Bangladesh, the country whose infrastructure was ravaged by the Pakistani occupation force in 1971, has stridden far ahead of Pakistan, the country it obtained independence from, in the last 50 years, observed IFFRAS, an international think tank headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
Praising Bangladesh for its resilience in dealing with the economic challenges during the pandemic, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) remarked that the global economy is mired in its deepest recession since World War 2, and multilateralism and the international order are confronted with unprecedented challenges, which has created considerable obstacles to South Asian development in the economic and other fields.
In its article, titled ‘Bangladesh and Pakistan – Formerly one Nation, today a World Apart’, published on July 30, IFFRAS (International Forum for Rights and Security) described how Bangladesh became a "miracle story" and Pakistan a "disaster tale".
Bangladesh's growth rate was way above Pakistan, even before the pandemic; in 2018-19 it was 7.8% compared to Pakistan's 5.8%, said IFFRAS in the article.
Bangladesh and Pakistan are a world apart today because they perceive their national interests very differently, it also mentioned.
Bangladesh sees its future in human development and economic growth. Goal posts are set at increasing exports, reducing unemployment, improving health, reducing dependence on loans and aid, and further extending micro credit, it said.
For Pakistan, according to IFFRAS, human development comes a distant second. "The bulk of national energies remain focused upon check-mating India and nurturing extra state actors..."
Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves in May 2021 hit a record USD 45.10 billion amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which is more than double compared to Pakistan's USD 17.1 billion in June 2021.
The real marvel lies in the fact that even in FY 2020, when economies around the world contracted as a result of pandemic induced lockdowns, Bangladesh managed a 5.24% growth, IFFRAS noted.
In 2021, Bangladesh's GDP per capita had grown by 9% rising to $2,227. Pakistan's per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543, it said.
In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Bangladesh; today, Bangladesh is 45% richer than Pakistan, the global think tank mentioned.
With macro-economic stability as its cornerstone, Bangladesh's economy has increased by 271 times over 50 years, IFFRAS said.
Bangladesh's successful journey is a good example and in just two decades, Bangladesh has overtaken Pakistan on key economic indicators.
Over the past 20 years, Bangladesh's GDP per capita increased 500 percent, two-and-half times that of Pakistan, said IFFRAS.
There are thousands of garment factories in Bangladesh, a country which does not grow cotton.
But by importing cotton worth a couple of hundred million dollars, Bangladeshi factories are exporting it in the form of readymade garments worth USD 35 billion, it said.
On the contrary, Pakistan -- despite being a cotton-growing country -- has failed to increase its exports of garments and textile products beyond USD 10 billion, said IFFRAS, adding that even worse, Pakistan is now importing cotton.
In fact, a lack of innovation and commitment on the part of the authorities in Pakistan because of its feudal and tribal structures, it is unable to make use of its agricultural resources, particularly cotton, to increase its exports of textiles and textile made-ups, the article also mentioned.