Like many other developing countries, the problem of inadequacy of welfare measures and core social services in Pakistan frequently baffles policymakers. The imperfect functioning of market and consequent access issues require state to actively perform welfare and developmental role with a benign gaze on the less privileged citizens. But resource constraints often make it a catch-22 situation. Development policy is core instrument through which state distributes resources which makes it imperative that such policies should reflect state commitment to distributive justice. Contemporary political philosophy can help policymakers in understanding different approaches to the idea of distributive justice. From Rawls’ theory of justice to Sen’s idea of justice, it remains a concept with many hues but from development policy perspective at least three principles related to equality, sufficiency and priority are important to know. The essence of principle of equality is that it is not desirable that some people are worse off than the others. The problem is that principle of equality is satisfied not only when people are equally well off but also even when they are equally worse off. Making people equal by levelling down is indeed undesirable. To counteract this weakness of equality principle, Harry Frankfurt suggests it is not important that everyone should have equal rather everyone should have sufficient. The proponents of this principle of sufficiency say, while acknowledging the subjective nature of concept of sufficiency, it is possible to define a minimum threshold of sufficiency. The third approach to look at the issue of distributive justice is a principle of priority which favours giving the foremost priority to the worst off in society. This principle is driven by the idea that the moral value of a benefit diminishes as its recipient becomes better off and it is more urgent to help the most disadvantaged even if it is harder to help them. Among equality, sufficiency and priority the latter two are more relevant to development policy. On account of pure economic rationality, the principle of priority becomes the primary vehicle of promoting distributive justice in Pakistan. But the ultimate goal should be achieving the conditions which satisfy the principle of sufficiency. A few examples would suffice to show how these principles can be used in ascertaining the distributional impact of development policies. On account of pure economic rationality, the principle of priority becomes the primary vehicle of promoting distributive justice in Pakistan In recent past introduction of a health card scheme to provide access to better quality medical assistance to the low income households reflect a policy which promotes distributive justice in terms of principle of priority. Quality education for the poor has always remained a utopian idea in socio-economic context of Pakistan. Establishment of Daanish Schools in the Punjab, to provide good quality school education to the poorest children, shows a step towards distributive justice. At the moment this initiative is an application of the priority principle but ultimate policy goal should be achieving a state of sufficiency by enabling all children to have an access to good quality education. Development of high quality urban mass transit facilities in the large cities of Pakistan indicates a beginning of a drive towards satisfying the principle of sufficiency as these schemes enable the low income population to enjoy decent commuting facility at a subsidized cost. Here this would not be out of context to mention that in Pakistan historically the wealthiest 20 percent of households have received several times more benefit from fuel subsidies on account of higher consumption vis-à-vis the bottom 20 percent families. Such pro-rich subsidies do not satisfy any doctrine of distributive justice. Unconditional cash transfers to the poor households through female family head as part of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) present an interesting example. Such cash grants meet the requirement of priority principle. Each beneficiary female head of a family, below a certain economic threshold determined by a proxy means test, receives a quarterly cash grant of 4834 rupees or 1611 rupees per month. As it is a family grant disbursed through women family head so per capita impact of this grant reduces in proportion to the size of a beneficiary family. For a four member family the grant comes to less than a thousand rupees per quarter rendering it even intuitively obvious that principle of sufficiency is unmet. Present economic and fiscal constraints do not allow any substantial increase in size of such grants but at least an adherence to the principle of sufficiency can help in giving a moral import to the pursuit of distributive justice. In a nutshell, development is meaningless if it is not guided by a commitment to distributive justice. From social protection initiatives to provision of social services, sufficiency must remain an ultimate goal. But in situations where across the board sufficiency is not financially feasible, a principle of priority should guide the policy. It must not be ignored that the distributive justice is no less helpful in promoting economic growth as it helps in improving the human capital and other conditions conducive to efficient market functioning. It is time development policy makers seek promotion of distributive justice particularly when SDGs framework requires poverty eradication and inequality reduction by 2030. The writer is a development policy analyst Published in Daily Times, January 5th 2018.