in western Africa, an American anthropologist asked that with all the natural endowments to Pakistan, why it is not a super power. Second, Christen (un)fair once asked that during a long haul of Pakistan’s war against terrorist, miscreants, fifth columnist etc why no Pakistani soldier ever committed Suicide. Third an Indian Journalist, Rohit Gandhi inquired that how the most egalitarian people on earth (Pathans) can raise arms. Forth, How indianization of international media and think tanks are leading the world to brinkman ship.
Last question even echoed more vehemently, that How in 21st century an elected prime minister can live in a neoclassical, Palladian and Palatial Prime Minister house.
These five questions echoed unanswered, resonated time and again until very recently answer is found. All the five questions have one answer, that it is the resilience of Pakistani nation, which hails through.
The answer to these five questions is bound to lead everyone towards Pakistan, a county which came it being 72 years ago, but is to be rediscovered. We have had the boston tea party moment arrived with all of its Palpability. The time of Orwellian dystopia is over. Niccole Machiavelli, in the prince said “The wise man does at once what the fool does finally”. Nations revive when the wisdom is spread through experiencing the most difficult of times, and braving the waves of tempest and Davey Jones in a hope to reach the tranquillity of shores some day.
Pakistan as a country is amongst top ten which are bestowed with abundance of natural resources. The cardinal national resource is the land and water. Every county has a land mass, but only few has arable streak to it. With Just 39.5 percent of arable chunk, it is the 6th largest producer of wheat. It is number one as for as rice surplus is concerned. It is forth largest milk producing country in the world. It is the fifth largest date producing and 8th largest fruits producing country. It has surplus sugar, it has cotton and what not.
Food autarky, food security and food insecurity will be the only three terms which will be repeated everyday after 2030 along climate change. 21st century is the century of minerals, artificial intelligence and food.
Pakistan is amongst very few countries of the world whose even desert can be cultivated if the water is made available. China has desert, Australia has desert, Middle East is a desert but then you cannot seed the soil.
Therefore, the most important Natural resources of Pakistan is its water, which unfortunately due to the complacency and Indian Shenanigans is becoming a scarce resource.
There has to be turnaround of hydrological cycle by creating the right hydrological logics both domestically and internationally. Tourism is another area which can reap unfathomable benefits to the economy. 11 world highest peaks are in Pakistan. The northern areas are a treasure trove of scenic beauty. The Chitral valley, Swat valley, Gilgit valley, Hunza, Sakardu, Ghizer, Nagar, Astore valley, Neelum valley and Jhelum valley are all a mountain away from each other. If a Pearl String circular highway is made through all these valleys, it will become one of the world largest contagions tourism site. Billions of dollars can be earned per annum. The only thing required will be to enhance the green cover for mitigating the climatic effects due to a large number of summer travelers and their hydro carbon devouring vehicles.
Robert D Kaplan’s new book “marco polo’s Journey” clearly defines the importance of land, geography and Juxtaposturing of history upon these two. China’s one belt one road is the exact replication of old silk route that too at footsteps of marco polo, one cannot run away from history.
Every country with a centre of gravity has also a pivot. Countries founded on the basis of ideology have multiple centre of gravities alongwith a central pivot. Pakistan has also multiple centre of gravity, first is its agrarian economy with which 70% of its population is directly linked and another 20% is indirectly attached.
Second is the cottage industry which was the basic engine of economy in late 60s and 70s, third is the youth which is a bulge if not aligned to national economic aspirations and is dividend if properly harnessed. Forth is its natural resources, minerals, land and water, if not utilized in Judicious ways will result in exploitation by other regional powers. As Pakistan being marooned in perennial hostile conditions therefore the pivot to this quadruplet centre of gravity is army (the fact quite difficult to swallow by extreme left).
Pakistan is destined to rise due to abundance of its natural resources. Out of 36 major gem stones in the world, around 20 are found in Pakistan. Swat has emerald, quartz and epidote, Dir district has corundum, in Mansehra smoky quartz is found. Kohistan has an abundance of peridot and sphene. Bajour has world best quality garnet and Scapolite.
Khyber agency is known for astrophyllite and xenotime. Waziristan has world largest deposit of chromite, diamond quartz, Phantom quartz. The mountains of chillas have zircon, aquamarine and world best tourmaline. The gilgit and Hunza have abundance of topaz, ruby, emerald, morganite. Skardu has tourmaline, apatite and topaz. Baltistan’s garnets ruby, pargasite are world known. Even at khappalu, Siachin area world rearest Aquamarine and fine golden rutile quartz is found.
Pakistan is also bestowed with minerals like gold, copper, coal (world third largest resources) rock salt (world second largest) Natural gas, oil, lead, zinc, Antimony uranium and what not. This also explains that why these areas remained disturbed for last 10 years, no conspiracy theory, just a whimper.
Baluchistan is world’s biggest range land which Pawindas and animal raring tribes from central Asia, old faras and magrib criss crossed since centuries.
A coastline of 1046 km with the best suitable of sites for port facilities and a huge natural marine resource, Pakistan’s new frontiers will be the sea and its multitude. The dawn has arrived in Pakistan after a pitch dark night, which actually enhanced the rod cells of every pair of blue eyes, there is a need to take the stock of what Pakistan is bestowed with and why it is not a economic super power. First came first, five steps will revive everything, one, the availability of sufficient water in the rivers being the sin-qua-non of agriculture, which is the back bone and centre of gravity. Second the revival of cottage industry of Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Sialkot and Karachi.
Third, the revamping of the public education system and standardization of syllabus, degrees, mode of exams and the equivalence there after.
Forth, supporting agriculture by providing Cheap inputs, enhancing arable area of the country and introducing latest cropping, irrigation, pest control, area spacing techniques alongwith value addition in agriculture out puts.
Fifth, the revival of health sector by reaching out to every Pakistani. More than half of woman are iron deficient, every fourth person is becoming vitamin D deficient in a county which has the maximum sunlight hours in the world. It is not difficult to Jump Start the economy, no Jargon please. Pakistan’s economy is the simplest, in its texture that is why country is surviving despite so many odds. The focus on agriculture, reversing the trend of de-industrialization, measures to increase the remittances (ironically our middle eastern friends have sent packing home over 2 lakh Pakistanis in last three years). Revamping the system of tax collection (presently people take FBR as a colonial master and are afraid to cooperate). Lastly tightening the belt by reducing imports like tea, cooking oil, Petroleum products, cosmetics etc and also reducing the state expenditure. Let us indulge into conservation enlightenment and declare 2019 the year of conservation and austerity, resilience of Pakistani nation is once again to be demonstrated, the pouched eggs and the maple syrub is just a table away, till then dip the loaf in your tea and enjoy the tea party of conservative enlightenment. This is not boston, this is Islamabad, CIRCA 2018.
The writer is a free lance who contributes regularly on security related issues. He is also a Ph.D Scholar who can be reached at [email protected]
Published in Daily Times, July 29th 2018.