THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Social Development, the Empowerment of Women, and the Expansion of Civil Society: Alternative Ways out of the Debt and Poverty Trap (Distinguished Lecture)
In Pakistan’s fifty-five years, most governments have terribly neglected the overall well-being of their people. When economic growth has occurred in the past, it has been grossly inequitable. For Pakistan to escape the debt and poverty trap in which it is becoming inextricably immersed, it must prioritise social development, the empowerment of women, and the expansion of civil society over economic growth strategies. Only then can there be balanced growth—not just growth for the élites—as knowledgeable people from myriad backgrounds feel vested in Pakistan’s future. The process of globalisation has all but eliminated the possibility of a local economy being able to become competitive in the global market. Though by prioritising social development, enabling women to become full participants in the state, and expanding the power and possibilities that civil society groups can play, Pakistan will find that these are the most viable strategies to break free from the debt and poverty trap in which it finds itself today.