Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Keynote Address

Author: Ahsan Iqbal

Mr Hasan Nawaz Tarar, Secretary Planning, Development and Reforms, Dr Asad Zaman, Dr Musleh ud Din, distinguished economists, members of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and the Pakistan Society of Development Economists, students, ladies and gentleman, it is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to open the PSDE’s Conference, which has become an annual feature of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists. It offers us a great opportunity to deliberate on the challenges that our country is facing. Before I proceed with what I have to say, I would like to place on record my appreciation for the outgoialso ng Vice Chancellor of PIDE, Dr Musleh ud Din, who has provided leadership to PIDE and has been instrumental in arranging this Conference. I would also like to welcome Dr Asad Zaman as the new President of the PSDE and Vice Chancellor of PIDE. I hope that under his leadership PIDE will touch, In šāʾ Allāh, new heights and become a centre of excellence, not only in Pakistan but also in Asia. Being in a meeting of economists and a leading public sector economic think tank, I am reminded of an anecdote about an economist. A man was walking by a road in countryside where he saw a flock of sheep. He could not resist and said to the shepherd that he would like to make a bet on correctly guessing the number of sheep in the flock. He said to the shepherd that he would give him a hundred dollars if he were unable to guess correctly the exact number of sheep. But if he were right, the shepherd would give him one sheep from the flock. Shepherd thought that it was a huge flock, this person had to be crazy, so it was an easy hundred dollars and accepted the bet. Within a few minutes, the man said that these were nine hundred and eighty one sheep. The shepherd was surprised because the man was exactly right. He said he was man of his word and told the man to pick up any of the sheep. The man picked up a sheep and started to walk away. As he was walking away, the shepherd said he wanted to get even with the man and asked him to make another bet. He said that he could tell him exactly what his occupation was, to which the man agreed. He was from a far off place and thought there was no way the shepherd could guess his profession. The shepherd asked him if he were an economist from a government think tank. The man was greatly surprised because the shepherd was right. He asked the shepherd how was he able to guess his profession. The shepherd asked him to put down his dog first. The man had picked up shepherd’s dog instead of a sheep! I hope it is not the case here and hopefully we have economists who can not only count the sheep exactly but who can also pick sheep from the flock and not a dog.

Ahsan Iqbal