WHILE Pakistan endeavours to cope with its own development challenges, the World Development Report 2009 subtitled "Reshaping Economic Growth" points to others that need to be seriously taken note of. The three biggest challenges the report focuses emanate from economic geography's importance for development worldwide. It maintains that while economic growth would be unbalanced in the coming days, development can still be inclusive if three factors, population density, distance and division, are duly taken care of. The report carries a grim message for a Third World country like Pakistan, which is plagued by horizontal and vertical disparities, reflected in a widening gulf between the richest and the poorest, differences in development levels between urban and rural areas, and development gaps between the provinces. Public expectations from an elected government naturally include a more equitable distribution of wealth between various sections of society, a development strategy that diverts more resources to the agricultural sector and special development packages for smaller provinces lagging behind. There are also demands for intervention to protect local enterprises until they are ready to compete in a ruthless global market. The report carries an altogether different message: economic growth is seldom balanced, efforts to spread it prematurely will jeopardise progress. To many, it is a rehash of the neo-conservative theory of income distribution where concentration of wealth in a few hands necessarily trickles down to the masses, something which turned out to be moonshine in Pakistan both under Ayub Khan and Musharraf. Despite its unhappy conclusion, the three factors that the report considers crucial for development need to be taken into consideration to find how far it is possible to make use of them in the concrete socio-economic conditions of Pakistan. The first factor points to the concentration of population in a few big cities as a factor needed for development. If so, the government might well need to develop a number of cities in smaller provinces, and in the case of Balochistan, its coastal towns. The second factor, enlisted as shorter distances between the work place and the population would in Pakistan's case require a radical improvement in the transport system, as migration from one province to another is already fanning unrest. The third factor requires greater economic integration between neighbouring countries. This, in Pakistan's case, requires the resolution of the core issue of Kashmir with India, which continues to hang fire on account of the latter's obduracy.