ISLAMABAD: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be achieved under the prevalent economic and security circumstances, agreed speakers at a roundtable discussion held on Tuesday.
The Round Table Forum on Peace and Human Development was arranged by Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO). The speakers stressed the need for a paradigm shift from state-centred security to human-centred security if the MDGs are to be achieved.
Speaking on the conflict in Balochistan, Senator Dr Abdul Malik said,”The current insurgency in Balochistan is the result of the deprivation of the last 63 years and the only solution is to accept legitimate demands.” He blamed the alleged collusion between militants, sardars and the government for stifling the middle class in Balochistan.
Sharing his views on terrorism and its impact on the achievement of MDGs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Director Area Study Centre University of Peshawar Dr Sarfraz commented, “When schools are bombed, students coerced to join seminaries and women prohibited from getting educated, it is impossible to achieve the targets of MDGs”.
Presenting the perspective of Sindh, Abrar Kazi said, “Being a postcolonial state, Pakistan is entangled in ideological, religious and nationalist conflicts. The violent conflict in Sindh is rooted in ethnicity.”
He attributed this situation to the failure of institutions.
Eminent educationist Dr Rubina Sehgal stressed the need to look more into militancy in Punjab. She provided a historical overview of conflicts in which most civilians remained sheltered from war, but added that this was no longer the case. She attributed the militarisation of society to the military’s involvement in social affairs.
Former Chief Economist Dr Parvez Tahir observed that Pakistan’s education and health expenditure is lower than it was in 2001, while government expenditure on defence has increased manifold. He said that the work of 50 years has to be completed in five years, remaining sceptical about the achievement of MDGs.
Former minister and writer Javed Jabbar shared his observation that there are four kinds of wars: physical, psychological, ideological and anti-human development. He phrased the current violence by religious militants as a war of obscurantists against human development.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2010.