What are our own development goals?

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Earlier this week, a joint report by the World Health Organisation and Unicef listed Pakistan among 95 countries that have met the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of population without access to basic sanitation since 1990. While it is progress indeed, and those who have put in a lot of effort need to be lauded, there are several subtleties that need to be kept in perspective. First, this is one of the many MDGs that make up the whole picture. Development is not a menu where we can pick the items of our liking. A quick and cursory glance at the UN Development charts for Pakistan suggests that of the 33 indicators for which data is available, Pakistan is on track for nine and off track for 24 and unlikely to meet the target there.