Investing in people means improving the quality of life of the population aimed to utilize their potential to the utmost level. The provision of health, education, water and sanitation and housing are preconditions for converting the population into human capital. It is a well recognized fact across the globe that only a healthy, educated population equipped with knowledge, skills and techniques can contribute to economic development. A striking difference between the developed and the developing countries is the quality of life of the masses. They invest in people with a long-term-strategy that the dollar invested in people will yield a higher return than the dollar invested on roads; whereas developing countries abysmally lack this clarity of vision. They would like to continue with mega-projects simply to earn votes for the next election or other short-term-gains without realizing the criminal negligence on their part. It is high time for our rulers and policy makers to realise and heed this reality that these are the people who contribute and manage the economies and are the real factor behind the economy’s growth and decline. Pakistan being a security state must learn that in modern times wars are fought on economic front rather than nuclear weapons. Therefore, investment in people and advancement in technology is the need of the hour. In Pakistan, the majority of population proves to be a liability rather than an asset which can contribute to a productive economic process. According to Human Development Index in 2018, which is based on 2017 data, Pakistan ranks at 150 out of 189 countries, behind India which is at 130, Bangladesh at 136 and Nepal 149. Sri Lanka with a literacy rate of around 92 percent is one of the leading countries in the region and is ranked 76. These statistics should be sufficient to show us that where we stand in the regional and international arena. Pakistan lags behind these countries because our approach towards development is wrong. According to the UNDP report, only 6 percent of people have access to libraries and 7 percent access to sports facilities which should serve as a wakeup call to the rulers. It demands for a set of clear pro-people strategies and a coherent strategy; for people who are equipped with advanced human resources are better placed to achieve a higher economic growth. Poor people cannot break the vicious cycle of poverty that runs across the generations. It is only possible if they are entitled to the basic necessities of life. According to the UNDP report, only 6 percent of people have access to libraries and 7 percent access to sports facilities which should serve as a wakeup call to the rulers. It demands for a set of clear pro-people strategies and a coherent strategy; for people who are equipped with advanced human resources are better placed to achieve a higher economic growth It cannot be overemphasized that with poor indicators in education, skills development, health, gender equality, clean drinking water, we will continue to keep a large chunk of the population particularly the youth out of economic activity. Only investment in physical infrastructure or high profile projects will not lead us to economic prosperity. For that the state is responsible to take an effort to ensure basic human rights of the citizens. And also, there must be a special provision for on-job training which is necessary for updating knowledge and skills of the employees. It is unfortunate that on-job training in Pakistan is a rare thing to observe and considered as an expense rather as an investment. It is pertinent to mention that the best form of investment in people is education which mobilizes people to perform as ‘active’ agents of economic change. When it comes to education it means quality education and it also includes technical education which increases the utility and probability of employability. But our indicators in education are very alarming: literacy rate in Pakistan is just 57.7 percent (70 percent of males and 48 percent of females) which has declined from 60 percent as revealed by the economic survey of Pakistan. Expenditure on education is 1.8 percent of GDP which is the lowest in Asia. And also the primary focus of Pakistan is on primary education just to increase the literacy rate. Secondary education which is necessary for inculcating critical thinking skills among the students is being neglected. Poverty of education brings with itself multiple forms of poverty: poverty of choices, poverty of intellect and poverty of social linkages to name a few. Moreover, the curriculum in Pakistan’s educational institutes is traditional and outdated. There is a dire need to revise it on war-footings to keep pace with the advanced world. Literacy rate in Pakistan is far below among women who constitute the 49 percent of total population owing to cultural and social norms. There must be focused and specialized interventions to increase female literacy which is a basic requirement for women economic empowerment. According to the eighteenth amendment of the constitution of Pakistan, clause 25-A stipulates that the state is responsible for free and compulsory education to all children from age five to sixteen years. The entire state apparatus must make a coordinated effort towards fulfilling this constitutional obligation. When it comes to health things take a turn from bad to worse; one MBBS doctor is available to 1222 persons and one hospital bed for 1701 persons. According to some sources only 65 percent of population has access to safe drinking water. Sanitation facilities are available to only 44 percent of total population. A casual visit to any government-run-hospital will highlight the fact that the health infrastructure in Pakistan is in shambles. At present Pakistan is facing a serious challenge of a population explosion which is a threat to its economic stability. This problem can only be addressed with an improved literacy rate and a proper heath infrastructure at community level. Before elections PTI promised to invest in people first and then move towards developing the infrastructure. This hope must be materialized for the greater good of the people. The writer is development practitioner working with South Asia Partnership-Pakistan. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 30th 2018.