Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is unlikely to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline in light of the current socioeconomic conditions and natural and manmade disasters, said speakers at a panel discussion on Tuesday.
Panelists also regretted that development of social sector had never been a government priority as most of national revenues were spent on defence and debt servicing for the country being a security state.The discussion was arranged by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), the largest rightsbased civil society organisation, on `Effects of Conflicts on Achievements of MDGs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa`.
Regional head of SPO Arshad Haroon told participants that MDGs were eight international development goals that all 193 UN members and at least 23 international organisations had agreed to achieve by 2015.
According to him, the said goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary educa-tion, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality rates, improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development.
`Disparity exists in imparting education to boys and girls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as there are 14,770 schools for boys and only 7,838 for girls,` said academician Dr Fakhrul Islam.
He said education sector was unlikely to achieve MDGs and that the situation was no different as for women`s share in employment as women made only 10 per cent of the workforce in the province against the desired 15 per cent.
Dr Fakhr said in political sphere, there were still areas where religious and secular forces joined hands with each other to stop women from casting vote in elections. He said the Musharraf regime reserved seats for women in parliament, provincial assemblies and local councils but their participation in elections against general seats was very low.
Chief executive officer SPO NaseerMemon said the Human Development Report-2011 placed Pakistan after Nigeria on the list of countries with the largest number of children out of school, while the country topped the list of four polio endemic states.He said unfortunately, Pakistan`s social sector spending was the lowest (two to 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product) in the region as even Afghanistan allocated seven per cent of GDP for the sector.
Mr Memon said without proper planning and keeping in view of shortage of natural gas, Pakistan achieved the goal of conversion of vehicles to CNG as currently, around 2.4 million vehicles were running on CNG, the second biggest number af ter Brazil.
He said there were three Ds defense, debt servicing and development but the major chunk of the budget was allocated to defence and debt servicing, while development sector was not a priority.
Former chairman the international relations department of University of Peshawar Dr Ijaz Khattak said Pakistan was a security state, where entire focus was on security and that in such situation, accomplishment ofMDGs was next to impossible. He said a debate should be held on what kind of security the country needed and whether national priority should be protection of children by provision of education and better health facilities or border security.
Noted pediatrician Dr Tufail Mohammad said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was nowhere near the goals of reducing child mortality rate and improving maternal health.
He said unfortunately, there was not a single specialised children specific hospital in the entire province. He said around 48 per cent of the total population in the country were below 18 and were counted among children.
Director Area Study Centre of University of Peshawar Dr Sarfraz said health system in the province in particular and country in general was mostly focusing on disease prevention, control and cure, but in all three spheres, the government had miserably failed to achieve desired results.He further said in some areas, schools and health facilities were bombed and under such circumstances, it was almosy impossible to achieve MDGs