No increase in exports in a decade, says adviser

December 08, 2019

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Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and IBA Karachi Executive Director Dr Farrukh Iqbal with a student at the convocation.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and IBA Karachi Executive Director Dr Farrukh Iqbal with a student at the convocation.

KARACHI: No country in the world has progressed without developing its own people. We need to think why Pakistan is lagging behind others despite having huge natural resources. The country’s exports haven’t shown even one per cent increase in a decade and the growth rate has been naught.

This was stated by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh during his speech as the chief guest at the annual convocation of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) held on Saturday on its main campus.

More than 900 graduates received their degrees at the event. They included the first cohort of BS economics and MS journalism graduates.

The minister started off his speech by asking the graduating students what they planned to do in life and said: “Success is important but how you succeed is even more important. Also, we need to think what exactly success is. Is it fame or getting a good job? I think we must not define success in comparison to others because each individual is unique.”

Sharing his definition of success, Dr Shaikh said: “I think success is to live with a purpose, with integrity, passion and compassion. Celebrating achievements but at the same time learning from failures. Success above all is to be for our family and friends, community and the country.”

Over 900 graduates receive degrees at IBA convocation

Speaking on practical life, he recalled how life dealt with him and asked students not to get too anxious, overwhelmed by new challenges because things would happen which nobody had planned for.

“I grew up in one of the poorest and most underdeveloped parts [of] the whole world; a small town bordering between Sindh and Balochistan,” he said.

“I had never thought that one day I would move from a place like that to great institutions like Harvard University or the World Bank or work in over 20 countries or in the cabinet six times or win elections to the Senate thrice. Now, when I look back, I see that the most important things of my life happened without any planning.”

After listing these events of his journey, Dr Shaikh sounded a bit philosophical when he said maybe those were not the most important [happenings] of his life.

“The most important thing is to be close to your parents, your brothers and sisters, your wife and life partner and your children and your community, to have contentment of the heart and to sleep peacefully at night,” said the adviser.

“For me, the best way to define success is how the people closest to you think about you. If your parents, life partner, children, your secretary and driver, your colleagues, if the people who know you, love you and respect you is success.”

Coming to the country’s economic woes, he regretted that while Pakistan was blessed with all kinds of natural resources, it lagged far behind in development and its businessmen could not compete at the international level.

He also recalled the sacrifices rendered for the country’s independence as well as the services contributed by many distinguished citizens.

On how to make Pakistan a great country, he said no country had progressed without investing in his people.

“Second, nobody can do it alone and we have to reach out to others and develop linkages with the outside world. Thirdly, let the government define policy and businessmen do business.”

In his speech, PPP leader Nisar Ahmed Khuhro appreciated the academic contribution of the institute and said the IBA had proven to be a hub of nurturing talent from which not only Pakistan but the whole world had benefitted.

“This esteemed institution has produced nothing but the best leaders and professionals that not only lead but inspire,” he said.

Co-Founder of The Citizens Foundation Mushtaq Chhapra, the guest of honour, applauded the institute’s initiative to start the Responsible Citizen Initiative or Social Internship, which now many institutions of higher learning had adopted.

He also informed the audience that many graduates of the TCF had obtained education at the IBA through its financial assistance programme.

“Life is not about being rich, popular or highly educated, it’s about being real. It’s all about being humble and being kind,” said Mr Chhapra.

Executive Director of the IBA Karachi Dr Farrukh Iqbal congratulated graduating students and their families and told the audience that the majority of the institute’s students got employment of their choice within three months of graduation.

The event recognised position holders in various degree programmes through award of cash prizes, medals, shields and certificates of merit. Graduating students excelling in the field of sports were also recognised.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2019