Basic education remains the fundamental instrument of poverty alleviation and development in any given society. Pakistan lags behind its regional compatriots as well as global partners in basic education indicators. There are some serious issues facing the Primary Education and literacy in Pakistan such as inadequate access, poor quality, gender disparity and parallel systems of education to name a few predicaments. Sustained political will and continuity of the right policies is required to resolve these issues. At this time when Pakistan is poised to elect political leadership for the next five years or so, it is considered appropriate to raise these and other issues facing ‘Education For All’ efforts with the leadership of major political parties of Pakistan. It is in this context that Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development – PILDAT, and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Islamabad Office, have joined hands to organize an All Parties Conference (APC) on ‘Education For All (EFA)’. The objective of the APC is to brief the political leadership of the country on the state of ‘Education For All’, facilitate a dialogue and reach a broad consensus on national targets and the means to achieve them in these key sectors With the broad aim of facilitating an informed discourse, this background paper has been prepared for the leadership of political parties of Pakistan to serve as a concise guide on the key issues faced by the country; present status of primary education and literacy compared to some of the other countries in the region and beyond, and to recommend the way forward.