By Ayesha Waris and Shamreeza Tariq Baloch
LAHORE: The speakers of a seminar have stressed upon strengthening of democracy in Pakistan for the healthy growth of institutions and development of the country in line with the vision of our founding father. They were addressing a seminar on “Pakistan at 70: Challenges and Opportunities” in connection with the Independence Day celebrations organized by Punjab University Pakistan Study Centre here on Thursday.
PU Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Zaffar Mueen Nasar was the chief guest while PU Department of Political Science Professor Emeritus Dr. Hasan Askari Rizvi and Former Dean University of Sargodha Prof. Dr. Rasheed Ahmed Khan were the keynote speakers.
Prof. Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi in his key note speech said that, “we as a nation has to focus on three aspects. First one is we need to pay tribute to people who have sacrificed a lot for establishment of Pakistan. Secondly we need to examine the achievements of Pakistan in last 70 years.”
He said that despite the roller coaster of democracy and change in government, Pakistan has made a substantial achievement in fields of industry and defense. “We need to recognize the deficiencies, difficulties and failures of Pakistan. As quality of democracy is poor, governance issues and socio-economic injustices are major problems of Pakistan.” He said institutions must be strengthened for service delivery to the people and democracy was meant to serve the people.
Dr. Rashid Ahmed Khan talking on “Future of Pakistani Democracy,” said that Pakistan was achieved through a democratic struggle. “Democracy is in the blood of Pakistan but the people of Pakistan had to wage a very arduous struggle for securing democracy in the country. This struggle has been a story of intense tussle for power between the democratic and authoritarian forces.”
He said democracy in Pakistan was one of the most important concern of Pakistani people. Democracy in Pakistan has strengthened in the last 70 years because of many factors. “There is no cold war scenario, no alliance system, globalization but in Pakistan democracy still faces challenges which are regional disparity, regionalization of Pakistani politics, rural-urban disparity, flaws of governance (transparency, rule of law and participation is absent) last but not the least is rise of extremism and terrorism,” he added.
PU VC Dr. Zaffar Moeen Nasar in his presidential address threw light on the Economic development of Pakistan in last 70 years. He said that comparison of Pakistan’s economic situation of 1947 and 2017 shows a big difference as service and industrial sector is growing. He elaborated 70 years economic voyage of Pakistan. He said that our social sector is being affected by lower spending on development sector. “We need to improve our social sector-health and education for better development in the country. The 3Ds of economics; Development, Defence and Debt Services must be set in the right order.”
He stressed that we need to set our priorities, made our industrial policies and define our pioneer industries. He said that we should need to change our development policies that will be equitable and will bring prosperity and nationalism in country. He proposed a development model for development which will provide equal opportunities to all which will result in enhancement of solidarity, prosperity and nationalism in the country. CPEC is a game changer which is bringing great potential for investment in the country. “We have to create stability and conducive environment for economic vibrancy in the country,” he said.
Earlier, in his welcome note, PU Pakistan Study Center acting director Dr. Amjad Abbas Magsi said that Pakistan has been stepping up in the 71st year by completing its seventh year of its establishment. In history of nations seventy years stand for nothing, centuries are needed for states to reach the bamboo height in the formation phase. “Where we should celebrate the seventh year of Pakistan, we need to look at our national journey for seventy years. Those nations who won independence after us are in the category of developed nations just due to their hard work and sincere leadership.”
He said there was no doubt that Pakistan was facing political instability and terrorism, but we have to make Pakistan a developed nation by our hard work and efforts. “We should not allow internal and external problems to become a hurdle in development of Pakistan. The need of time to work hard rather than to feel sorry over problems,” he added.
A large number of students and faculty members attended the seminar and lively participated in question-answer session.