In its latest policy report, titled Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future, the World Bank (WB) has stated that by 2047 — when Pakistan turns 100 — the country will have to significantly reduce spending on defence and bring down the population growth rate by half. The report adds that the country must divert its resources on investment on its citizenry and double what it currently spends on education and healthcare. The WB warns that failure to do so could result in Pakistan finding itself stuck where it is right now 28 years later.Meeting these challenges will not be easy. The recent post-Pulwama attack hostilities with India may have been a diplomatic and media victory for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, but also showed that resolving the Kashmir issue remains a distant dream. It is necessary to point out here that despite the large chunk of the Pakistani GDP that is spent on defence, India’s defence expenditure is seven times higher. Considering that India has a much larger economy as well, this is an arms race that Pakistan cannot win, and will prevent the country from making the human investment required to significantly improve the quality of life of Pakistani citizens. The WB has also pointed out that Pakistan cannot rejuvenate its economy and bring the population growth rate under control without emancipating its women. Not only will this result in more women joining the workforce, it is also necessary for bringing down the country’s present fertility rate. However, as recent online reactions to the countrywide Aurat Marches on International Women’s Day show, sexism and misogyny remain deeply entrenched in Pakistani society. This will have to be addressed politically, as well as through the education system.The environment is also a key concern. Pakistan is currently threatened by acute water shortage, but despite this its economic model remains highly inefficient in terms of managing the country’s water.80 percent of the country’s water irrigates crops that generate less than five percent of the national economy. Its irrigation system is also considered by and large the most inefficient in the world. Pakistan needs better infrastructure management and pricing that reflects the country’s situation in terms of water if it is to avoid becoming a water-scarce country in the coming years. One hopes that Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders have had a glance at the WB’s report. Because unless our leaders stop strategising in terms of short-term political gains and strategic advances against our neighbours, any improvement in the lives of Pakistani citizens will be marginal at best. *Published in Daily Times, March 19th 2019.