Considering the repercussions of violence/terrorism upon achieving the target of MDGs goals, Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) organized a Round Table Forum on ‘Peace and Human Development’ in Islamabad on December 28, 2010. Speakers in the conference stressed the need to shift current paradigm of security state to human security to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Speakers of the forum stressed the need of shifting current paradigm of security state to human security to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They were speaking at the Round Table Forum on ‘Peace and Human Development’ arranged by Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).
Introducing the theme of forum Dr. Tufail Muhammed, Chairperson SPO, welcomed the participants. He said the forum on peace and human development is timely as it is in line with SPO’s programme of peace and social harmony. Briefing the participants about the status of MDGs in Pakistan Naseer Memon, Chief Executive SPO, said that human development paradigm has to replace security paradigm. He shared the context of political economy that hindered achievement of MDGs. He was of the opinion that it is unlikely that Pakistan would achieve MDGs within the stipulated time.
Providing the regional perspective, Senator Dr. Abdul Malik stated that in the history of civilization every society had to face the basic issue of peace and development. Our region is in the throes of conflict for last few decades. ‘The current insurgency in Balochistan is the result of deprivations of last 63 year and the only solution is to accept legitimate demands’ he claimed. Balochistan is backward because of the collusion of local patricians with the ruling class of Pakistan to maintain status quo. He blamed the troika of militants, sardars and government for stifling the middle class in Balochistan.
Dr Sarfraz, Director of Area Study Centre University of Peshawer, shared the situation of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and its impact on achievement of MDGs. ‘When schools are bombed, students are threaten to join seminaries and women were prohibited to get education, then it is impossible to achieve the targets of MDGs’ he commented. According to Dr. Sarfraz the thought process has been traditionally independent in KPK but it is curtailed now, which will harm the quality of education in seats of higher learning in KPK.
Abrar Kazi presented perspective of Sindh. He regretted the fact that Pakistan is earmarking more resources on security paradigm than on human development. ‘Being a postcolonial state Pakistan is entangled in ideological, religious and nationalist conflict. The violent conflict in Sindh is rooted in ethnicity’ Kazi said. He attributed this situation to the failure of institutions. Shedding light on repercussions of violence in Karachi he asserted that the biggest industrial and skill area of Pakistan is losing its economic base because of violent politics pursued by a particular party in Karachi. Adding further he told the participants that tribal fueds, jirgas and ransom in the inner parts of Sindh has brought the economic activities to standstill.
Eminent educationist Dr Rubina Sehgal stressed the need to look more into the militancy in Punjab as it provides 50% of jihadi work force. Speaking on the impact of conflict/terrorism on women in Pakistan, she provided historical overview of conflict in which civilian were remained largely immune from wars. She said the military has become more involved in social affairs and society got militarized. “Inter-state wars have been reduced drastically recently, but civilians have been caught in intra state conflict’ she commented. She asserted that violence for women is a permanent way of life not a rule of exception in Pakistan. Sehgal was of the view that a state which runs parallel education and judicial system cannot cater justice to its people, rather it generates violence. ‘Unless we do not get rid of religion within state structure we cannot establish peace’ she stated.
Former Chief Economist Dr. Pervez Tahir recapped the themes of discussion. Dr. Pervez commented that the objective of security in our country is always the state and never human security. Shedding light on performance of MDGs vis-à-vis Pakistan’s performance he claimed that Pakistan is far away from achieving the targets. In education and health expenditure is lower now than in 2001but expenditures on defense and military increased manifold. He said that we have to complete the work of 50 years in 5 years.
Aimal Khattak of Sungi Foundation said that the current conflict is a part of bigger conflict of great game in the region. Asad Rahman, Director of Program Sungi Foundation, emphasized exploring nexus between military and mullah, emergence of Taliban and US imperialism. Senator Hasil Bazenjo said that our mullah is hypocritical. ‘Our politics is based on secularism but secular parties do not openly go against Federal Shariat Court. Military and mullah are doing whatever they like, he observed. Our country is facing Tsunami that kills more people. ‘We are retrogressive path and moving towards 17th century let alone achieving MDGs’ he said.
Former Minister and writer Javed Jabbar said ‘we paid inadequate attention to MDGs. We have to shape our future vision today.’ Jabbar shared his observation that there are four kinds of wars: physical, psychological, ideological and anti- human development war. He termed the current violence by religious militants as war of obscurantists against human development. He does not see any possibility of these wars subsiding in near future. ‘If our governance structure remains same we would be encumbered by sheer demographic challenge’ he asserted. The very institutions that are supposed to protect us are fighting for their survival. Development can be possible in conflict situation but in a containable conflict. Peace is only possible by human development. Ending his speech on optimist note Jabbar urged civil society to develop local philanthropic structure.
The forum was attended by prominent politicians, civil society members and eminent academicians. Prominent among them are Syed Abid Rizvi, Jonathan Smeet, First Secretary EKN, Jan Ali Changezi, Minister for Education Balochistan, Nasreen Azhar, Aimal Khattak, Ali Ahmed Jan, Faisal Ali Baloch, Prof Asghar Ali Raja of University of North Texas, Senator Hasil Bezenjo, Arifa Mazhar and Asad Rahman.