Economic Growth and Development in South Asia, with and without Regional Cooperation (The Jawaid Azfar Memorial Lecture)

S. M. Naseem


I thank the PSDE for inviting me to deliver this plenary
lecture at its 20th AGM belatedly honouring the memory of a personal
friend and colleague, Jawaid Azfar, who passed away more than twenty
years ago. Jawaid’s premature demise robbed Pakistan of one of its most
promising economists and planners and created a vacuum in the
intellectual leadership of Pakistan’s once proud economic planning and
management team, which is still a gaping hole. Jawaid Azfar received his
academic training in economics at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and
his doctorate dissertation on income distribution in Pakistan was a
seminal piece of work which inspired many other studies focusing on
aspects of equity which were ignored by the earlier planners in
Pakistan.1 My own two studies on poverty in Pakistan published in the
1970s benefited greatly from the methodology and insights of his study.2
While teaching at the Quaid-i-Azam University, I worked as a Consultant
to the Planning Commission on macroeconomic model building, in close
collaboration and almost daily interaction with him. Jawaid also agreed
to my request to help in teaching courses at the University and acted as
an external examiner on many occasions. Jawaid was a quiet, shy person
whose low-key manner concealed his considerable intellectual depth. He
died tragically at a young age of stroke due to extreme pressure of work
imposed on him by his many demanding bosses who relied on his expertise
to push their own self-serving agendas during the first half of Gen.
Ziaul Haq’s 11-year military rule.

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