Why does the myth of rural Pakistan persist?

Publication Year : 2021

Why do Pakistani official circles still like to maintain Pakistan is a rural country? Every pronouncement of government, at the cabinet table and even in donor dialog, this myth is maintained. Yet data shows otherwise. Reza Ali, an indigenous urban researcher has been studying this use for some time. For decades he has argued that censuses are underestimating the extent of urbanization. His most recent work using satellite imaging that about 70% of Pakistan is non-rural. He hesitated to say that 70% was urban because despite showing concentration of population several areas lacked city functionality. He found large areas where density was at levels that were by international definitions accepted as urban. Yet he hedged and called them ‘urbanizing’ because he found that despite density they really were satellites of some urban core. The new category of “urbanizing’ that Ali used is newly emerging suburbia. As we all know there is a push for housing colonies and strip urbanization along roads because of the repressed demand for housing in cities. And demand for housing and urban space is growing and leading to a rapid development of housing colonies spreading cities far and wide.