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A case study to follow

Jun 19,2017 - Last updated at Jun 19,2017

The issue of how a developing country can reconcile its fight against terrorism and fending threats to its borders, which eat up much of its budget, with its determination to combat poverty and high rates of unemployment presented itself when Pakistan’s initial report under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was considered for the first time by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights last week in Geneva.

The long list of priorities that Pakistan has to decide on makes it difficult for the country to improve its economic and social conditions.

The Pakistani government argues all along that defending its borders and fighting terrorism at home is making it divert many of the financial resources to these security issues, at the expense of ongoing plans to reduce poverty and lift the economy.

Pakistan, like many other developing nations, is facing this dilemma with anguish, and chose to give security issues top priority.

The problem is that having decided to prioritise security, the country is frustrating efforts to put the economy on the right course.

This choice has led to the erosion of the fundamentals of national economy and contributed to the rise of public discontent in the country.

It is axiomatic that difficult economic conditions have the potential to lead to radicalism, and Pakistan knows this, but it seems that, for the time being at least, it cannot do much about it as long as real threats to its security, both from within and from without, are real and pressing.

Where to draw the proper line between granting allocations to strengthen security and investing in the economy to combat  unemployment and poverty is the chronic dilemma facing not only Pakistan, but many other developing nations faced with similar challenges.

Pakistan is only one case study — granted a more complex one than many — of a crisis facing many of the developing countries.


If the manner in which it manages its challenges is successful, it could serve as a model for countries facing similar situations.

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