Speakers at a seminar, on Monday, urged the corporate sector to accept responsibility for improving socio-economic conditions.
The seminar on “Peace through Profit: Peace-building through Corporate Social Responsibility in Pakistan” was organised
by Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Responsible Business Initiative and International Alert, London.
The speakers were of the view that weak government institutions were unable to effectively address multi-faceted conflicts in the country and the corporate sector could bridge the gap.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Senior Vice-President Asad Umar, former CEO Engro Corporation, said the private sector must vigorously engage in public policy issues particularly conflict prevention and resolution as businesses are the first victims of conflicts. He urged businesses to fulfill societal responsibilities.
Offering an alternative view, Chairman People’s Labour Bureau and former parliamentarian Chaudhry Manzoor said, “Corporations have vested interests and mint more money from conflicts than peace.”
“Corporations exploit workers and local communities by avoiding civic responsibilities and promote unethical business practices which ultimately lead to conflicts” he added.
Calling for regional integration, he said, South Asia can prosper only if there is peace and open interaction between people particularly for promotion of trade ties.
Coordinator Asia Rights in Crisis, Oxfam, Shafqat Munir expressed the view that the corporate sector could play a role in conflict resolution in a society through leveraging its position, skills, resources and wider support network.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.
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