Overpopulation, illiteracy, scarcity of resources, poverty, and increased crime rates are among the key public policy problems faced by contemporary Pakistan. Comparing the state of affairs in each of these at the time of partition of British Indian and today, one finds that the conditions have worsened overtime.The 1951 census had reported a total population of Pakistan at 75 million, with 42 million living in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). Today, Bangladesh ranks eighth in the world with a population of 152 million as per its 2011 consensus. With a population of approximately 33 million (in West Pakistan) in 1947, Pakistan is now believed to be a country home to 194.9 million people as per the United Nations Population Division estimates. How did this happen? To understand how Pakistan’s population rose to such a level, we must explicate the second problem: illiteracy. Illiteracy is a cause as well as a consequence of overpopulation. In Pakistan’s case, the mass migrations of Indian Muslims to the country they had won after years of struggle proved to be a cause, while the inefficiency of the state in managing and provide for this population has served as a consequence.The newly formed Dominion had lacked infrastructure and resources to support the large number of people who migrated after leaving behind their assets and properties. The population was vulnerable, and so was Pakistan. All three constitutions of this country have enumerated fundamental rights for its citizens, though right to education was recognised only recently and provision of quality education still remains a dream for many. This has left the majority with only one option to feed their bellies: increase the number of earning hands. Unskilled and illiterate labour in the pursuit of a better future is what comprises the lion’s share of Pakistan’s population. And the mindset has become so ardent and prevalent that its fervidness has now become too difficult to curtail. One generation after the other, the size of an average family is surely growing, but the number of literate members in a family is increasing only non-exponentially.Thus the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ is what has been ruling the land since its inception and it is this very idea that rightfully explains the other aforementioned problems.The higher number of people entails greater exploitation of limited resources that are readily available, only a few getting their hands on the pool and capital, a huge portion of the populace being deprived of basic facilities like food, health, housing and education, increase in poverty and, lastly, the spiking up of crime rate in society.Today, when we’re busy in celebrating yet another Independence Day, we’re completely blindfolded to realise that Pakistan is entering the eighth decade of independence with hundreds and thousands of problems that have been playing with its fate from the very beginning.Water mismanagement, a barometer of our successive governments’ disorganisation and carelessness that is often labelled as water scarcity, was ringing alarm bells in 60’s as well as today.Having being declared a federation in the 1973 Constitution, it still took Pakistan almost four decades to devolve powers from the centre to provincesCriminal and terrorist activities have only hiked in the past decades because of the sense of abject deprivation that has multiplied owing to the unhidden and crystal clear class differences, in the society and preferential neglect among provinces.Karachi is a classic example of sheer negligence of administration and its repercussions. Travelling from Lahore to any other city of Punjab makes one realise the undivided and biased attention that has been given to the metropolis. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has become a land of mourning, and Balochistan, as a whole, has become a manifestation of ignorance and the lava that has been building up.Having being declared a federation in the 1973 Constitution, it took Pakistan almost four decades to devolve powers from the centre to provinces. Applying the ‘better late than never’ rule cannot and should not conceal the precious time of this country that has been wasted and can never come back.It seems that Pakistan’s struggle in demarcating administrative limits has consumed much of its hoards of energy, time and resources, thus, resulting in the blow of unforgivable neglect that the country has suffered. Today, we are celebrating our 70th Independence Day, yet it is this very idea of independence from the aforementioned problems that is the missing element. The writer is a freelance columnist from Lahore Published in Daily Times, August 16th 2017.