HAQ MAHBUBUL (1934-1998)

HAQ, MAHBUBUL (1934-1998) Mahbubul Haq was born in Jammu, Kashmir, and migrated with his family to Lahore after the partition of British India and the emergence of Pakistan as an independent state He was educated at Lahore’s Government College and at Cambridge University in England On his return from England in 1957, he joined the Planning Commission His first assignment at the commission was to work on the Second Five Year Plan (1960-1965) He was the principal author of the Plan, which was released to the public in the spring of 1960 The Plan maintained that a developing country such as Pakistan must first concentrate its efforts on increasing the rate of economic growth before attempting to solve the problems of poverty and poor distribution of income Haq defended this approach in an influential book, The Strategy of Economic Planning: A Case Study of Pakistan, published in 1968 A few months later, however, he surprised the government by delivering what came to be known as the “twentytwo families speech” In this speech, he argued that a significant part of the benefit of the rapid growth of the economy during the period of Muhammad Ayub Khan accrued to no more than 22 industrial and commercial houses that had accumulated vast fortunes Haq joined the World Bank in 1968 and worked as the director of the Policy Planning Department until his resignation 13 years later

It was largely because of his influence that the Bank began to address the problem of poverty by lending directly to the projects aimed at the poor and at meeting their basic needs Haq left the Bank in 1981 and was appointed deputy chairman of the Planning Commission by President Zia ul-Haq After supervising the preparation of the Sixth Five-Year Plan, he replaced Ghulam Ishaq Khan as finance minister Following President Zia’s death in 1988, Haq stayed on as a member of the caretaker government He left Pakistan in 1988 and joined the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a consultant; as such, he assumed responsibility for launching the annual Human Development Report Working with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Haq developed the Human Development Index that is a better measure of the state of economic development and social welfare than is gross domestic product (GDP) Refined over time, the HDI is updated every year and published in the Human Development Report, the flagship document of the UNDP Haq returned to Pakistan to establish the Human Development Center at Islamabad He died while on a visit to New York Shortly before his death, he had accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to spearhead the effort to improve the level of literacy in the country He was also developing plans to set up a university specializing in social sciences in Islamabad

After his death, his wife Khadija Haq became the president of the Islamabad institute, which was renamed the Mahbubul Haq Center for Human Development The Center has continued to prepare and publish annual reports on various aspects of social and human development in South Asia

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