Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million people inhabiting its land. Not long ago, Sri Lanka too had to grapple with violent insurgency leaving security conditions quite fragile. However, it has proven to be a successful at social development despite all the problems that occurred in the aftermath of the political upheavals. The per capita income and sustained economic growth rate of Sri Lanka in the recent years deserves qualified emulation. There is a stark difference between our country and Sri Lanka. However, this piece does not attempt to discuss complex policy reforms; we wish to highlight ordinary things that are mostly interconnected in a cause and effect relationship that can be replicated in Pakistan too. On arriving in Colombo, one is pleasantly surprised; there is a general cooperative attitude that is quite up lifting. People generally are welcoming, honest and helpful. You would hardly encounter anyone who is unkind to the tourists, unlike the vendors in Narran and Murree who are not only disrespectful but are also keen on charging exorbitant amounts. In Colombo, you do not fear street crimes, like we do while roaming the streets of Karachi. The hotel accommodations are far cheaper than our highly inflated rack rates and offer far better quality services that are seldom found in Pakistan. This also included travel and other amenities. The next pleasant surprise is the law-abiding citizens and the law enforcement agencies. The orderliness that is witnessed on the roads full with all kinds of traffic is remarkable. Security pickets and traffic sergeants are hardly seen even during peak traffic hours. Despite meager fortification, it is hard to witness any blatant unruly traffic behaviour. Motorcyclists including the pillion rider, religiously wear helmets not because of traffic sergeants but to ensure that they are not violating any law. People driving HTVs do not bully other commuters and hence do not endanger small cars, motor cycles and cycles. No vehicles are seen with special signs, sirens or protocols. Drivers respect the pedestrians and try to ensure their safety as much as they can. The focus on education has made Sri Lanka a prosperous country, with law-abiding citizens, women empowerment, social emancipation and a blossoming future for the youth. Pakistan as a nation should also strive to emulate Sri Lanka’s example, so we can have a peaceful and prosperous country as well Cultural inclusiveness in Sri Lanka too is making great headway. People of all beliefs and cultural ethnicities interact in a modest fashion. Not only the people but the government has also taken serious measures to boost cultural inclusivity. There are three official languages in Sri Lanka that promote ethnic diversity. People seem to believe more in struggling together to bring about change, rather than waiting for heavenly intervention. Religious prejudices seem to be dying fast in Sri Lanka. Civic sense of the citizens of Sri Lanka is also remarkable. Pleasant and welcoming behaviour respecting all cultures and believes is quite noticeable. During routine interactions with clerks, taxi booking staff, drivers, hotel security and service staff, government officials, sales persons, hardly any visitor is mistreated. People take pride in being helpful and pleasant without any prejudice. Social disposition such as this will ensure that Sri Lanka one day becomes the most preferred tourist destination in South Asia. The youth in Sri Lanka seems predominantly to be replacing the elderly labour force. Also, the women’s participation in the economic activities is visibly encouraging. The participation of women working in the government is even higher than other formal economic sectors. The society as a whole works together to empower all the individuals, irrespective of their class or gender. As expressed earlier, the entire story of Sri Lanka is not intended to make a case in favour of broader policy reforms but to highlight the societal dispositions that we should aspire to. The civic sense people display on the road, the orderliness in public offices and cleanliness in the streets of Colombo are achieved by educating people. Sri Lanka has long been investing in Education for All commitments and the results are more than visible. It has a high literacy ratio and school enrollment rate that has resulted in better employment opportunities for all. No wonder all these measures have ensured the progress of the once violent country. The focus on education has made Sri Lanka a prosperous country, with law-abiding citizens, women empowerment, social emancipation and a blossoming future for the youth. Pakistan, as a nation should also strive to emulate Sri Lanka’s example, so we can have a peaceful, prosperous country as well. The writers promote citizens’ voice Published in Daily Times, September 18th 2018.