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PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) launched its latest issue of Discourse Magazine this week, an extensive publication that seeks to initiate a nationwide debate on the reform of key sectors, domains, and institutions.

According to its Chief Editor, Abbas Moosvi, Pakistan has failed to overhaul its colonial-era state configurations – top-down, extractive, and bureaucratic – which is the primary reason for its current socioeconomic and political woes.

In light of the upcoming election cycle, which seems to be arriving at a critical juncture, the issue emphasizes that the time is optimal for taking a radical departure from current institutional arrangements to foster a Pakistan that works for the many – not just the privileged few.

Fifteen unique areas are covered in ‘Discourse – Reconfiguring Pakistan: State, Society, and Economy,’ which include Re-conceptualizing Development, Constitut-ional Reform, Political Contestation, Parliament and Civil Service, Economic Policy, Foreign Aid, Energy, Trade and Industry, Land and Agriculture, Labour Relations, Education, Public Welfare, Cities and Local Governance, Climate, and Society and Culture.

The publication features a substantial number of high-profile names from the academic domain, political sphere, legal fraternity, media sector, government bureaucracy, diplomatic circle, business community, development network, and more, to offer a framework within which a productive policy agenda may be formulated.

Each political party that aspires to be sworn into power must address each of the publication’s sections, which have rarely – if ever – been discussed at a structural level. Colonial-era governance arrangements based on extraction have unfortunately continued to persist, with the White man simply being replaced by the ‘Brown sahib’.

Without the elimination of these oppressive modalities, Pakistan will most likely continue to sink into further indebtedness, economic crisis, and socio-political instability: glimpses of which have been observed across the country in recent months.

He further went on to claim that whilst incompetent individuals in the corridors of power are a primary reason for all this, an equally important point of consideration is the political economy that is responsible for their entry and overdue stay.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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