Pakistan recently underwent significant political and structural reforms,
moving towards macro-economic stability, debt management, revival of the
democratic process with increased women’s representation, major
institutional reforms with emphasis on devolution and decentralization,
significant progress in information technology, reduction in population
growth, and food grain self-sufficiency, which has been maintained for the
past several years. Efforts to combat corruption and improve law and order
have been firmly established.
The nation has demonstrated resilience in dealing with the challenges posed by drought, the impact of the Afghan crisis, influx of refugees and the 11 September aftermath. While the difficult regional security situation has led to a diversion of scarce development resources to defence, Pakistan has striven to resolve issues according to the principles of the United Nations Charter, as indicated in the common country assessment (CCA).
With a human development index of 0.498 in 1999, Pakistan ranked 127 out of a total of 162 countries, and with a gender-related development index of 0.466 in 1999 it ranked 117 out of a total of 146 countries, according to the Human Development Report 2001. According to government estimates in 2000, 34 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, while the cost of environmental degradation was estimated at 4.3 per cent of GDP in 1998. Although there has been some improvement in women’s status over the last several years, the position of women in Pakistan remains weak and gender disparities are reflected in all social indicators. As a result of its debt burden, low revenue base and recent low growth rates, Pakistan has not been able to invest adequately in human development.
Public investments in the 1990s focused mainly on infrastructure. Private education and health services are common but expensive, whereas public services are inadequate, particularly in rural areas and for women and girls. Social regression, land degradation and unemployment have further reduced. resources available to the poor. It is recognized that the answer to these problems lies in improving the quality of governance, making make it more inclusive and participatory; strengthening systems of accountability and transparency; promoting citizens’ involvement in decisions that influence their lives; and strengthening the role of the Government in facilitating development.