Historically, Pakistani governments have been some kind of ‘expert’ at planning. In fact we have the famous episode of South Korea borrowing our five-year plan for economic development in the 1960s, and implementing it successfully to become an Asian tiger, whereas, for nearly the last six decades, we have drastically slid backwards in progress. Today, again, we are hearing every day about one plan or another being crafted by the government; for example, the plan for poverty alleviation, the plan for housing project for the poor, the plan for institutional reforms and austerity, the plan to ensure ease of doing business etc. Plans may be looking brilliant, on paper. The devil lies in their implementation! Lack of proper implementation of apparently well-intentioned plans, has kept Pakistan perpetually in a take-off position, despite never really leaving the ground. While various talk shows on numerous Pakistani news channels, and articles published in newspapers are quick to recognize poor implementation or worse still, no implementation of plans as a long-standing problem, they stop short of suggesting a tangible solution. This article attempts to go forward by highlighting the main cause, in the author’s view, of this predicament. It will be argued here that the major reason for Pakistan’s implementation weakness is the over-reliance on Economists by successive governments for all aspects of Pakistan’s development. Implementation of plans is not really the domain of Economists; we need experts in the field of Management who study and get trained in the art and science of implementation, or in plain words, in getting things done. Just to clarify, Management as a discipline is distinct from its more well-known sister- disciplines of Marketing and Finance. The discipline of Management is mainly concerned with the ‘people’ element in organizations, and discusses how to get work done through people by motivating them to deliver their best possible performance, rather than a minimum acceptable performance. Management teaches how to ensure a smooth, efficient and effective functioning of organizations through designing appropriate organizational structures and systems, and creating the right organizational culture. Whereas the academic field of Economics, along with Engineering, Sociology, Law, and Psychology may have been one of the parent disciplines of the subject of “Management” in its early days, today Management is a well-evolved subject area which stands its own ground as a full-fledged academic discipline. It is studied at the doctoral and post doctoral levels, where its researchers analyze the organizational functioning, successes and failures in requisite detail. Almost all major Universities abroad as well as in Pakistan have well-running programs in the academic discipline of Management. On the professional front as well, there are management consultants who solve Management-related problems in organizations, organizational development specialists who manage organizational change initiatives, and corporate trainers who deliver practical, hands-on training to employees at all hierarchical levels in organizations, on a variety of Management-related topics. Merely being rich in resources will not help Pakistan much, unless it knows how to manage those resources efficiently and effectively. It’s time the top national leadership in Pakistan gave the discipline of Management its rightful place in Pakistan’s development, and refrained from relying on Economists to solve all the different types of development-related problems The subjects that Economists and Management specialists study as part of their multi-year rigorous academic programs are entirely different too, with only a minor overlap. A comparative look at the CVs of Economists and Management specialists globally reveals the very different nature of topics both types of experts work on, both as academicians as well as practitioners. In short, the micro-level concerns of organizational life, which are directly relevant to the implementation of plans, are the realm of the discipline of Management- not Economics. The fact that Economists are not capable of doing the job of Management specialists can also be observed in a few instances of the initial phase of the current Institutional reforms drive of the incumbent government, that will be briefly discussed here. For example, Economists leading the Institutional reforms drive are proposing Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), primarily a Management strategy, to be carried out in government departments. Are these Economists aware that many BPR projects have failed internationally, and that, a BPR project may not succeed if it disregards the human dimension in organizations? Another example, in the context of the current tussle between the bureaucracy and the government, is the public assertion by a few government officials that policy-making activity is supposed to be separate or detached from policy-implementation endeavor. This detachment notion goes against modern thinking in Management, and is based on the faulty underlying assumption that all employees in the Pakistani bureaucracy are dishonest, incompetent or lazy. Therefore, management scholars and experts would give a contrary advice: policy-implementers must become an integral part of the policy-making exercise, since policy-implementers are the people closest to the day-to-day action in an organization, and thus have the best knowledge of the actual implementation hurdles. Their engagement from the beginning of the reform initiative will help ensure that the implemented reforms are significant and sustained, rather than cosmetic and short-lived. Similarly, management scholars would caution government officials against using the terms “culture” and “mindset” as a reference to the resistance to change phenomenon in the institutions to be reformed, as their misuse could become the pretext for ignoring genuine employee concerns, and hiding communication and coordination mistakes of the leadership itself. Merely being rich in resources will not help Pakistan much, unless it knows how to manage those resources efficiently and effectively. Japan, despite its scarce natural resources, became one of the most advanced country mainly due to its globally acknowledged, and widely adopted, intelligent Management practices. It’s time the top national leadership in Pakistan gave the discipline of Management its rightful place in Pakistan’s development, and refrained from relying on Economists to solve all the different types of development-related problems. The writer is a former Commonwealth Scholar from Pakistan for UK, and Fulbright Scholar for USA, in the field of Management with special interest in Organizational Change Management, Corporate Governance, Business Ethics and Sustainability. She can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, December 26th 2018.