Urbanisation, environment, education, AND pollution:  policY  effects and ecologically sound solutions FOR  sustainability and development in Pakistan

Farzana Panhwar

Hyderabad (Sindh), Pakistan.



During British rule, from (1843-1947), the second half of the nineteenth century. This period experienced significant economic growth under British rule. But after 1947, Pakistan passed through various ups and downs in its economic growth. There are many reasons, first in-stablity in its economic growth and development. One of the reason is running the government under politically selected government, not properly elected and designed polices. But back-bone of all its stagnancy in that its growth in the past was due to agricultural policies of the government and now it is entirely based on the interest of industry. The Federal Government control had fixed the prices of wheat and other food items with aim that too low, labour salaries are calculated according to the price of wheat, food which are heavily suppressed by the government of Pakistan.


Support price of wheat as

compared to 1950 price in



Support price of wheat as

compared to 1950 price in



Support price of wheat as compared to 1950 price in percentage
































































































This wrong policy effect on environment is explained as under:

Agricultural commodity prices.

In 1947 agriculture was the dominate sector, contributing 53% of gross domestic products (GDP). In 1987, 40 years after the formation of Pakistan it contributed only 26% of GDP, still providing employment to more than 50% of country’s total labour force. Agriculture and agro-based exports account for 80% of country’s total export earnings. Almost 70% of the country’s population is confided to rural areas.

If more than 50% contribute 75% of GDP, the ratio of rural to urban income is 26/50 : 74/50 or 52:1.37 or 1:2.7.

This ratio is also confirmed by the wage rates. The farm labour gets Rs.120-1500 (US$20-25) per month, which no other benefits, where as city worker gets minimum of Rs.2800 plus medical benefit (Rs.600-1000) plus leave fare allowance, totalling to Rs.3500-4500. The wage ratio of rural to urban labourer therefore comes i.e., 1:2.85 to 1:3.

Wheat, rice and cotton.

Most government and institutional efforts has been directed towards major crops (wheat, rice and cotton). Little attention is paid to minor crops are categorised as fruits, vegetables, nuts and industrial crops, which pay the highest returns per acre and some of them, even pay ten times as much, as wheat and rice on the same acreage.

Imbalance/disparity in agriculture price structure is the root cause of rural poverty and problems pertaining to law and order.

Basmati Rice.

Basmati rice grow in Punjab. It is exported and its yield per acre is half that of Sindh rice. Water requirement of Basmati rice is much more. The country thus gains nothing WTO is bound to change this position.

Coastal or brackish water fisheries of Sindh.

Sindh coast used to get the fresh river water each year and coastal waters were diluted, which became breeding grounds for sea shrimps, lobsters, fresh water shrimps, hilsa or palla fishes and other brackish water fishes. Due to diversion of water form the Indus in the Punjab river discharges some water only for 56 days a year and the coastal waters are not diluted and therefore breeding grounds for these fisheries are destroyed and the catch per boat or per unit has reduced to 10% what it was 20 years ago. Catch now decreases year after year.



The riverine area in Sindh forms 2.112 million acres, out of this 0.6 million acres were under river abandoned or present channels, 0.5 million acres forest land and 1.0 million acres were under agriculture crops raised on preserved moisture and balance 50,000 acres were roads and settlements. Due to diversion of water in the Punjab, the 0.5 million acres under forest have either disappeared or deteriorated to the limit of being abandoned. 1.0 million acres under cultivation, on preserved moisture do not get annual floods and therefore cannot be put under crops. Unfortunately water in about 50% of the riverine area is brackish even within the flood protective embankments and this water cannot be utilised by means of tube-wells for cultivating this land. The balance 0.6 million acres of river channels was under fisheries but river channels now are dry during most of the year and therefore fish cannot be raised.

At the delta of the Indus, there were 600,000 acres under mangroves. These were sustained on brackish water formed by mixing of river water with sea water and brought back by tidal action. Most of the mangroves contained trees 60 feet tall and were source of timber, fuel, fruit and also fodder for cattle. Mangroves are now dying out very fast. The total forest area now lost is 1.6 million acres, which is about 12% of area under crops in Sindh.

The leaves shed by mangroves were natural food for shrimps, lobsters and cretaceans. Death of mangroves has reduced the catch of fisheries per unit.

The forests in general were employing about one person per acre in terms of fuel, timber, fruit, cattle feed and fisheries catch. This has put 1.6 million people of rural Sindh out of employment, during the past 20 years. Same is effect of loss of fisheries each acre of which employed one Sindhi.

The 1.0 million acres of agricultural land in the riverine area has gone of cultivation and has displaced 0.6 persons from those areas.

The factors and reasons, which are responsible for bringing injustice, desperate, disturb environments, cause mental and physical stress, agitation, crimes, law and order situation in the rural settlements and cities in Pakistan. These are explain as under:

Federal government price polices.

They fix the agricultural commodities too low, to provide cheap labourer to industries. Thus agricultural commodities are highly subsidised to urban areas. Due to this policy the farmer of Pakistan do not have enough money to use as input on the land, which further deteriorates the situation, by getting low yields next year. The rural communities are compiled into one hand the rural areas having hard time to meet both ends meat and other hand they cannot overcome urban problems. Which are difficult for rural people to handle.

Injustice in selection of government employees.

For a government job at scale 17 or higher. The government rules apply and they advertise the post. The selection are made on the basis of quota, since Punjab province by an area is bigger, its quota is more than other provinces. But up-till now usually on the record people follow government rules and regulations but under-neath it is not true. The government of Punjab get more than 60% quota in jobs, then they manage to bring Punjabis settled on other provinces. This way the Punjab get monopolies in employment. Thus they get majority jobs in Federal Government to make any policies, actions, plans, which is not happily accepted by other provinces.

Injustice in selection of staff, lower than grade 17 in government jobs.

Although according to the government rules jobs of employees less than grade 17, selection is on the basis of quota system, but so far up-till now, no body observes the rules selection of these candidate is done by officer in-charge. Since the Punjab get 60% quota on the basis of population, usually these officer manage to hire lower staff form Punjabis settled in other provinces. This way they cheat and end-result is the monopoly of Punjabis, from lower to higher grade officers, leaving no room for other provinces. This situation brought desperate feeling among other provinces and on other hand developed prejudice against Punjab.

Selection of Arm forces.

This is strictly done on merit basis, without any consideration of quota, but the

problems arises due to, the interview for selection is advertised in mostly circulated newspapers. The invariably selection and interview held in urban cities in Pakistan.

Urbanisation problem due to weak government policies.

In Pakistan we have serious urbanisation problems, this is due to government’s weak policies, which have resulted into large scale migration of refugees, rural people to urban areas and this has resulted into severe urbanisation problems, which are very difficult to solve them.

The economical sound solutions of the above problems in Pakistan.

The government must strengthens its policies towards immigrants and refugees, which will help to control population in urban areas.

Government must take strong stand in fixing the prices of wheat, rice and grams according to international price level so as to encourage farmers to increase yields for export.

Government should also withdraw to subsidise food. This step will bring prosperity in the rural areas. Rural people than will get enough for inputs of seeds fertiliser farm implements, plant protection and improve agricultural production, which provide them enough extra income to increase yield and grow value added corps. This way many more rural people will get employment and this not only reduce the pressure of rural to urban areas but also will help the country to reduce its burden of imports of agricultural commodities and Pakistan will become self-sufficient in this field.

The government should take strong steps in providing irrigation water according 1991 Water Accord. The government should see that each province gets its proper share, specially the tail-end users or lower companions must get proper share of water. This situation will improve agriculture in the rural areas, which then provide more jobs in agriculture sector boost the country economy.

For preparation of Dam, channels, ground water resources, diversion of irrigation water, the international law must be followed. This single issue of water can bring political reconciliation because the stability of whole country is based on water. This sensitive issue should be handled according to province’s share. This step is the back bone of bringing the stability, sustainability and Development in Pakistan.

Government should take immediate step to start development activities for the youth. Right now we do not have specific programmes for youth, their education, development, training, clubs, spots and entertainment programmes. All the country future based on youth. So immediate step is necessary.

Our education system is only providing degrees, certificates and shields, which is used for getting any job. But our curriculum is not designed according to country’s needs. This way our graduate youths become unfit to be hired in companies, industries and projects due to lack of on-the-job training. This way on one hand we get large number of youths qualified in various disciplines of life, but on the other hand, we have shortage of technical hands to improve our industries. As a results we have large number of educated youth unemployed. They are desperate and get trapped in the hands of political or criminal parities, which pay and hire these educated youth for un-productive and semi-criminal activities. This brings the law and order situation in the country.

The government immediately help in starting technical training institutes in each provinces, provide them on the small factories, or to purchase agricultural implement, seeds, fertiliser, livestock, nursery plant to improve the situation. This will bring prosperity in the country.

Government must make the local authorities strong to check development plans should be maintained at all level, and local authorities must maintain law and order situation in the provinces.

All schools in urban areas take students to their rural areas to show harvesting of their fruits vegetable and other crops. Each provinces of Pakistan have a unique climate and produce beautiful fruits, vegetables, flowers crops. The students must understand its geographical location, climate, soil, agricultural produce and its economy.

At higher education level of technical universities, like doctors, engineers, and other specialists, before awarding degree they must be spend some time in the rural areas. This way when these youths qualify education, they can easily be absorb in the system. This will not only reduce the rural to urban migration, but will help in developing the country.


All the above steps as pointed-out not only discuss the problems, but also provide solution of the situation. This can not be achieved unless government, local-authorities and local communities jointly take part in this system. For this purpose government should design an active team which should consist of, local educated senior people. They guide local-authorities for execution of these plans, while local-authorities directly control and funded by the government. These action will provide ecologically sound methods, which will bring sustainability and Development in Pakistan.

Return to Sincronía Fall 2003

Return to Sincronía General Index