Pakistan 2050 Essay

Data lists down ten countr­ies that will receiv­e the greate­st increa­se in popula­tion by 2050

PHOTO: SOURCEABLE

Pakistan is expected to become the sixth largest nation in the world by 2050, according to data published by Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

The data lists down ten countries that will receive the greatest increase in population by 2050. Pakistan which is listed number six on the list is expected to reach a population of 344 million as the world population reaches 9,7 billion in 2050.

Further, India tops the list as the world’s largest country in 2050 as its population is expected to grow to 1,660 million. Whereas, China makes it to number two and United States to number three as the largest countries by population in 2050.

Read: Pakistan’s population expected to exceed 300 million by 2050: UN report

PHOTO: PRB

Read: Pakistanis outnumber Emiratis in three UAE states

An earlier report by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations also revealed similar findings.

The report predicted that between 2015 and 2050, half of the world’s population growth is expected to be concentrated in nine countries, including Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Indonesia and Uganda, while confirming that Pakistan’s population is expected to surpass 300 million by 2050.

The report also indicated a key increase in population in African countries making, one-third of the world African by 2050.

Read: Vulnerable populations: Population risks, post-disaster healthcare issues discussed

Commenting on the population-data revelations, Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs said: “Understanding the demographic changes that are likely to unfold over the coming years, as well as the challenges and opportunities that they present for achieving sustainable development, is key to the design and implementation of the new development agenda.”

However, Jennifer Blanke, chief economist for World Economic Forum expressed concern about the report, questioning how the governments will manage the growing populations in the respective countries.

Read: Poverty: 60.3% Pakistanis living on $2 a day

“If these countries are to meet the needs of their rapidly growing populations, they have to be able to deliver both sustainable economic growth and social inclusion. But while almost everyone agrees with that, we’re still struggling to establish the best way of achieving it. That’s something political, business and civil society leaders will need to work together on, and is indeed the main goal of the initiative I’m leading.” She said.

This article originally appeared on CNN.

Read more: Population

Editor's note

In the history of nations, 70 years may hold a numerically momentous significance but is actually a short span of time. Pakistan also arrives at such a juncture tomorrow, celebrating 70 years of its existence and independence from British colonial rule.

Understandably, like many other people before them, Pakistanis will use such commemorations to reflect on the past, on the journey they have travelled since August 14, 1947, on the paths taken and not taken.

In the midst of numerous pieces looking back that will no doubt flood the media, we at Eos wanted to do something different: we wanted to look ahead.

Pakistanis love to divine the future through various means. But futuristic fiction has never been a mainstay of Pakistani narratives for some reason.

Keeping this in mind, we asked some celebrated fiction writers to imagine what things might be like 70 years into the future. Seventy plus seventy years.

Today’s cover comprises a short story, an essay, a book excerpt and a poem, all set in the imaginary world of the future but which speak, like the best futuristic fiction, to the concerns of today.

All illustrations by Omar Gilani

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 13th, 2017

Click on the tabs below to explore a reimagined Pakistan, 70 years in the future.

A Pakistani homecoming

By: Shandana Minhas

Ammi was at the top making sure the vents were sealed when the panel between our chambers slid open and Nani beckoned me towards her. We padded through the cube. When she was taking our shoes from the cooler by the entrance I thought to ask where we were going, but one word and her finger was on my lips, her eyes darting upwards. That’s when I knew we were going to see the Homecoming and I was happy. I wanted to see this other girl my mother and grandmother were squabbling about. And I would have done anything for that husk dry, gentle finger on my lips. Ammi had long claimed I would happily follow it to hell and back. The day Malala Yousafzai came home, I think I did.

Allahabad was baking. It would be another month before the water carriers of the Federation roared overhead to make the monsoon drops. The city waited it out. Whiteskins stretched from building to building, rooftop to rooftop. Everybody else seemed to have chosen to stay home and watch. The few voices and hissing of doorlocks died away as we moved; silence spread as eyelids shuttered to catch the landing. We moved through a ghost world. Nani’s lips were haunted too. Dair ayed durust ayed dair ayed durust ayed. I thought of my mother clambering down the lattice frame of our dwelling past the tomatoes and peppers to find us gone and smiled. The memory of the blow stung and desertion would sting her back. I remembered why she was up there and almost stopped. We were outside in a heat wave! But we were not outside proper. The whiteskins were breaking the rays into manageable pieces. The thermalocks were sealing the streets; I remembered then that the girl’s route to Shehr-i-Khamoshan would not take her through them; the Federation Guard would be bringing her along the Road. I almost stopped, but the sharpness of Nani’s elbows jabbing the air as she walked before me told me she would leave me behind if I did.

Why did Nani seek proximity to the girl? Why was I calling a 90-year-old a 'girl'? That was what Nani had been calling her, since the predawn Federation Broadcast. Humwatno, there will be a State Homecoming for Malala Yousafzai today, had come to us all in our sleep. Her return after 75 years will be awarded appropriate national honour. A full unit of Federation Guard will greet her at the airport.Allahbad's Road, motorways, tunnels and funicular's will be turned green, white and black to mark the occasion. Edible tricolours will be distributed to necessary foot traffic.First Citizens are directed to stay inside to avoid heat expose. Pakistan Zindabad.

I was exempted from Fajr that week so the neurofeed subsided without the Azaan and I could turn on my side and fall back asleep, hearing as I did so the susurrations of the other two rising. By the time I woke up, they were locked into a full-blown quarrel. It seemed to be about Malala Yousafzai but it also seemed to be about them. In the 10 hours it took for her transport to touch down, they had covered everything from whose fault it was that Ammi was unattractive (Nani’s genes) to whose fault it was that we couldn’t afford to fix that (Nani’s chronic conditions using up our medunits) to whose fault it was that I was an underachiever offering no hope of salvation (Nani’s coddling) to whose fault it was that Abba had died (Ammi’s). It was that which had earned me the blow. She had left me no choice but to speak the truth.

She should not have sent him to seek work that day. There was no direct crossing from our patch of the family core to the labour ring on the peripheries of Allahabad. By the time a foot trafficker triggered a medalert, he had been too long in the sun. Sometimes I would dream of him lying in the bare outside, watching the whiteskins waving like shrouds in the distance before his eyes closed. I would dream a dream of him cooking in his own juices and beginning to jerk and convulse like he must have. The husk dry, gentle fingers would pull me safely from it.

Before Nani had pried me out of my chamber, I had been on the neurofeed trying to glean scraps that might help me catch the precise flavour of bitterness my mother and grandmother were eating. But I had not made it through the tests that would have enabled archive access so I had to settle for being told It is a historic day without knowing why. I learned that Malala had a younger brother. He spoke to the copybots at the airport before the procession set off. He said he was delighted at the chance to be able to witness his sister’s return to her motherland’s welcoming embrace after so many long years. He grew emotional when a bolbot wearing the markings of a First Family asked him why his nephew and niece were absent. The same bolbot continued, asking whether Malala ever mentioned if she begrudged what had happened when she tried to return in 2050. The floatstation started abruptly, before he could answer. The bolbot disappeared beneath it.

Nani led us one level down — I wondered where she was taking us — as the Federation Broadcaster came back on. First Citizens and foot traffic alike are welcoming the nation’s daughter’s return with exceptional zeal. Malala is making her way through her beloved Shere Zinda Dillan to Shere Khamoshan with the dignity and grace that has long been her hallmark. We welcome the great Khatoon home. Our eyes brim with affection. All shower her with praise and flowers. Malala Zindabad. Pakistan Zindabad.

When Nani stopped at the top of a spiral chute to catch her breath, I took a moment to close my eyes and see. The procession was just a few minutes away from us now. People living on the outside upper tiers were sliding vents open to throw simurose petals down as she passed then slamming them shut again. It seemed the towers were blinking, all of Allahabad caught in REM sleep. Drones were rising from the enclaves of the First Citizens to do the same. A cut to the subterranean levels showed grinning Zaats doing the bhangra for the hovereyes. A drone dropped a luddoo and the formation broke as they all dived for it. The hovereyes did not linger underground but lifted us high again. The whole world is watching as Pakistan’s pride Malala Yousafzai returns to a rapturous welcome in her birthplace. The Federation is distributing sweets to the youth on duty in the warren today, even the mercury cannot dampen the zeal of the festival atmosphere as everyone seeks to shower her with endless adulation.

We went to the hospice level, closest to the sky, zipping past a row of gaping vents where elderly men and women waved their arms frantically to catch our attention. I thought I heard a couple of screams of “Maafi maafi Malala maafi” before our gaze shifted back downward but “Malala Zindabad”, said the Federation as we left them in our wake. All the people are animated by resolution, joy and unity as Pakistan’s illustrious daughter reconnects with her own soil of home. Pakistan Zindabad.

My foot hit something and the pain brought me back to where my body was. We were standing at a thermalock on Road level. My Nani was fumbling at the control panel, trying to open it. I thought of my father baking in the Allahabad heat and grabbed her arm, trying to pull her away. She shrugged me off. I grabbed again. She peeled me off her arm. Suddenly her fingers were not husk dry and gentle but damp and sharp. The heat punched me in the face and drove me back as the lock screeched open. Immediately, I felt moisture beading all over me. I stumbled backwards and prepared to run. If I sprinted I could make it up the spiral at the end of the street and onto the next level. But I could not take her with me, so I didn’t. I would make it to the nearest ghar and bang the bellbox till an adult came to help me with her. A siren began to blare. I thought it was on the neurofeed and wondered at this odd choice of honour guard music when running feet vibrated close to me and a woman wearing a reclamation suit hit the thermalock control panel with the palm of her hand while another dragged me into the nearest shade.

She was already outside enough to make her intention clear. The lock was closing on her exile even as she turned towards us and beckoned me to join her. I knew the language of her finger. It could say Aik minute or Be quiet or Ignore her she’s not worth it or I love you. Come, her finger said. Come with me. This is important. This is important and I want to share it with you, I want to show it to you. But I was afraid and could not move my feet.

The people of Pakistan are triumphantly happy as the model of national womanhood returns to her place with them, the Federal Broadcaster said in my ear, having spread our great nation’s message of optimum hope to the world. Malala Yousafzai, Mother Malala, is the ultimate Pakistani woman. She embodies the most precious female virtues. Acceptance. Tolerance. Understanding. Patience over anger. Virtue over virtuosity. She turned a grimace into a smile and hawks into doves. They kept her from us but she returns. Blood will tell. Mother Malala returns to our bosom today. Blood always calls to blood and today blood is answering.

I stood in a stranger’s protective embrace and watched my grandmother stride away. I noticed how her back seemed straighter. Dust flew at each impact of her knotted feet on the parched ground. The temperature outside was 49 degrees. The humidity was 90 percent. Even if the medalert already triggered reached her in minutes, she would not survive the day. She walked easily around the mechanised Federation Guard units plodding before the float with Malala on it. The ancient, rusted warbots moved at a glacial pace; one dropped a piston as she strode past its censors. She didn’t glance once at the hovereyes now clotting furiously above her either but took one hop, two, and jumped up to grasp the lowest railing. She clambered easily up the rest, as if she were a girl still, like that other girl, who she was climbing to greet.

Before she collapsed my grandmother stood over the coffin, the sun beating down on her bare head, and spat on it.

The writer is the author of several books and the co-founder of Mongrel Books.

All illustrations by Omar Gilani

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 13th, 2017

Click on the tabs below to explore a reimagined Pakistan, 70 years in the future.

The new world order

By: Asghar Nadeem Syed

It was in around the 1960s that Ghulam Abbas wrote a famous novella titled Dhanak.

In it, he presents an imaginary vision of the next 50 to 60 years of Pakistan.

The future that Abbas painted depicted the maulvis holding sway over Pakistan; majaalis-i-shura have been established and decreeing various punishments left, right and centre.

Everywhere shops have been established to sell lotas, dhelas [stones used for sanitary purposes], and khizaab [hair colour].

Numerous small mosques have been set up all over the place and innumerable religious factions have cropped up.

Abbas sees the entire state conform to this ethos.

Similarly, Sadat Hasan Manto in his last days wrote an epistolary series to Uncle Sam.

In that series, in one letter talks he tells Uncle Sam of the Mighty United States of America that 'in the coming years we will not need arms but lotas, dhelas, straw mats and khizaab; so please make provisions for the needful.'

This rang true to us when the horrific martial law of Ziaul Haq was imposed on us.

It reminded us of Abbas’s and Manto’s stories.

If I think about the next 70 years, the picture I see emerging shows what can be the only way to salvation for us.

Historically, we have mistreated Balochistan, even worse than we treated East Pakistan.

Balochistan tolerated all this.

But when things got out of hand, the Baloch rose in rebellion and went into the mountains to fight.

They were in the right.

We are only now witnessing that all stakeholders are working together to bring the Baloch on the same page.

Balochistan’s mineral-rich resources are no secret due to modern and satellite technology.

This is the outline of the future that I see…

70 years later

It is the 140th year of Pakistan’s existence.

The United States has relinquished its responsibility for Pakistan.

The New World Order is in place and China and Russia have assumed the responsibility of looking after half the world. They pay special attention to Pakistan.

Now Mandarin is Pakistan’s national language, because in order to benefit from better job opportunities, it is essential to learn that language.

Urdu is no more, English merely a second language. Urdu literature gathers dust in the archives.

Chinese architecture, Chinese industry and Chinese culture have spread throughout the land; so much so that Thatta, Badin, Larkana, Multan, Bahawalpur, Peshawar, Mardan, Quetta and even Turbat… all have become ‘Chinatowns’.

Chinese cuisine has replaced Pakistani food and Chinese food markets have sprung up like mushrooms. People have stopped having kitchens in their homes.

Due to the excessive consumption of chickens, rabbits, snakes, ducks and seafood, giant farms for them have been established.

The Chinese have brought with them their vegetables and herbs.

Pakistani food is now kept as memorabilia; chapli kebabs, qorma, biryani, pulao and seekh kebabs are mentioned in children’s books as 'things of the past'.

For a long while now, the Chinese have taken over the responsibility of the country’s defence; Russia and China have brought about peace at the borders and the country is being run as a 'welfare state'.

There are only five azaans a day from mosques. Religious freedom prevails but with regulations that restrict interfering in other people’s business.

As poverty has been completely eliminated, nobody enrolls in madrassahs anymore.

The Pakistan Army has been put to work on development and infrastructure projects.

Since the army already had a vast experience in town planning and road building, its role in real estate and the corporate sector is yielding far better results.

Since politics was sidelined a long time ago, the military is now fully immersed in its new job.

Ayesha Siddiqa’s book on the institution is now being used by the army in a better way.

Pakistan’s nuclear bombs are displayed in a large museum where foreign tourists are drawn to view these relics.

The words biggest and busiest airport is the Gwadar airport; the airports of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi see little traffic.

In efforts to populate Balochistan, new cities and new worlds have been built and the province has now became famous the world over for its indigenous fruits.

Thousands of tonnes of dates, apples, pomegranates, grapes, watermelons, melons, cantaloupes, lychee, almonds, walnuts and cherries and apricots are exported from here across the globe.

A vast network of universities has been laid out across Pakistan.

Confucianism, the latest marketing and IT have come together to sell new dreams like hot cakes.

The vice chancellors and faculty members are robots that are imparting quality education to girls and boys.

An intellectual has noted sarcastically that Pakistan’s vice chancellors used to be robots before as well, the only difference being they were robots of flesh and blood.

There are still Pakistani embassies so to speak, but it is the Chinese who are in charge of the visa sections. Nobody gets a visa without their approval.

Migrants from various cultures and countries have populated Balochistan. The legacy of Bahria Town’s Malik Riaz continues. Statues of Riaz are found on nearly every roundabout and the builder and his team are now planning Bahria Towns on the moon and on Mars.

The rest of the world has also changed.

Due to the unprecedented rate with which Pakistani and Indian populations have increased in Germany and Britain, their native populations have become diminished.

Pakistani, Indians and Bangladeshis have set up their coalition governments in those countries — just like when in the past the Westerners used to rule our parts of the world.

China has also cut a tacit deal with India: The former has given the latter access to the rest of the world through Pakistan.

If this sounds like just imagination, then you know what they say: the imagined is what turns into a dream.

And sometimes dreams can come true.

The writer is an Urdu playwright and poet

This essay was translated by Peerzada Salman

All illustrations by Omar Gilani

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 13th, 2017

Click on the tabs below to explore a reimagined Pakistan, 70 years in the future.

The girls of Green City

By: Bina Shah

There were few of us girls left in my Green City neighbourhood when I was small.

Those of us that did exist — maybe 10 or 12, certainly not more than 20 — weren’t encouraged to befriend one another.

We would talk, we might question our roles in life, or dream of another life for ourselves.

Still, we looked up the Bureau records from the safety of our homes and found out all about each other — girls and women in Green City were required to have public profiles that men could peruse before applying for a Wife.

Sometimes we would catch each others’ eyes when we were out, with our parents or guardians.

We’d walk in the Galleria on hot days, browsing the shops teeming with luxurious clothes from Kolachi, tulipwood furniture made in Chabahar, precious jewellery from Gedrosia.

On pleasant days we’d visit the large open-air rainforest parks to see the exotic sloths and porcupines, the rare whales and giant turtles that had been cloned back into existence.

Or we’d go to the Corniche, aimlessly wandering amidst the food stalls and fountains.

We turned our eyes to the blue waters of the Gulf, we pretended to admire the crystalline kites soaring above it in the breeze, excited little boys controlling them with wireless remotes on the ground.

We were really searching for each other. That spark of recognition as we stared into each others’ eyes, that furtive smile, the twitch of fingers to wave hello or goodbye, would signal that girl as a friend — and an ally.

We connected with each other in ways that our parents and the Agency didn’t know about.

At least, that’s what we always told each other.

We couldn’t use our parent-connected devices at home, couldn’t use the Network to find each other, so we resorted to things that had become almost obsolete: scrawled notes dropped in places only girls would search, inside jewellery boxes at certain stores, underneath a pile of dresses, tucked among a row of hairbrushes.

The chances of our notes being found by others was low, because there were so few of us — but still, we tried.

We dealt in optimism.

On those notes, we wouldn’t write messages, but we just left codes to TalkBots that would store messages and erase them if they were left unresponded to for longer than a few minutes — that we hoped other girls of our age would find and reply to.

We sent messages in bottles to each other, even though we all lived on the same island.

I am fourteen, I live in Sur. I like chocolate and horror stories.
I have three brothers. I’m from Green City Central.
I live in a village in the Wahiba.
My favorite colour is lavender.
My mother died when
I was a little girl.

We didn’t tell each other our names. Instead, we used nicknames — flowers, like Rose, Jasmine, Honeysuckle; gems like Ruby or Opal; birds like Sparrow and Dove.

We grew a little community that existed nowhere but in our own heads, arranging bits and bytes into patterns that relayed our thoughts, hopes and dreams to each other.

It was one of these girls, unromantically named Chicken, who told me about the Panah.

At first I laughed at her for spreading a silly rumour.

With a name like Chicken, what else could it have been but the crazed invention of an overexcited girl?

But she insisted that her father was a high-up official in the Agency; she’d somehow come across one of his classified bulletins mentioning rumours of an underground community where Rebellious women existed outside the system, traitors to Green City and the largesse of its Leaders.

Ignoring my disbelief, Chicken soon told me even more details: that there were virtual tunnels on the dark Web.

The Agency tried to surveil them and shut them down, but they were always architectured to shift from one anonymous and undiscoverable server to another. With the right codes, Chicken said she could not only reach out and make contact with those women, but she could tell them about herself and send them her profile, and they might select her to join them.

If that happened, then a girl could escape her fate, and disappear like a cloud in the sky. Or a snowdrift that would simply melt away with the warming sun.

One hour there, the next, gone. A strange feeling, to think of oneself as “disappeared”.

But then, wasn’t that just what had happened to all those girls and all those women in Green City who should have been alive, but weren’t?

The missing girls, aborted out of existence, killed by the Virus, buried alive in marriages they didn’t want? I was one of the lucky ones, who had survived the first two, but I didn’t know if I would survive the third.

Chicken herself was a product of one of those multiple marriages, and sadly had no idea — and was never told — which of her mother’s four Husbands was her father.

She said all the fathers treated her well, spoiled her and brought her gifts.

But how her mother felt — we never spoke about that. Her silences on the subject said more than her words ever could.

It was a capital crime to hit or abuse a woman — women in Green City were precious resources, to be treasured and protected, looked after and provided for, and in return for their bodies given to the cause of repopulation.

The fertility drugs took their toll on the women’s health; women started giving birth to triplets and quadruplets because of the high doses, and the high-risk pregnancies wore them out more quickly.

So they were discouraged from taking up too much activity outside the house, in fresh air.

Work was considered beneath them and domestics did a lot of the household chores.

The women I saw moving around the City were always accompanied by two or three of their Husbands.

They were dressed well and their husbands were attentive to them, bringing them presents from the shops in the Galleria.

No matter whether a woman was rich or poor, when she became a Wife, her status rose, and the Green City government doubled the family allowance each time she gave birth.

Her womb was the ticket from poverty straight into the comfort of the middle class for her as well as all her Husbands.

And yet, those Wives I saw were bowed down, shrunken and meek, unmoved by the generosity of their Husbands and the state.

The times when I caught their eyes, I saw them fix me with steely looks of recognition, as if they were saying to me, I was once young and carefree like you. Treasure these days, girl, they don’t last.

The above excerpt has been taken from the writer’s upcoming novel 'Sleep'.

The writer is the author of six books

All illustrations by Omar Gilani

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 13th, 2017

Click on the tabs below to explore a reimagined Pakistan, 70 years in the future.

Karachi and Lahore

By: Peerzada Salman

I

Flying cars
And salad bars
Finger phones
And kishmish scones
Are not the 'in' things in Lahore
There's more
Of history to the city
Look at the digitised tomb of Jehangir
And silicon sheen to Anarkali's grave
Look at the virtual state of the Shalamar
Don't go in there, don't, be brave
History is a palm device
Less virtue, more vice

II

Karachi, still youthful And unfaithful
To its beloved
The dogged
Arabian Sea
A fantasy
Of arid zones and fertile bones
Look at a gangster
Sucking life out of the ozone layer
And a goon returning from Mars
Tired and trite
Look at communities fighting for a piece of land
First discovered by satellite
The future is uncertain
Wait, let's not draw the iron curtain.

All illustrations by Omar Gilani

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 13th, 2017

Click on the tabs below to explore a reimagined Pakistan, 70 years in the future.

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