|60 pc labour in Pakistan doesn’t receive even minimum wages: Hafiz Pasha
Growth in economy may not mean creation of jobs: Sartaj Aziz
Food availability, accessibility, utilization may cause food insecurity: WFP
Rural transformation a must to achieve growth rate
CSR funds should be provided to promote climate change agenda
ISLAMABAD: (Dec 6, 2018): Former Finance Minister Dr Hafiz Pasha has said 60 per cent of the labour force in Pakistan does not receive even minimum wages and there are no laws against gender discrimination in workforce.
He was speaking at a session titled: Economy of Tomorrow: Future Drivers of Economic Growth and Job Creation, organized on the occasion of 21st Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) continuing on the third day under the auspices of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday.
Stressing the need to give more rights to the country’s labour, he said they are totally a deprived strata and vulnerable class of the society.
Speaking on the occasion, Sartaj Aziz, the former finance minister, said agriculture remains an important source of growth in Pakistan, and there is no alternative to this. Emphasizing as to how growth should be sustainable, he said growth in economy may no longer mean creation of jobs, while growth and policies should come in a certain time-frame, as demands change.
Ms Subhashini Abeysinghe, Economist from Sri Lanka, informed the audience as to how technology will be providing opportunities as well as challenges in the future.
Speaking at a session titled: The Climate Risk Food Security Analysis, Dr Azeem Khan, the Member of Climate Change and Food Security, Planning Commission of Pakistan, said we must strengthen the social structure of rural communities to help them diversify their agricultural products with improved economic incentives, improved value addition, and better livelihoods. He suggested coordinated researches between development and education sector for technical, financial, institutional support and outreach. He also suggested that joint researches on social, ecological and environmental issues in connection with food production should be launched in the country. He called for enhancing connectivity between rural and urban areas.
Mr Cristiano Mandra from World Food Programme said food availability, accessibility, utilization and stability are the major issues that may result in drastic food insecurity in Pakistan. He proposed to initiate Rural Resilience Initiative to ensure food and safety insurance for the farmers.
Mr Qaim Shah, Country Program Officer, International Fund for Agriculture Development said that food security is only associated with food production rather it should be linked with development of rural areas. He suggested the formulation of institutional framework to regulate food security in Pakistan.
Prof. Amitab Kundu, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, India proposed to introduce crop insurance and national rural household assurance for the vulnerable rural community to mitigate their losses.
Speaking at a session titled: Harnessing the Potential of Agriculture Value Chains in South Asia, Ms Robina Athar, Member of National Tariff Commission, said that the investment policy should attract Foreign Direct Investment and the tariff barriers should be reduced to develop value chain within the region.
Mr Gonzalo Varela, Trade Economist of World Bank, said that the agriculture sector is an important source of investment, innovation and productivity. He said the export promotion policies can play an important role in supporting farmers. Dr Usman Mustafa from Pakistan Institute of Development Economics highlighted the importance of regional connectivity between regions and some Sanitary & Phytosanitary standards. Political will is required to solve issues regarding trade, he said, adding that rural transformation can help achieve our growth rate.
Mr Zubair Malik, Member of Executive Committee of SAARC Chambers of Commerce, said the lack of regional integration is the major cause of limiting potential investment in this sector. Dr Posh Raj Pandey, Chairman of South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal said that tax system, and tariff & non-tariff barriers is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of farmers. Dr Parvez Tahir, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Bank of Punjab, said that taxation has created hindrance in the development of farmers. Dr Iqrar Ahmed, Chief Director, USPCAS-AFS highlighted that political will is required to increase the regional productivity and export, especially with India.
Speaking at a session titled: Asma Jahangir: A Voice of the Voiceless Women of Pakistan, Munizae Jahangir from Aaj TV, said the implementation failure of the free legal aid system has created financial hurdles in the provision of justice for women. Elaborating the role of women in the judicial workforce, she said transparent judicial appointment process can contribute to the improvement of women’s access to justice. Moreover, she said that the current government has taken the issue of women at the forefront and is hopeful for a positive future for women. Mr I.A. Rehman, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, highlighted the inequalities in the provision of justice in Pakistan. He elaborated how justice has become a commodity in the country which only the rich can buy and the poor are deprived of it.
Comparing the women’s access to justice in the South Asian region, Prof. Apurba Khatiwada, Law Tribhuwan University, Nepal discussed Nepal’s access to justice by presenting the case study of a rape victim, who was denied access to justice in the court due to the financial constraints. Furthermore, he elaborated that women’s access to justice has been restricted due to the inefficiency of the institutions providing justice and the concerns of privacy need to be worked out by providing anonymity to the women to improve the access to justice. Sri Lanka was overall performing better in the region but there is a lack of women participation in the justice system which hinders the success of access to justice.
Victoria Pierre from New Brunswick, Canada said that there is a need to integrate CEDAW into legal system of member states.
Speaking at a session titled: Effective Strategies to combat extreme Climate Change Impacts in South Asia, Dr Zaighum Abbas, Ministry of Climate Change, said that the government is working on introducing ultra-critical and energy efficient technology to combat the effects of Greenhouse Gas emissions from coal power plants and industrial sector. Dr Abbas quoted the example of zig zag technology in 37 brick kilns in the Punjab to combat smog. He further invited international companies to help the government promote climate change agenda by providing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds in Pakistan.
Dr Zeeshan from National Agriculture Research Council stressed the need for strengthening crop economy by using highly effective, temperature-tolerant and pollution controlling horticulture crops to resolve the issue of food security and water scarcity in Pakistan.
Dr. Jabir Hussain, called for collaboration between academia, policy makers and researchers to correctly identify the main culprits of climate change in Pakistan.
Dr. Mohammad Munir, National Rural Support Program, stressed the need for creating and strengthening local climate change champions/upscale potential of the local communities to create resilience in the country.
Speaking at a session titled: Social Reconstruction: Corridors of Knowledge and Power in Perceptions of State, UNDP Country Director Ignacio Artaza said if bureaucracy has a face, people have another face. UNDP since 2015 is supporting the infrastructure of FATA, he said, adding that violence in Swat is reduced but the factors paying to it are not really diminished.
Former MNA Mian Gul Ahmed said the leadership qualities of the ruler of Waali of Swat included complete law and order, provision of development and social services which today’s state lack.
Ms. Aoiefa McCullough from Overseas Development Institute said services are provided in a preferential manner across the social classes. Inside groups in Swat give bribe for resolving conflicts while outside groups are victims of bribe, she said, adding that shared mindset of people in Swat is causing government failure due to which social issues are emerging.
Speaking at a session titled: Redefining the Role of Civil Society in South Asia, Mohammad Tehseen, the Executive Director of South Asia Partnership Pakistan, said civil society organizations fill the deficit and loops between the government and civil society at a larger scale.
He said strong civil societies depict strong democracy that is characterized by freedom of expression, participation and association.
Dr Nathalene Reynolds, SDPI Visiting Fellow, encouraged the role of civil society organizations for reinforcing communal harmony.
Ms Shireen Najeeb Khan redefined the role of civil society organizations in the perspective of population planning. She suggested that aggressive population planning should be made for a constructive civil society.
Presenting the statistics for child protection and welfare, Mr Bilal Khan, Assistant Chief of Operations Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said the promotion of child welfare and protection from abuse is the joint responsibility of family, school and government at large. Ms Moneeza Hashmi from Kashif Foundation highlighted the need to think and act collectively.
SDPI Research Fellow Dr Shafqat Munir said like other developed nations, civil societies in Pakistan and South Asia should be given space to work as independent entities.
Speaking at a session titled: Role of Women’s Home Journals and Development of Female Education in South Asia, SDPI Senior Advisor Ahmed Salim said women’s journals during the colonial period like Tehzeeb-e Niswan and Haqooq-e-Niswan played a tool for promoting women’s education in the 19th Century. These magazines had highlighted various themes like advocacy for female education, debate on pardah (veil) and polygamy, and gender equality.
Dr Kiran Ahmad from Quaid-e-Azam University said there is a huge readership of digests in Pakistan as compared to the scholarly works. Over four million women read Khawateen Digests. However, the expansion of electronic media has imposed certain restrictions on the freedom of imagination of digest writers.
Dr Humaira Ishfaq, SDPI’s Urdu Editor, said the main purpose of these journals was to develop a thought process among the 19th century women so that they might raise voices for their rights.
Harris Khalique from Department for International Development (DFID), said that development of any nation is incremental and we often take credit of Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan’s struggle for women education.
Journalism Award Plenary
Earlier on Wednesday, at the Journalism Award Plenary titled: “Role of Media in Building Knowledge Corridors for Sustainable Development”, SDPI in collaboration with Zalmi Foundation conferred two Lifetime Achievement Awards to veteran media persons, M. Ziauddin and Moneeza Hashmi in recognition to their years long contributions to media industry. Similarly, four journalists (both from print and electronic media) were selected for the 2nd Sustainable Development Journalism Awards 2018 for their best news stories on issues around sustainable development. The winners included: Adeel Saeed, APP; Fareeha Fatima, ARY News; Abid Ali, Samaa TV; and Erum Yawer, Daily Times.
Two runners-up included: Syed Muhammad Abubakar, Freelance Journalist; and Islam Gul Afridi, daily Akhbar-e-Khyber’s North Star (Sunday Magazine). Special On the occasion, Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeem ul Haque said that the electronic media has become a strong medium of expression and has evolved as a more vibrant media during the past decade .END..
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