The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently launched its Pakistan National Human Development Report (PKNHDR). The report, titled ‘Pakistan National Human Development Report 2017: Unleashing the Potential of a Young Pakistan’, revealed that Punjab fares better than other provinces on the HDI (a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development—a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living). The report is based on data often years from 2005 to 2015.
Among the provinces, Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir come under high medium human development, while Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fall under medium human development. On the other hand, very low human development was noted in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan, while Gilgit Baltistan fell under low medium human development. Lahore was the highest ranked city of Pakistan on the HDI with 0.877, followed by Islamabad and then Rawalpindi. Four out of six cities of Punjab feature on the list of high human development including Rawalpindi (0.871), Sialkot (0.834) and Jhelum *0.829).
Moreover, only one city from Sindh, Karachi, makes it to the high human development list with 0.854. The high medium human development rankings include 18 cities from Punjab, four cities from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one city from Sindh (Hyderabad). Eleven cities each from Punjab and KP make it to the list of medium human development, which also includes four cities from Sindh and one from Balochistan (Quetta). Very low human development includes 14 cities from Balochistan, two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Tor Ghar and Kohistan) and one from Sindh (Tharparkar). Pakistan itself ranks in the medium human development category of the global rankings.
The report generated much controversy as Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) claimed that there claims of outperforming other provinces, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been vindicated by the report. Many journalists also criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for its failures. However as it has been pointed the report was based on data from 2005-2015 and is no way a means to gauge performance of any provincial government. What the report does tell though is that there is a lot that needs to be done in Pakistan in terms of human development and all provinces need to work on it. The report also highlights that the gap in development between various parts of the country is harrowing, while some cities have modern facilities some in the country still have facilities that resemble those in ancient times.
If energies of youth are channeled correctly as the youngest countries in the world Pakistan has immense potential.