Have you ever heard of a country embroiled in a mesh of conundrums that not only impede its development but are also a threat to its identity and existence, looking forward to investing around Rs36 billion to build an amusement park in one of its already highly developed cities? I am sure you would not have, for the crown of this glory goes to the very leadership of Pakistan where according to media reports an MOU has been signed between the Punjab government and a Chinese company for the building of a state of the art Disneyland theme park and aquarium at Lahore.

History bears witness to instances where leaders have recurrently defined themselves through their prioritizing patterns. One notable and worth quoting instance is that of the US President Franklin.D.Roosevelt who made coordinated efforts to link the federal government with the public, private and non-profit sectors of the society to tackle the economic crisis brought about by infamous Great Depression since he knew that the masses will never bear the apathy of the leadership in the hour of need and that “if he fails, he shall be the last one (president)”.While Roosevelt managed to save his grace by altering state policies and initiating investments in public interest, not many are lucky to possess the depth of vison he was endowed with.

Smart investments directed at welfare of the general populace have always been a popular medium of arousing public sentiments in the favor of the leadership, however the investments being rendered by the government of Pakistan in the current times can surely not qualify as intelligible moves since their misplaced prioritizing concerns are aptly manifested through their failure to gauge the urgency and pertinence of investing in areas of concern, domains that demand their immediate attention. Unfortunately, what defines the status quo is the repugnancy of their actions to their tall claims of working collectively for the nation’s progress.

Change has always been a potent catchword of the various political parties that dot the nation’s history. It has been a mantra that has enabled the leaders to impel the common masses to cast vote in their favor by promising a dramatic transition in their depraved states.

The physics of change suggests that a change can be both positive and negative. In a nation’s life, a positive change necessitates constructive developments in all spheres of activity that will somehow benefit the common man, enabling him to extricate himself from the abysmal state he is embroiled in. On the other hand negative changes allude to the exact opposite situation, when transitions do take place yet they are least beneficial in resolving the depravity of the masses .Such changes not only wreak havoc in national lives but are also a clear indication of the hollow consciousness and insincerity of leaders towards their subjects.

Change is undoubtedly the need of the hour but the immediate question that pops in one’s mind is that can real change be ushered in through cosmetic material development of a nation, especially when 45.6 % of its whooping 19 crores population lives below the poverty line? Such extreme poverty where filial, familial relations are of little worth and where parents are literally compelled to kill their offspring’s since they could not fend for them. Or on the other hand where they are coerced to sell off their children to professional begging mafias to get a few bucks in return .According to the Asian Human Rights Commission 1.2 million children tread the urban centers of Pakistan, begging for survival. Were not these children supposed to be Iqbal’s Shaheens and the future of Pakistan? Should not an investment on them be of utmost concern to the government? Especially when under West Pakistan Vagrancy Ordinance 1958, begging still remains illegal in Pakistan? But how can a state that has by holding an eternal begging bowl in its hand and has mastered the art of beggary itself be expected to take action against this illegality or addressing the factors that paved path for it.

Education, clichédly termed as a panacea for all ills by men in the corridors of power is the least invested domain. Governmental claims of the literacy rate being around 58% is something farfetched and seems quite unrealistic since Pakistan has the world’s second highest population of out of school at the primary level .According to Alif Aila’an Report around 10% of the world’s children who do not go to school live in Pakistan .Moreover, there are 25 million out of school children in Pakistan and these children account for half of the nation’s child population. The misery is that those who under straitened circumstances do manage to go to schools are not receiving quality education.

After rigorous research psychologists have come to the conclusion that the primary years of a child’s school age play a pivotal role in his personality formation and definition .The point to ponder is that what sort of children are we rearing when they are blatantly being taught by underqualified teachers who are merely focusing on what is dictated in the text books ,paying no heed to the instillation of values and morals in their personalities that would in the longer run enable them to grow up into strong ,conscious individuals. Hiring qualified teachers necessitates that the government offers smart incentives to attract them into the governmental teaching sector but this concern somehow does not tops the priority list of the government. It seems quite inappropriate for a country with 48% of its dilapidated and worn out governmental schools and colleges (Alif Ailaan Report) looking forward to investing heavily in building magnificent architectural exteriors that will undoubtedly in the longer simply wear out due to low maintenance trend of historical as well as leisure resorts of the country

For Pakistan investment in the education sector is the need of the hour. An educated population is the primary indicator of the developmental dynamics of a state. It can open up new dimensions for the parochial and constrained Pakistani society. It is high time the Pakistani government critically analyzed its priorities and starts making an attempt to address areas of concern that demand immediate attention. Education is the only way our economy can burgeon and allow us to decisively break the begging bowl for once and for all. The Pakistani leadership needs to draw a leaf from South Korea which by investing in its education sector in the decade of 1960’s and 1970’s is now considered a member of the G-20 countries, countries with most stable economies

I have long maintained that it takes something special for someone to be called a leader. All leaders may be politicians but not all politicians are leaders. Politicians are only able to escalate themselves to the rank of leadership by selflessly working in the interests of general populace. Instead of concentrating on rendering short term investments like building a Disneyland, metro buses and the orange train, true leaders invest in long term interests as education or health .Such investments may not generate instant results but will surely generate better ones. It needs to be urgently noted that for a real and positive change to be ushered in, the leaders need to invest in reforming the minds of the citizens. For it is the maturity of a nation’s minds that are true indicators of development, not material prosperity.