Going Strong for an Open Economy

Pakistan’s liberal think tank PRIME has achieved much in five years
PRIME Institute Pakistan

Freedom in the markets means prosperity for all. In a nutshell, this is the credo of the Policy Research Institute for Market Economy, or PRIME, for short.  This year, this small (but well connected group of dedicated professionals) organization is celebrating their fifth anniversary. In its short life span, the liberal think tank has risen to an intellectual powerhouse and a source for knowledge about all things related to the market economy in Pakistan and beyond.

As a think tank promoting liberal policies, freedom stands at the core of PRIME`s vision. In practical terms, this includes advocacy for limited government, free trade and enterprise, support for globalization and competition – and respect for private property and the rule of law. PRIME has earned respect due to sound research and independent policy analysis that have found attention in Pakistan and outside the country.

With the programs, PRIME aims at engaging the political class and other stake holders in policy debates: Reaching out to parliamentarians, policy makers and decision makers requires a refined strategy which includes primary research and analysis often based on original data. Communication with the general public follows different rules: Here, PRIME uses simple language and also reverts to social media there by bringing the economic debate to the grass roots and explaining complex concepts like tax systems to the man and woman on the streets in a language they comprehend.  “All these activities, events and the digital outreach have assured that PRIME is going strong in its mission for an open, free and prosperous Pakistan”, says Khadija Afzal, Program Coordinator  at the Islamabad Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF).

PRIME started its impressive journey five years back when founding President Ali Salman rolled out his vision for an organization which will focus on promoting the market economy in Pakistan.  With his friends and colleagues, Mr. Salman was inspired by the successful work of market think tanks in neighboring countries, such as the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in India or Samriddhi Foundation in Nepal. Initially, the group took office in our premises in Islamabad. “While they have long moved on, the bonds of friendship and partnership remains”, says Ms. Afzal.

"We started PRIME with a vision for an open, free and prosperous Pakistan”, says Ali Salman. Taking stock, he adds “I am glad that now there is an intellectual platform for outlining proposals and policies to realize this vision.”

The flagship event of our partner is the “National Debt Conference”. Now in its fifth year, the conference once more brought together prominent economists, scholars and researchers. Like few others in their field, PRIME manages to bring the liberal concerns into the mainstream media – and by so doing placing them on the national political agenda, where they rest for others to decide.